For Denver’s Mike ‘303’ Alvarado (34’1, 23 KO’s) defending his WBO light welterweight title against Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KO’s) this Saturday night at the 1ST BANK CENTER in Broomfield, Colorado, in front of family and friends is all the motivation he needs.
The fight will be televised on HBO beginning at 7:45PM following a replay of this past weekend’s contest between Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KO’s) and Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KO’s), Bradley winning a split decision victory and retaining his WBO welterweight title in Las Vegas.
Dropping in on Mike, his manager Henry Delgado and trainer Shann Vilhauer at DELGADO’S BOXING AND MMA, 2333 Delgany St. (located just north of Denver’s ‘LoDo’ district) the noticeable calm that permeates the gym is quite evident, as Alvarado speaks of what is most important regarding this fight.
“First and foremost I want the Denver fans, who have been with me every step of the way, to enjoy me defending my WBO welterweight title here in my own backyard”, began Alavardo. “Many have been unable to travel to my fights but their support has always been felt and for this opportunity for them to see me LIVE will be something special”.
Distractions for some may be detrimental but Alvarado, Delgado and E. Paul Kelly, Jr. (lead trainer at Delgado’s Boxing) orchestrated a ‘Fan Appreciation Day’ in conjunction with a fundraising effort for 13 years-old amateur boxer John Espinoza this past Saturday afternoon, the youngster recently severely injured in a sparring accident that has him paralyzed on his left side.
Joined by rising pro boxers Manuel Lopez, David Escamilla and Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson, signing autographs and taking photos with the numerous Espinoza supporters garnered some $750 dollars that was collected and given to the Espinoza family to help with rising medical costs.
“Giving back is something I’ve always felt is the right thing to do”, said Alvarado.
Of interest to some remains how Alvarado was passed over for the bigger payday against the bigger named Manny Pacquiao on November 23rd in China, that being of no concern to Alvarado who says, “I was promised by Bob Arum (Top Rank) that for my next fight I’d be defending my title at home, in front of family and friends and that’s all that mattered to me then and that’s all that matters to me now”.
Having proven himself a true champion came against highly respected names such as Cesar Bazan, Emmanuel Clottey, Ray Nahr, hard punching Colombian Breidis Prescott, Mauricio Herrera and Brandon Rios twice came with hard work and determination, no one at 140 lbs. having a better resume than Alvarado.
Anyone coming into the backyard of Mike ’303’ Alvarado and believing they can take what he has (like E.F. Hutton he 'earned it') away from him will be no easy task, the added motivation of defending his WBO light welterweight title in front of family and friends has this opponent sitting squarely between the proverbial ‘rock and a hard place’.