Had anyone said that this fight would go all 12 rounds in the days leading up to the mildly anticipated Saturday bout, fits of laughter would’ve surely erupted.
Boxing returned yet again to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, for HBO After Dark. The main event would pit heavy favorite Ruslan Provodnikov versus Chris Algieri. Also featured was a co-main event between Demetrius Andrade (21-0, 14 KO’s) and Brian Rose (25-2-1, 7 KO’s) . In which, Andrade won throughly and afterwards talked candidly about his intense desire to fight Miguel Cotto next.
‘The Siberian Tiger‘ Ruslan Provodnikov (23-3, 16 KOs), came into the ring with one mission only: to defend his Junior Welterweight Title and continue on his rise to stardom. His opponent? A heavy underdog coming into the match, Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs), a 30-year-old ‘scholar’ who just turned pro in 2008, and had a long-time career as a kick boxer.
The bout was billed as almost being ‘lose proof’ for Provodnikov, who was seemingly paired against Algieri to help seal the next stage of career with a chance to defend his Belt. 2013 was Provodnikov’s breakout year, and with all the momentum coming in, tonight was supposed to be Provodnikov’s coming out party.
The crowd of 6,218 fans were heavily in favor of Algieri, who is a native New Yorker, from Huntington, NY and had lots of friends and family in the audience. But still, crowd cheers don’t win fights, as was proved in the first round when Algieri went down twice after Provodnikov landed squarely on his face.
It wasn’t a pretty sight. But something strange happened after, Algieri didn’t give up. Yeah, there’s pride. Yeah, there’s resilience and staying in the fight just to say you made it through. But the tide turned from there on out, Algieri thoroughly outworked Provodnikov after the first round–Provodnikov’s approach tonight was very one dimensional, as he rested solely on single shots, and when those missed Algieri answered right back.
In the end, two judges scored 117-109 and 114-112, for Algieri and the third judge scored it 114-112, for Provodnikov. Afterwards, Provodnikov complained that Algieri was “running from” him the entire night, he sounded super salty:
“Runners aren’t my style. He was jabbing and touching me. This is the worst style for me. I have trouble with that style. I like guys that stand in front of me and fight me. I promised that I gave an exciting fight. The fans weren’t sleeping.”
Algieri’s talk after the fight had a different tone to it, the elated fighter with one hell of a wrecked eye kept his calm demeanor all throughout in post fight interviews–and yes, he spoke about what it was like fighting with his eye blown up:
“I could see pretty well until the eighth round but by the time we hit round 12, I was blind in that eye,” Algieri said. “But I was able to anticipate his left hook throughout the fight. I was able to figure out his rhythm. That was the key to my success.”
Algieri’s career high purse of $100k, paled in comparison to the $750k Provodnikov, to further give an example of how one-sided the match was thought to be.
Ultimately, the beauty of this bout was in the resolve of Aligieri to not only persevere through the fight but excel and outmatch his perceived superior. At the end it was summed up best by him:
— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) June 15, 2014