Ruslan Provodnikov looks at his trainer Freddie Roach (right) during the ninth round of his match against WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley on March 16 in Carson, Calif. Bradley won a narrow unanimous decision in a brutal fight.
Freddie Roach has been busy the past few weeks and he will stay busy with charges Ruslan Provonikov and Manny Pacquiao. Last Saturday, Roach helped Miguel Cotto get an easy third-round TKO of Delvin Rodriguez. Next Saturday in Denver, Provodnikov will be a slight underdog when he meets Mike Alvarado in a 140-pound bout on HBO.
Provonikov is coming off a strong challenge against Timothy Bradley in March in what is currently one of the leading Fight of the Year candidates. Many fans have circled Alvarado-Provodnikov on their calendars as being another one of the year’s best action fights. RingTV.com spoke to Roach last week about Provodnikov’s preparation.
After successfully campaigning at 140 pounds, Provodnikov challenged Bradley at the 147-pound welterweight limit. Coming back down in weight can be an arduous task for some, but Roach made it clear he doesn’t expect too much of a problem.
“He’s coming down okay,” said Roach. “He’s not too bad for this far out. It’s a little bit of a struggle. Maybe not a struggle, but a little bit of work.”
When a fighter rises up in weight and then comes back down again, it can sometimes affect the fighter’s conditioning. Provodnikov’s biggest problem in the Bradley fight was he expelled so much energy in the early going and allowed himself to get outboxed for much of the remainder of the fight.
“When you go up in weight and don’t come back down for awhile it’s a struggle but Ruslan only went up in weight for the one fight,” said Roach.
“I expect him to be strong at 140. By fight time he will be right where we want him to be. We’re wearing a little more clothes and using a little more Albolene than we did for the fight at 147 because that was so easy.
“He’s always fought at 140 and has always done very well at 140, and the one fight at 147, he did have a good fight. We wanna see how he comes down in this fight. Obviously, by fight time, he’ll be at a different weight after rehydrating himself. It’s a little bit of work making the weight, but it’s not a [Julio Cesar] Chavez Jr. problem.”
The fight takes place near Alvarado’s hometown of Denver, Colo., where there is quite a bit of altitude. Alvarado has fought in the area before and has done many training camps there. Roach said that Provodnikov is preparing for the altitude but doesn’t expect it to be an issue in the fight.
“We’re doing the best we can for it,” said Roach.
“Right now, every Saturday we’ve been going to Mt. Charleston and running the mountains for 10 miles at 7,000 feet. He’s been using the hyperbaric chamber. I don’t think it’ll be a factor in the fight and Alvarado, I heard he’s been training in Maywood, Calif.”
It was unclear when the fight was first announced whether or not Roach would be able to work the corner for Provodnikov due to the obligations to Pacquiao. Roach said it looks as though he’ll be present on fight night.
“I’m working it out right now,” said Roach. “Manny has given me permission to go. I’m gonna make the fight by a little bit and then I’ll have to leave right away. I don’t know exactly how that is going to play out yet.”
Having Roach in the corner could only help. It’s clear Roach has been doing everything he can to make sure his fighter is as prepared as he can be. When Cotto fought last weekend, Roach took Prodovnikov with him early in the week to Florida and worked on the same schedule he did with both Cotto and Provodnikov when the two fighters trained at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Southern California.
Though Roach has been criticized for spreading himself thin in years past, it seems as though he’s locked down a better way of scheduling things, and his fighters have so far been happy with the results.
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