Algieri defeats Provodnikov to win WBO junior welterweight title
NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Algieri walked to his first press conference as a world champion with an ice pack across the back of his neck and wearing sunglasses to cover a deep bruise on his right eye.
Then he answered questions with the ice pack across his forehead.
Algieri gladly dealt with those inconveniences especially if it meant he could display the WBO junior welterweight championship belt.
Algieri (20-0) won the title by outpointing Ruslan Provodnikov in a split decision Saturday night at Barclays Center. Algieri (20-0) received winning scores of 114-112 from judges Don Trella and Tom Schreck, while Max DeLuca had it 117-109 for Provodinkov (23-3).
"I was in the moment of each round and all of a sudden I looked up and it was the 11th round," Algieri said. "I knew I was winning and winning each round but at the end I wasn’t really too nervous about it. I knew. I just wanted to hear that."
The Long Island native and former kickboxer won the fight despite getting knocked down briefly twice early in the first round. He absorbed a jab from Provodnikov and then was sent to his knees with a strong uppercut.
"The only punch that hurt me the whole night was that first (one)," Algieri said. "I didn’t see it. I threw a sloppy left hook and I got caught with that hard shot that put me down and my eyes were swelling immediately. So that second knockdown, I just took a knee to gather what was going on with my eye."
Eventually, Algieri began to gradually lose vision in the eye and when the fight reached the final round, the 30-year-old was unable to see out of the eye. Still even with his vision declining throughout the fight, he did not feel he took many hard shots after the fourth.
"Literally at the 12th round, I was at zero vision out of the right eye," Algieri said.
Algieri’s swelling in his eye was a fact that Provodnikov and trainer Freddie Roach eagerly pointed out in expressing their disagreement with the decision.
"I think that you guys can be the judges," Provodnikov said through manager Vadim Kornilov. "I haven’t seen the fight yet to make a judgment on the way it went, but to me it feels like he was running all night and just jabbing. You can see the way I look and you saw the way he looks, and to me I don’t see how you can win the fight just running all day.
"In my view power punches win fights and he outjabbed us in that area, but power punches it was a thousand to one. We landed most of the shots and that’s why I thought we deserved the fight."
Provodnikov lost his first title defense after stopping Mike Alvarado in the 10th round last October and also lost for the second time in three fights. His other loss in the last 15 months was a controversial decision against Timothy Bradley.
There is a possibility of a rematch though Provodnikov said he might want it to take place in Las Vegas. Algieri might also get a chance at fighting Manny Pacquiao after promoter Bob Arum promised that the winner of this fight would get that opportunity.
"It’s a good fight," Algieri said. "It’s a great fight. To be in there with a guy like Manny, definitely a future Hall of Famer, it would be awesome and I think stylistically it could be a good matchup. He’s another dangerous guy but I think my style would match up well. That could be a really good possibility but I don’t know what happens next."
On the undercard, Demetrius Andrade (21-0) retained his WBO light middleweight by stopping England’s Brian Rose (25-2-1) at 1:19 of the seventh round. Andrade dominated the fight by dropping Rose in the first round with a left hand to the chin and again in the third with a right hook.
Rose, making his American debut, lost for the first time in 12 fights. Shortly after his nose was bloodied in the sixth, referee Michael Griffin decided to stop the fight after seeing Rose’s corner walk up the steps of the ring.
Earlier, Brooklyn native Heather Hardy (10-0) won the first women’s fight at Barclays Center by getting a split decision over Jackie Trivillino (9-8-3). The eight-round fight ended following the seventh after physicians ruled after Hardy was unable to continue following an accidental head butt in the second round.