Five keys for Ruslan Provodnikov
Plotting a path to victory in Saturday's title bout against Mike Alvarado
Ruslan Provodnikov will have another chance to secure a world title Saturday, but this time could be an even more difficult test than his most recent fight against welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. in March.
Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KO), nicknamed the "Siberian Rocky," will face 140-pound titlist Mike Alvarado at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo.
In his fight of the year candidate against Bradley, Provodnikov found himself on the verge of scoring the upset when he knocked Bradley down in the closing seconds of the final round before dropping a close decision on the scorecards. Against Alvarado (34-1, 23 KO), he will return to his natural weight of 140 pounds.
Here are five keys to victory for Provodnikov against Alvarado:
All about accuracy
|Provodnikov will have to repeat the recipe that almost earned him a win against Bradley. The Russian will need to be aggressive at all times by using his speed and looking to be more accurate with his punches. Provodnikov usually throws lots of punches per round, but his percentage of connects is never over 50 percent. If he improves his accuracy, his chances of achieving a victory will be even greater.|
|Shortening Alvarado's distance will be Provodnikov's first obstacle. No one doubts that the champ will use his jab as his first tool of contention. Provodnikov will have to impose his rhythm and consistently enter enemy territory to connect his power punches. If he achieves that, he must not hesitate to hammer Alvarado every which way he can.|
Body of mistakes
|Alvarado may accept an open exchange or choose to be more technical than aggressive. What does Provodnikov have to do? Exactly what the manual says: punch to the midsection. By insisting on body punches, he will reduce Alvarado's movement, forcing him to change strategies and make mistakes.|
Remember where you come from
|Not even the most optimistic fan of Provodnikov who have followed him since his days on ESPN's "Friday Night Fights" would have imagined seeing him fight for world titles in consecutive bouts. His warrior spirit and tenacity have afforded him the reward of this new opportunity. Now he must seize it.|
|Having a trainer of the intelligence of Freddie Roach will always be a victory card. And even though Roach won't be in his corner on Saturday (Roach is in the Philippines training Manny Pacquiao), there are reasons to believe Provodnikov will be greatly motivated. Roach recently surprised us in his spectacular debut in Miguel Cotto's corner, where he drove the Puerto Rican to one of his all-time best performances in his knockout victory over Delvin Rodriguez. Don't be surprised if Roach surprises us again with a better version of Provodnikov.|
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