Russian fighter Ruslan Provodnikov and Mike Alvarado were in Denver on Tuesday for a press conference in advance of their junior welterweight bout on Oct. 19 for Alvarado’s WBO belt to be held at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo., a suburb of Denver, near Alvardo’s hometown of Thornton.
During a same-day telephone interview prior to the event that was translated by his manager, Vadim Kornilov, Provodnikov (22-2, 15 knockouts) shared his thoughts on Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs), including their experiences while shooting an edition of HBO’s Face Off With Max Kellerman last week in Los Angeles
Alvarado, who presented Provodnikov with a Denver Broncos’ jersey duriing the press conference, was last in the ring for a unanimous decision win over Brandon Rios in March that avenged his seventh-round stoppage loss to Rios last year.
Trained by Freddie Roach, Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs) is coming off a unanimous decision loss in March to WBO welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley, whom Provodnikov floored in the 12th round of his 147-pound debut.
Although Provodnikov never has been stopped, his other setback was in January of 2011 by unanimous decision against Mauricio Herrera, whom Alvarado unanimously decisioned in April of 2012 prior to his two bouts with Rios.
Provodnikov expressed supreme confidence, however, while speaking to RingTV.com in this Q&A:
RingTV.com: What was your experience like looking Alvarado in the eyes during the shooting of Face Off for HBO, and was there a size differential?
Ruslan Provodnikov: I did not feel smaller than him, physically. I have to admit that I probably felt more confident looking into his eyes and seeing him. Like when we saw each other a couple of times during the week, I came up to him and I said, “Hello,” and I was very positive to him.
He seemed a little bit like he was a little into himself and he wanted to start a negative relationship before the fight. But I’m always very positive with my opponents before the fight, but it’s when we get into the ring that we’re enemies.
But until then, we can be very friendly. That’s not a problem for me. I don’t feel that size is going to be an issue for this fight as much as our mentalities. And, mentally, I feel a lot more confident for this fight than I think that he does.
RingTV.com: Have you gotten a feel for what it is going to be like for you fighting in Alvarado’s home town?
RP: To be honest with you, I’m not feeling anything any differently than I have fo any other fight.
RingTV.com: Do you feel as if there is a perception that you’re the underdog, given your common opponent, Herrera, or anything else?
RP: I actually watched that fight, because I had already fought Herrera, and I was interested in how Alvarado was going to do with him. I think that that only gives me more motivation and confidence for my fight, because Herrera, fighting Alvarado, was just fighting toe-to-toe with him.
They were going back and forth, and that means to me that it didn’t seem like Herrera felt Alvarado’s punches too much. When he fought me, though, he was moving a lot.
The whole fight with me, he was just moving around the ring and running a lot and clinching a lot, because he did not want to deal with my power.
I think that only gives me more confidence. A lot of people that I know are actually considering me to be the favorite in this fight, so I do not think of myself as the underdog.
RingTV.com: Do you feel like you had more power against Bradley due to the weight increase, or the same as he did in his previous fights at 140, and do you think that you will display that same power against Alvarado?
RP: Actually, since 140 was the weight that I always fought at, I’m very comfortable at 140. Very used to it because I’ve had all of my fights at that weight.
I’m not worried about the weight being an issue at all. In fact, I think that I will be the same, and probably even better at 140.
RingTV.com: Why were you so strong at 147 and able to have such an effect on Bradley?
RP: It had nothing to do with the weight, it was just that when I fought Timothy Bradley, I had a full team. I had a
strength and conditioning coach in Gavin McMillian, and the training camp was different for that camp than for my previous fights, and that gave me a lot more of an advantage.
The work that I went through and the training camp that I went through doesn’t compare to my previous training camps for my previous fights. That time, it was a five-week training camp.
Now that I have a full, eight-week training camp, with Gavin McMillian and with Freddie Roach, and with everything that we’ll do in this training camp, I think that I will only be better, and that my weight and my power will not be an issue at all.
RingTV.com: Given that Alvarado was successful at boxing more in his second fight with Rios as opposed to the first, are you prepared to handle Alvarado’s boxing abilities by, for example, cutting off the ring?
RP: Freddie has watched his fight, and we’ve talked about a possible strategy, and I do not think that there is going to be anything unexpected that we can not handle in this fight. I know that he might choose different options.
He might choose to fight me and then he might choose to box me. He’s mentioned that he might try to box me, but we’re going to be ready for this fight, no matter what he does. I’m not really worried about that. I have one of the best trainers in the world in my corner, so I’m going to be fine.
RingTV.com: Did you and Roach learn anything from Bradley’s boxing style during the middle rounds of your fight that will help you for this fight with Alvarado?
RP: Yes, I believe that 100 percent. That experience with Timothy Bradley is going to play into this fight. I definitely think that everything that I was not able to do or did not do in the Bradley fight will have been corrected and I will be able to do it correctly in this fight with Mike Alvarado.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]