Provodnikov defense in the works
February, 26, 2014
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
Doug Pensinger/Getty ImagesRuslan Provodnikov is still waiting for an opponent to defend his title against in June.Junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov is penciled in for his first title defense on June 14, location to be determined.
Besides figuring out where the fight will take place, promoter Artie Pelullo told ESPN.com that he is in discussions with HBO, which will televise the bout, about an opponent -- a situation they do not see eye to eye on at the moment.
Pelullo said that he and Bob Arum, Provodnikov’s co-promoter for the next fight, want to match Provodnikov either with former lightweight titlist Antonio DeMarco (30-3-1, 23 KOs) of Mexico, who has won his past two fights since moving up in weight, or Chris Algieri (19-0, 8 KOs) of Huntington, N.Y., who looked good outpointing Emmanuel Taylor on ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights” on Feb. 14.
“Arum and I want DeMarco or even [promoter] Joe DeGuardia’s guy, Algieri,” Pelullo said. “But HBO wants us to wait for the winner of the Thomas Dulorme-Karim Mayfield fight and we don’t want to wait another month. Besides, what happens if the guy who wins that fight gets injured or cut? We want to make a fight now and get it done as soon as possible so we can go out and sell the fight, get a site and really promote it. But we’re trying to work things out with HBO.”
Dulorme (20-1, 14 KOs) and Mayfield (18-0-1, 11 KOs) meet on March 29 in Atlantic City, N.J., on HBO on the undercard of light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev’s defense against Cedric Agnew.
Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) lost the 2013 fight of the year by decision to welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. but then returned to junior welterweight, went to Mike Alvarado’s hometown of Denver in October and stopped him in the 10th round of a bruising fight to win a 140-pound title.
Whomever Provodnikov faces, Pelullo said that the co-feature could be junior middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade making his first defense against mandatory challenger Brian Rose (25-1-1, 7 KOs) of England.
Pelullo and DeGuardia co-promote Andrade and are working to make a deal with Rose promoter Matchroom Sport.
“HBO tells us they are interested in Demetrius, but not really interested in that fight [with Rose],” Pelullo said. “But it’s a mandatory so we are trying to work it out.”
Andrade (20-0, 13 KOs) won a vacant title by split decision against Vanes Martirosyan on Nov. 9 on HBO, which holds the first right of refusal and a last look option on his next bout.