Chris Algieri stayed and hung tough, with eyes swollen shut, against hard punching Ruslan Provodnikov (23-3, 16 KO’s) at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night.
Algieri was put down twice in Round 1; first with a left hook that formed a nasty swelling on his right eye. And then flurry of punches forced him to take a knee. Algieri, still undefeated, now improved to 20-0, 8 KO’s, ultimately survived an extremely rough first round and managed to go home as new light welterweight champion. The scores were 114-112, 114-112 and 109-117. I had it 114-112 as Algieri thrown more and landed more.
I re-watch Algieri’s fight with Wilfredo Acuna prior to this fight. In the Acuna fight, Algieri showed he can box. He utilized his height and jab to keep Acuna at bay. Although, I predicted Provodnikov to win via TKO in Round 6, I feel that Algieri’s style poses several problems to a charging Provodnikov.
If Algieri survived the early onslaught he could finish the fight and ultimately go to the scorecards—but at the back of my mind—I don’t think that Algieri can do so. But Algieri just did. Not just completed 12 rounds, but he snatched Provodnikov’s belt in his (Provo) first title defense.
Most boxing observers favored Provo to win via knockout in their fight previews and prediction.
Algieri got up from the knockdowns he suffered in Round one and boxes well in the remainder of the fight.
He became active and outworks Provodnikov in punch output. He used the jab well; doubling it up when necessary and mixed it up from head and body. He circled around Provodnikov, moving to his left while keeping his guard up. At times Algieri clinched while on the ropes avoiding heavy shots from the champion.
Overall, Algieri used textbook tactics avoiding the most damaging punch. His long jab snapped back Provodnikov’s head on several occasions that momentarily stop Provo on his track. Yet his fighting with one eye close.
In the post fight interview Algierei told that he started not able to see in round 8 and in Round 12 he’s “blind”.
Algieri showed what it takes to be a champion. He persevered in the ring with one eye against one of the hardest puncher in 140-147 pound division.
Algiere legs carried out the desired movement needed last night. He took several devastating body shots form Provodnikov. I thought that it will be a matter of few rounds Algieri’s legs will betray him.
Accumulation of body punch usually puts boxers stationary.
A stationary Algieri will not last longer against the “Siberian Rocky”. Provodnikov will finish the job quickly.
To Provodnikov credit he’s relatively dangerous opponent all night. Every round, it seemed to me that it’s just a matter of time when Provodnikov will land the game changing punch that will put Algieri for good. His pressure was relentless. But 12 rounds passed that time didn’t come.
Provodnikov told Max Kellerman after the fight that, “I have to admit, runners are not my style. I like guys that stand there and fight with me. This is the worst style for me.”
Although the ring they used for this fight is a bit smaller compared to the standard ring, which is Provo’s advantage, he lacks the speed to catch the moving underdog.
“Power” (if it is the only arsenal of a fighter) it is usually overrated. Power should be combined with other qualities to be lethal. Speed and power is a deadly combination. A brawler with power and durability is lethal.
What’s next for Algieri?
Top Rank boss Bob Arum said prior to the fight that the winner of Provodnikov-Algieri could be Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent. Pacquiao is tentatively set to return in the ring on November 22, in Macau. Algieri believed he has chance to pull an upset against Pacquiao.
What’s your take Amigo?