Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs), defeated Ruslan Provodnikov (23-3, 16 KOs) last night at the Barclays Center in New York, capturing the WBO light welterweight title and etching his place in boxing history. The event was presented by Banner Promotions and televised live on HBO Boxing.
Algieri learned quickly the power of Provodnikov, getting knocked down twice in round one. The first knockdown came by a blistering left hook thrown by Provodnikov, sending Algieri to the canvas for "come to Jesus meeting" and realizing he was in for a long night and maybe some adjustments needed to be made. The right eye of Algieri began to swell, but he would somehow survive. A series of punches from Provodnikov forced Algieri to take a knee for the second knockdown in the round, giving him time to evaluate and make adjustments.
Provodnikov was clearly the stronger fighter, but the ring smarts, together with the height and reach advantage, Algieri made the adjustments necessary to battle the hard hitting Provodnikov for the remainder of the fight.
Knowing not to stand in the middle of a street in busy traffic, Algieri found his range and used lateral movement, giving him success at landing frequent and precise punches on Provodnikov.
Provodnikov applied pressure constantly, he is without a doubt a grinder and a banger landing the power shots, but Algieri found a way to score more points by throwing and landing more punches.
The fact is this, Algieri fought a smart fight by taking Provodnikov out of his element. Ruslan Provodnikov is a great fighter who will fight another day, he is a beast in the ring that has fought his entire career with pure grit.
For Algieri, this was the biggest fight of his career to date, he proved he has a solid chin, good movement, heart and ring smarts. He out-boxed a legitimate opponent in Provodnikov and won a close fight. In the end the judges score the bout 112-114, 112-114 and 117-109 giving Algieri the win by split decision.
A fan of Chris Algieri or not, one has to respect the way he fought this fight. The bout could have easily ended in the first round, the punishing blows of Provodnikov were stellar to say the least.