Convicted Artist Magazine

Apr 16th
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bob-arum-top-rankSo, we have another great action fight for 2013.  Not a fight of the year candidate, but darn close.  We knew this coming in, but there is always the chance of being disappointed.  The only way Ruslan Provodnikov and Mike Alvarado would disappoint would be a little different.  One of them dancing to victory in a clinch fest is not likely.  The only way the fans could have lost is an early KO, or quick stoppage.  Even that would let us down, compared to what we were expecting.  

As one of the few who predicted this fight correctly, I give all credit to Provodnikov.  There were many occasions where he could have resigned himself to having inferior boxing skills, and just followed Alvarado around the ring.  Ruslan, however, just did what he does.. applied steady pressure.  His only two losses were against fighters who spent most of their time boxing.  Durable guys, who don't expect to hurt you much, and have inexhaustible stamina.  Mauricio Herrera and Timothy Bradley fit that mold.  Alvarado did not.  Not quite, at least.  

Alvarado showed his boxing skills late against Rios, but what a lesson he needed to learn to get there.  He also is a good puncher.  he is used to seeing a result from his bombs.  Add to that, he was drained by his efforts to make weight, and facing a man who punches to the body with tremendous force.  It was not a good recipe for going a full 12 rounds, even with the natural heart that Mike possesses, combined with the pressure of fighting in his hometown.  Provodnikov deserved the win, but Mile High Mike deserved better than this.  You have to understand the way Top Rank operates.  

When you defeat one of Bottom Line Bob Arum's ticket sellers... you are not rewarded.  You are either shelved or buried on undercards.  Just ask Bradley or Zahir Raheem.  These were Top Rank fighters, yet they did not have fan bases or latin last names, so they were treated as if they had committed a robbery.  the losers in each case, Pacquiao (not really), Morales, and Brandon Rios, were all rewarded for their losses with big money fights, while the non-draw that beat them was given the consolation prize.  Alvarado deserved the Pacquiao fight, or to have an easy hometown defense.  Instead he got the toughest assignment for his style, in the only town where Top rank could make guaranteed money off of him.  

Now, a trilogy with Brandon Rios will be less of a draw after both men take shellackings (as is expected in Macao next month).  Provodnikov is sitting idle as he is a 140lb belt holder, and everyone in that category besides him, is a Golden Boy fighter.  Marquez and Pacquiao are nearing the finish line, and Provodnikov has hinted that his career will not be a long one.  Alvarado is in the same boat, whether he likes it or not.  Bradley has called out Mayweather, and most experts believe his style is best suited to give Floyd fits.  The monopoly game is not one Top Rank is winning, yet they can only blame themselves.  Maybe if they chased talent instead of fan-bases (which will always be there anyway), they would have developed more fighters instead of ruined them, which seems to be happening with regularity in their stables.  Just ask Juanma Lopez.

Chris Strait

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