- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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When Mike Alvarado is introduced to his home crowd in Denver before his much-anticipated fight with Ruslan Provodnikov on Oct. 19 (HBO) -- which we all expect to be a fight of the year candidate -- he will not be introduced with the interim tag attached to his 140-pound title.
That is because Alvarado will soon be elevated by the WBO to the organization's full titleholder when Juan Manuel Marquez vacates.
At the recently concluded WBO annual convention, which wrapped up a few days ago in Budapest, one of the many rulings that the organization made was that Marquez would be allowed to enter the ring for his challenge of welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr. on Oct. 12 as its 140-pound titleholder. However, regardless of the outcome, the organization said that Alvarado will be elevated to full titleholder following Bradley-Marquez and, thus, Alvarado will be making his first defense when he faces Provodnikov.
The WBO is simply showing Marquez respect as the great fighter that he is. His eventual abdication of the title, and Alvarado’s elevation, has been a mere formality since Bradley-Marquez was made and the signing of Alvarado-Provodnikov, which was announced as being for the full title at the news conference in Denver a couple of weeks ago.
Marquez won the vacant interim version of the 140-pound title in April 2012 when he easily outpointed Sergey Fedchenko. He was later elevated to full titleholder but has never made a defense.
After defeating Fedchenko, Marquez fought next in December at welterweight, winning by big knockout against rival Manny Pacquiao. Marquez’s next fight is also at welterweight when he faces Bradley in an HBO PPV main event at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Marquez, who turned 40 on Aug. 23, is quite obviously not going back down in weight to fight again at 140 pounds. The WBO would have preferred that Marquez had already vacated but, given his stature in the sport, it is allowing him to hold on to the belt for a little while longer so he can be introduced as the titleholder when he faces Bradley.