Friday, 18 April 2014 01:27

Ruslan Provodnikov: The cherub-faced assassin

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On Wednesday, April 16th, a press conference was held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, to announce WBO Junior Welterweight Champion Ruslan Provodnikov's first title defense against undefeated New Yorker Chris Algieri, which is scheduled to be broadcast on HBO: Boxing After Dark, June 14th, with a start time of 10PM EST.
In recent months, Banner Promotions CEO Artie Pellulo and Home Box Office had been forthright concerning the difficulties in finding a suitable opponent for the newly crowned title holder.

Before agreeing on the upset minded Huntington, New York ticket seller, several names, including Brandon Rios and Antonio DeMarco, had been considered and approached as possible opponents with no successful results.

After giving former two division world champion Tim Bradley everything he could handle last spring, and beating the customarily iron chinned Mike Alvarado into submission on October 19th of last year, it seemed that most of the top fighters in the division didn't want any part of the baby faced mauler.

Although the fighter most affectionately known as "Siberian Rocky" recognizes the idea that he's currently one of the more avoided fighters in the sport, it's not a concept that he fully understands.

"People say that everyone is afraid to fight me and everyone is afraid of me, I don't understand why," states Ruslan Provodnikov.

"If you look at me, do you think you would be afraid of me? So I'm very thankful to Chris Algieri for noticing the good side of me, and taking this fight on June 14th."

While Algieri isn't a name that immediately comes to mind when sizing up the very competitive 140 pound weight class, the intelligent and athletic prospect from the Empire State believes that he is ready to take his place among the contenders and title holders on the world class stage.

"To fight for a major world title in New York is a dream come true for me," claims Chris Algieri. "And against a champion who no one wants to fight. I'm okay with that. I want to fight the best fighters out there. So all of the fighters who are currently avoided in the division, those are the guys who I want to fight."

If styles indeed make fights, then the June 14th match-up between Provodnikov and Algieri should be an intriguing one for the real fans of boxing.

The tall, rangy Chris Algieri is a very crafty boxer/puncher who uses his underrated "Ring IQ" and natural athleticism to get the better of his opposition. Though the 30 year old fighter admits that he's been learning on the job thus far, he makes up for his inexperience in the ring with exceptional mental and physical durability.

The reigning champion genuinely wishes his June 14th opponent well, and hopes that his experience in the ring is a very positive one.

"I hope that this fight is a good step for his career," states good-hearted WBO title holder. "Like the fight with Timothy Bradley was for me. I wish him and his team much luck, and I will go to church every Sunday, like I always do, and light candles for him and his team so that he stays healthy in training and comes into the ring with a good state of mind."

Even though most fight fans and boxing scribes will heavily favor Provodnikov leading into his first title defense at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the hard punching Russian will not make the mistake of looking past a hungry, young fighter like Algieri.

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"I know I will have to work very hard to win this fight, and I have no problems getting motivated. Usually these guys come in the ring and want to do everything they can to win that title. So I haven't forgotten that. I think that's important leading into this fight."

"Right now, I'm not thinking of protecting the title and I'm not afraid of losing the title. I still have it in my mind of how I got the title and how I became a world champion. If he comes in the ring, is worthy, and takes my title, then I will give it to him and I will shake his hand...if he can do it."

If he can do it indeed...June 14th.