Mike Alvarado was systematically taken apart in his home state as Ruslan Provodnikov finally claimed a world title in picking up the WBO light-welterweight strap at the 1stBank Center in Colorado.
As predicted pre-fight, the two warriors fought fire with fire as Alvarado’s attempts to box on the outside went out the window early on. Provodnikov gradually drew the champion into a toe-to-toe scrap where the Russian’s superior power ultimately told.
After a see-saw first six rounds of what was a highly entertaining battle, Provodnikov began grinding down Alvarado in the seventh with more hurtful shots and eventually put ‘Mile High’ on the canvas twice in the eighth.
Alvarado did well to even make it through the round and was on unsteady feet for the next two rounds as Provodnikov did all he could to end the fight. Alvarado mistakenly went to a neutral corner in between rounds nine and ten and was clearly in trouble as he went back to his team for assessment of his condition.
After a short debate, Alvarado was deemed unfit to continue and Provodnikov was crowned the new 140lb title holder at the end of the tenth to wild scenes from his family and entourage.
Provodnikov made up for narrowly missed out on a victory over Timothy Bradley in his previous bout for the welterweight crown, but looks a force to be reckoned with at the lighter weight – where he could reign for a long time to come.
In chief support on the Denver card, Juan ‘BabyBull’ Diaz was taken the full ten rounds by a dogged Juan Santiago as the former world lightweight champion continued his comeback from a long layoff.
The 30 year-old was clearly on top for the duration of the contest, although Santiago defiantly kept coming back at Diaz despite taking numerous heavy punches throughout the one-sided bout.
On the evidence displayed on Saturday night, they were much-needed rounds in the bank for Diaz as the Texan made it three straight wins following three years away with a unanimous 100-90, 99-91 and 97-93 victory.
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