This is the worst style for me. I like guys who are in front of me and fighting me. – PROVODNIKOV
I showed the boxing world who Chris Algieri is. – ALGIERI
BROOKLYN, NY — When Chris Algieri was floored twice early in the first round off left and right hooks, the writing appeared to be on the wall. Like so many tough but limited fighters, Algieri was going to be the latest competitor to find out the limit of his talent when paired against a world champion. What instead transpired was a one-eyed Algieri taking his destiny in his own hands by focusing on constant movement and a high punch output to perplex Provodnikov the rest of the way and earn a courageous split decision victory (114-112 twice, 109-117).
Algieri’s win is clearly a frontrunner for Upset of the Year, and already has far-reaching ramifications for the 140-147 pound divisions.
DON’T BRING A BEAST TO A THINKING MAN’S WAR: Anyone who’s seen a few Provodnikov fights knows the Siberian Rocky struggles with boxers. Mauricio Herrera defeated him with movement and busy hands, and Provodnikov looked utterly lost for most of the middle rounds of his 2013 Fight of the Year when Timothy Bradley refused to stand in front of him. However, the Alvarado fight, where Provodniko brutally stalked and beat down Mile High Mike to snatch the WBO title, had many thinking he turned a curve in dealing with movers.
Provodnikov’s failings last night were on a few levels. One, he abandoned the early body attack (right hooks), that set up his early knockdowns in favor of telegraphed haymakers to the head. Second, he spent long stretches of nearly every round after the first simply following Algieri around. And most damaging, he was indecisive when he finally trapped Algieri on the ropes or in corners. In those fleeting moments of uncertainty, Algieri was either firing off 2-3 punch combos, moving/ducking out of range, or tying Provodnikov up.
EVALUATING THE SCORING CRITERIA: According to those ringside, there was a lot of heavy debating on who really won this fight. On Twitter, most ranged from giving it Algieri to a draw. The arguments centered on what you favored regarding Algieri’s higher puncher output or Provodnikov’s more damaging blows.
The problem there is the argument is too narrow — there are FOUR criterias used to score a fight. That criteria is clean punching, effective aggression, defense and ring generalship. Even if you give Provodnikov the punching edge due to his power, there is no chance you can give him nods in the other categories where Algieri excelled. His defense had Provodnikov landing in single digits in several rounds. Algieri rendered his aggression flaccid and controlled the pace and style of the fight. In short, Algieri completely outboxed Provodnikov after that nightmare first round.
Ruslan’s trainer Freddie Roach knew what was happening as well, telling his man in the late rounds that a KO was needed to pull this out.
— Ismael AbduSalaam (@Ismael_BBM_NYK) June 15, 2014
CAN’T CHERRY-PICK WHEN YOU’RE THE CHAMPION: I won’t go in too bad this morning on Provodnikov, since he was clearly emotional after losing the title in his first defense. But if you call yourself a champion, you need to be able to face all challenges and styles. It’s not like Algieri was a last-minute replacement. He knew exactly what he was in for. With that said, sign me up if Provodnikov’s next fight is against a Brandon Rios or Lucas Matthysse. With Provodnikov out the picture as a Pacquiao, Algieri may have hit the literal jackpot if Arum and Juan Manuel Marquez cannot come to terms for a fifth Pacquiao bout.
ANDRADE DESTROYS ROSE: The opening bout saw WBO light middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade deliver a complete thrashing to Brian Rose. A laser-like, southpaw straight left put Rose on the canvas in the first, and a check right hook put him flat on his back in the third. From there it was a slow beating before the ref mercifully saved Rose from a battering on the ropes during the 7th.
As a belt-holder, Andrade now needs to face the top-ranked challengers. The best matchup from a style-standpoint would be James Kirkland, who’s ranked #5 by the WBO. It’s a very dangerous fight, but considering Kirkland has been off since last year, I’d give Andrade a good chance of pulling an Ishida job on the Mandingo Warrrior. But if Kirland is at his best? Under that scenario I see the Kirkland grinding Andrade down for a late TKO.
Another alternative is Jermell Charlo, who’s ranked #6. Although this would likely be a tactical chess match, it’s an intriguing matchup assuming Charlo’s contract with Al Haymon doesn’t exclude him from an HBO date.