NEW YORK -- Ruslan Provodnikov had just lost his junior welterweight belt to Chris Algieri at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday night and was at a loss as to how it could have happened.
After all, he was the aggressor all night, was the much heavier puncher, scored two knockdowns in the first round, closed Algieri’s right eye and was way ahead on one official scorecard, 117-109, and by the same score on the scorecard of HBO’s unofficial judge, Steve Weisfeld.
Yet, Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs), the hometown fighter from nearby Huntington, New York, won the split decision because two judges scored the fight 114-112 in his favor.
“I did what I promised. I said I would give it my all and that I would put up an exciting fight and I did that I think,” Provodnikov said through his manager and translator, Vadim Kornilov, at his post-fight news conference. “The judges saw the fight the way they saw it. It’s up to them, but I think I did what I promised.”
Provodnikov -- like many who took issue with the scoring -- felt that Algieri did more running than fighting.
“To me it feels like he was running all night and just jabbing,” Provodnikov said. “You see the way I look and you see the way he looks. To me, I don’t see how you can win a fight running all night.
“I said this was not the best style for me. I start falling asleep when the guy is running all night. He’s just running and running. If I wasn’t fighting him and I started boxing you guys [the media] would be falling asleep. I did what I had to do and put the fight to him and I made it exciting. I was the only one who made it exciting.”
Provodnikov (23-3, 16 KOs), who was making his first title defense, has three losses in his career, all close decisions, and all three were up for debate: this one, his 2013 loss to then-welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. and a 2011 fight with Mauricio Herrera.
“This is not the first time this happened to me,” he said. “HBO gave [me the fight by a wide margin]. One of the judges gave [nine rounds] to me. And the local judges give it the other way. On top of that his eye was closed. It’s dangerous to fight like that. He could have been killed. If my eye was like that they would have stopped the fight. I think it’s not fair.
“He was getting beaten up all night. This is another opponent of mine who is probably going to go to the hospital like Tim Bradley did. They go to the hospital as champions. I don’t think I lost this fight.”
Freddie Roach, Provodnikov’s trainer, felt like his man had done more than enough to win.
“Power punches win fights. He maybe out-jabbed us, yes, in that area, but power punches, it was a thousand-to-one,” Roach said. “That’s why I thought we deserved the fight. I have no regrets. I thought we did enough to win the fight. The power shots were there.”
Asked if he would change anything he told Provodnikov, Roach said, “No, because we won the fight.”
As for the prospect of a rematch, Provodnikov and Roach said they would like one. Artie Pelullo, Provodnikov’s promoter, said Provodnikov has a rematch clause, but he claimed he could not recall the precise terms.
“I think in this situation it would be fair to have a rematch because, in my opinion, justice should be served,” Provodnikov said. “If he doesn’t want to fight me, luckily in this division there are so many opportunities. There are so many fighters I could fight. We’ll see what HBO will offer me. You know I’m ready to fight anybody, any time.”
Said Roach, “We’d like a rematch. Maybe in Vegas or a neutral area. I would love a rematch. That’s what I want.”