Provodnikov looks to continue upward trend vs. Algieri

Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2. 16 KOs) returns to ring Saturday against undefeated Chris Algieri (19-0, 8 KOs) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. For the second fight in a row, Provodnikov will be on his opponent's turf.

Ruslan Provodnikov delivers a right in his fight against Mike Alvarado in October 2013.

Doug Pensinger / Getty Images North America


It has been more than a year since Ruslan Provodnikov suffered a 12-round, unanimous-decision loss to Timothy Bradley. The way everything has gone for him since then, that fight feels, in many ways, like a win for the "Siberian Rocky."

That bout, a spotlight fight for him on HBO, and an eventual Fight of the Year winner, thrust the 30-year-old slugger into the limelight after he badly hurt Bradley several times and had him on the canvas in the final round. Since then, his star has risen and he backed up the hype by going to Mike Alvarado's hometown of Denver, stopping him, and taking his WBO light-welterweight title last October.

Other fighters in and around the welterweight neighborhood have not been eager to fight Provodnikov (23-2. 16 KOs), but he returns to ring on Saturday (HBO, 10 p.m. ET) against undefeated Chris Algieri (19-0, 8 KOs) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. For the second fight in a row, Provodnikov will be on his opponent's turf.

"I feel great," Provodnikov said. "I felt great after the Alvarado fight. It was a great win for me so I'm definitely very excited for this fight."

Sixteen of Provodnikov's 23 victories have been by knockout. The way he concussed Bradley and broke Alvarado, people expect his opponents will end up knocked down, if not out. But Provodnikov believes his boxing ability is underrated, as well.

"I don't make it a goal to knock my opponents out, I just do my best to win the fight," Provodnikov said. "If I can win without a lot of blood, I do that, or if I have the opportunity to knock him out, I do that, too. I just do my job in the ring."

A rematch with Bradley has been discussed, as has a fight with Manny Pacquiao, a tricky situation since the two boxers are trained by Freddie Roach. Assuming he gets past Algieri, a big fight should be in Provodnikov's future, and that's what he hopes to land before calling it a day.

"I definitely accomplished most of the goals that I set for myself," Provodnikov said. "Right now, I want to be in the biggest fights possible. I don't want to have a very long career, just a small amount of bigger fights."

In Algieri, he faces a fighter who will look to control distance and not stand and slug with one of the sport's pound-for-pound hardest hitters. But Provodnikov is up for that challenge and his willingness to fight whoever, whenever, and his action-packed style, are what have made him a fan favorite.

"He's definitely a great boxer," Provodnikov said of Algieri. "He's skilled, a great mover, and I know he will be moving around and trying to jab with me. I need to do what I do best. I'm a pressure fighter. I know that I will be aggressive, move forward, and see how he does with my pressure. It's a great fight and a clash of styles, so I'm very excited."

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