Ruslan Provodnikov predicted that his fight with Mike Alvarado would be a war of wills, and that he would need to break his opponent in order to win. He was 100 percent correct.
Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KO) and Alvarado (34-2, 23 KO) engaged in 30 minutes of brutality on Saturday night in Denver, Colo. and in the end, it was the Russian who emerged from the carnage as the new WBO junior welterweight champion, with a 10th round TKO victory.
The bout produced a fair amount of ups and downs, and each fighter had their moments. When Alvarado settled down and boxed from the outside he was able to blunt Provodnikov's aggression, but when the Russian got on the inside he was able to uncork huge hooks to the head and body.
The body shots were particularly damaging, and seemed to sap Alvarado's ability to control the distance of the fight and box effectively. As the rounds wore on, close quarters combat became more of the norm, and that heavily favored the challenger.
The wheels came off for the hometown favorite in the eighth round when Provodnikov broke through and scored two brutal knockdowns. Alvarado, who was badly hurt, was able to hang on and make it back to the corner.
Provodnikov dominated the ninth and 10th rounds, and seemingly had the champion badly hurt again several more times, which prompted referee Tony Weekes to end the contest in the corner before the 11th round.