Rocky Picture Horror Show: Algieri Upsets Provodnikov

By Robert Ecksel on June 14, 2014
Rocky Picture Horror Show: Algieri Upsets Provodnikov
Provodnikov landed the harder punches, but Algieri boxed like dream. (Naoki Fukuda)

Chris Algieri, the underdog from Huntington, New York, decisioned Ruslan Provodnikov, from Beryozovo, Russia, to win the WBO junior welterweight title…

Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs), the underdog from Huntington, New York, decisioned Ruslan Provodnikov (23-3, 16 KOs), aka the Siberian Rocky, from Beryozovo, Russia, to win the WBO junior welterweight title.

Judge Max De Luca, echoing HBO’s unofficial scorecard, had it 117-109 for Provodnikov, while Tom Schreck and Don Trella, who recognize fine boxing when they see it, both scored it 114-112 for Algieri.

Fighting out of the red corner in black trunks with gold trim, Provodnikov was the favorite coming in. His reputation for breaking down opponents preceded him and few imagined this fight, against a light hitter with no amateur experience, would be any different.

But Algieri, fighting out of the blue corner in blue trunks, kept saying that this was going to be his night. He had a handful of believers in his corner. But more important, he had skill, and impeccable ring smarts, which were enough to make Provodnikov look like a crude slugger out of his league.

No sooner had the opening bell sounded than the fight appeared to be a done deal. Algieri was boxing beautifully, using his length and mobility to good effect. But Provodnikov, working with master trainer Freddie Roach, was effectively cutting off the ring. At 1:20 of the first round he caught and dropped the challenger with a left hook to the face. Algieri beat the count but his right eye had begun to swell. At the 0:55 mark, Provodnikov dropped Algieri again, this time from a right hand. He got to his feet and made it through the round, but it looked like it was going to be a short night.

But Algieri turned things around immediately. As Provodnikov stalked Algieri, looking for the shot that would end the fight, the challenger boxed and moved, moved and boxed, relying on lateral movement and a stinging jab to disrupt the champ’s momentum. In round two Algieri landed 24 of 92 punches to Provodnikov’s 11 of 53.

Algieri was sharpshooting in round three. He continued to outland Provodnikov, upstairs and down, 23 to 20, but when the Russian connected he did the most damage. The fight had become, and would continue to be, a style preference contest. Those who like big booming punches would inevitably favor Provodnikov. Those who prefer volume punching and slick boxing had no choice but to go with Algieri.

Provodnikov started the fourth with a right to the body that momentarily took the starch out of Algieri’s sails. The challenger landed a body shot of his own, followed by two hooks. Provodnikov connected with a right to the body and a left to the face. Algieri’s jab was working overtime and continued to disrupt Ruslan’s rhythm. Prov landed another body shot. Algieri’s eye continued to swell. He landed a nice combination, which the champ countered at the bell. It was another close round that could have gone either way. We scored it for the challenger.

The Russian Rocky took round five. His body shots were taking effect. Algieri was slowing down. But he stuck to his game plan, jabbing, moving, making Provodnikov miss when he wasn’t connecting. But the champion smelled blood, Algieri’s blood, which had begun trickling from his nose. The red on his upper lip and his increasingly purple eye were a colorful reminder of the damage Provodnikov was capable of.

The fighters traded winning rounds six through eight. Algieri surged in the sixth. Provonikov, connecting to the body and aiming for Algieri’s rapidly closing eye, won round seven. Boxing like a dream, Algieri, even though he was now bleeding from the mouth, outpunched and outfought Provodnikov to win round eight.

If the fight were to have ended then and there, everyone would have sung Algieri’s praises. He was the underdog coming in. He looked like toast at the end of the first. He was going up against one of boxing’s certifiable forces of nature. But the fight didn’t end there. Algieri wasn’t in there to place second fiddle to Provodnikov’s concert master. He wasn’t content to just look good. He wanted to win.

Algieri took the ninth with his superior ring generalship. Provodnikov had his moments. He handed a combination to the body. Algieri countered with a combination to the head. Provodnikov continued to press the action, but his frustration had grown palpable. Whenever he crowded the challenger, he was met by a jab, or multiple jabs, that got him off his game. It’s hard to hit a moving target, and ever harder to hit a moving target that is hitting back. Algieri was winning the fight on our scorecard, but it was unfathomable that the judges—especially with HBO’s biased cheerleading in the background—would ever rule in his favor.

After nine rounds of action, according to CompuBox, Algieri had landed 230 punches to Provodnikov’s 151.

Algieri won rounds 10 and 11. He was getting off first. He was landing more. His punches, while never enough to drop Provodnikov, were enough to give him second thoughts, followed by third, fourth and fifth thoughts. No man, not even a man who eats raw moose liver for strength, gets much satisfaction from eating punches. Algieri was in control of the fight and he knew it. His face may have looked like roadkill, but there were no mirrors in the corner to dissuade him from continuing. The ringside physician was carefully watching the challenger’s right eye, which was all but swollen shut,, but decided to not spoil things but getting in the way.

Provodnikov won the 12th and final round. Using the same hardboiled intensity that enabled him to hospitalize Timothy Bradley and win the title from Mike Alvarado last year, Provodnikov engaged in a game of Ruslan Roulette by letting his hands go and going for broke. He landed jabs to the head, more shots to the body, and pinned Algieri to the ropes with a four-punch combination. But as little quit as there was in Provodnikov, there was as little quit in Algieri, who was firing off punches at the bell to end the round and the fight.

It took a long time, a very long time for the judges to tally the scorecards. Few of the thousands in attendance and the millions watching at home believed that Algieri would get the decision. Facial recognition software would have had trouble recognizing the challenger, but the judges, or two of three judges, didn’t let appearances corrupt the proper conclusion.

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  1. Koolz 02:00pm, 06/17/2014

    Look for the rematch in this one because I just saw the last two rounds I couldn’t give those rounds to Algieri.  Did Algeiri win the rest of the six rounds ?  Really?  I think this was a robbery.  I didn’t see Algeiri win the 11th round. 
    Hope there is a rematch.

  2. Koolz 11:07am, 06/17/2014

    Why do idiots like Koolz call Knockdowns ko’s?

    Why hello Rob nice of you to meet you ? 

    Now you said Idiot and your on the net so I will never meet you in real life…

    I often times type fast and don’t edit what I right.  No matter what you are saying that first round is a 10/7 round meaning Aliegri would have had to win 8 rounds.  Did he win all those rounds? 

    Have a good day.
    (Still can’t find the fight)

  3. ROB 07:14am, 06/17/2014

    Why do idiots like Koolz call Knockdowns ko’s? a knock down is when you “knock down” a fighter or make his glove touch the canvas with a punch. a “ko” is when you knock a fighter so silly that he can’t continue or you knock a fighter down and he can’t get up by the referee’s ten count. get it right !

  4. Koolz 03:28pm, 06/16/2014

    Ok I only saw the highlights but that was enough for me because to put this in perspective….The first round Ruslan gets to KO’s!  10/7 round….yea ok then that means he would have had to lose 8 rounds to Algieri.  Judging by the highlights doesn’t look like Algieri wins all those rounds.  I can’t find the match yet, but I am pretty sure the scoring on this was a joke.

  5. BK Don 10:33am, 06/16/2014

    @Pete The Sneak You were right on about Ward being right When I heard him say he had chris winning I thought to myself it’s been so long since he fought he’s forgotten everything he knows about boxing. He obbviousy knows more than me b/c i thought Provo won this fight.

    Punchstat numbers are always going to favor the light hitting guy who throws a ton of punches. @JohnnyC I did think some of Chris’ punches had some steam on them but a fair amt of them had no mustard on them at all. He’s far from a big puncher and I think he moves around too much to develope into one but he can hit hard enough to keep his man honest.

    Disappointing performance by Prov who was allegedly in the running for a Pacman fight b4 this one. I would expect that his chance at that kind of a payday is done, or at least postponed. Prov needs to throw more body blows and he needs to learn that using a jab will actually hope slow down constantly moving fighters.

  6. Galvar 10:24am, 06/16/2014

    Someone should invent gloves with sensors that not only count landed punches but also measures force of impact.

  7. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:35am, 06/16/2014

    Compubox! Chris throws a six punch “keep off me” flurry and not a single solitary one lands and you can bet your ass they were clicked in as scoring “power” punches….he not only doubles up but throws four quick “leave me alone” touch/half jabs as he’s retreating which you can be sure were scored as scoring blows.

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:52pm, 06/15/2014

    Trella had Chris down by three after one round and up by five after nine…..then it must have been…. oops!.....what to do…..what to do… he gives the last three rounds to Ruslan….ahhh…..114 to 112…..yea….. that’s it…...just right! These decisions are important….they change lives….Chris may have the degrees but Ruslan is an intelligent, aware individual and when he says the fight would have been stopped if he was the one with the eye injury….he’s spot on!

  9. theBoxer 02:40pm, 06/15/2014

    Only the First round was boxing, the rests were running, and catch me if you can.  The boxer lost the fight and the runner got the prize.

  10. Koolz 01:34pm, 06/15/2014

    Ah I missed this fight!  Looks like is was war! 
    I will see if it’s on allthebestfights

  11. Pete The Sneak 09:29am, 06/15/2014

    Andre Ward, a pretty slick boxer in his own right (when he fights, that is) was the only one who kind of saw this type decision coming as the fight progressed. Despite all of Provo’s hard shots on Algieri, all you kept seeing from the second round on was Provo’s head being snapped back. Obviously not as hard of punches as Provo’s, but lots of scoring nevertheless The guy (Chris) showed some exemplary boxing skills and movement and whether you agree with the decision or not, the fact that this guy, after taking all that brutal punishment in the first round was able to not only survive Provo, but actually “out boxed” the guy for most of the fight with basically one eye is amazing on to itself and mad props to Algieri…Peace

  12. Eric 09:16am, 06/15/2014

    @beaujack… Ruslan also favors Greg Haugen a little bit. He could be the love child of George and Greg. teehee. Only kidding fellas.

  13. FrankinDallas 08:39am, 06/15/2014


  14. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:34am, 06/15/2014

    I thought he looked like Harry fuckin’ Greb.

  15. FrankinDallas 08:17am, 06/15/2014

    Algieri looked like a Willie Pep type boxer in there;
    made Ruslan look clumsy and arkward. Still, for many rounds
    it reminded me of Mancini-Bramble II, when Boom Boom
    landed many more punches while Brambles’ punches were
    more devasating. Difference here is that Ruslans punches, while
    more damaging than Algieri’s for sure, did not have such a
    strong effect, except for a few hard body punches.

    I was wondering about the HBO judges scorecard..the middle rounds
    surely were won by Algieri. This was not a case of boxer vs puncher with
    the boxer merely throwing more punches….the boxer was controlling
    the fight, controlling his opponent, most of the night.

    I don’t score fights, but I could not imagine a wide victory by
    Ruslan. A draw or a point victory either way would have been ok and
    not a robbery.

  16. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:38am, 06/15/2014

    Here’s a message for Don Trella who scored eight straight rounds (two through nine) for Algieri….turn in your No. 2 pencil you blithering asshat of an idiot ....turn it in!

  17. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 07:11am, 06/15/2014

    The first fight was just wrong on so many levels…..who cares if Rose and his people want the fight or he “thinks” he can win or he’s the mandatory or whatever…..if he didn’t shell up he would have been out of there in two at the most… was a sad and ugly spectacle and little more than a mugging…..all the hugging and kissing afterward was so much horseshit.

  18. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:39am, 06/15/2014

    JohnnyC got it right about Ruslan having to get set first before throwing with kind of power and the “range” punches which really amount to being touch punches….very frustating….the body work especially the right hands had zero effect…..and the right hands over the top always seem to be that….way over the top…..still in this fan’s opinion he beat the hell out of Chris and I guess I saw the same fight as DeLuca….had the sound off and could care less about the ringside commentary.

  19. JohnnyC, Thae Italian Battalion 06:03am, 06/15/2014

    I’m still in shock after watching Provo completely taken out of his game.  I have watched Ruslan over time with awesome punching power, a great chin, and can go 12 without difficulty. BUT!  A huge problem I have noticed with great concern popped it’s little head last night against Algieri, a fighter with glimpses of Muhammad Ali, but with Flea power instead of Bee power. Provodnikov has to be completely set to throw any type of power, and even before he throws his power, he throws 2 - 3 range shots to set up for his knock out punch. Anyone with technical speed lateral movement and a great jab is going to give him big trouble, as was the case last night. Algieri completely fought Algieri’s fight, and not Provo’s bar fight lunging warrior style of, “I punch you, you punch me, and whom ever is standing wins the fight”. Algieri had no interest in that type of fight and every time Provo set his feet, Algieri was gone, leaving behind a snap jab fading away as Ali used to do. In the near future Algieri will be a tough opponent is this weight division for the simple fact he’s tall and lanky, good reach, good technical speed, amazing conditioning, and seems to be able to take a punch. The big concern I have for him is his punching power, there is none. He will need to be able to hurt opponents in the up and coming fights he will face against fighters with similar qualities. But for now, pinch yourself Algieri, and make damn sure this is not just a dream, and you wake up with drool on your pillow. 

  20. Clarence George 06:02am, 06/15/2014

    Beaujack!  Where the hell have you been, me auld warrior?

  21. beaujack 05:44am, 06/15/2014

    Yes Eric Provodnikov, looks like a blood relative of George Chuvalo for sure. Fights like him too.
    Provo said it all in the post fight interview, expressing his distaste fighting boxers who can move….Algieri should be lauded for surviving the first round damage to his eye…For a fighter with no amateur experience Algieri did alright for himself…
    Excellent article Ecksel…

  22. Eric 05:20am, 06/15/2014

    He looks like Chuvalo, he fights like Chuvalo, and like George, he might have a tendency to lose the big ones. Too early to tell yet. I’m thinking the “Siberian Rocky” could do very well in the cage. If this moose liver eating, manimal, started training MMA, he could become the first dual world champ to hold titles in boxing and MMA. You have to wonder if or why Ruslan rooted against Ivan Drago when he fought Rocky. Algieri should have pulled a scene out of RockyII and shouted, “Yo Adrian! I did it!

  23. bikermike 04:57am, 06/15/2014

    Yeh….what Mark Stokes said…..Nice article

  24. Mark Stokes 04:05am, 06/15/2014

    Kudos Robert for a well written report. From one writer to another, you are quite skilled at your craft. Good to see there are still some good boxing journalists still out there.

  25. Clarence George 02:05am, 06/15/2014


  26. Matt McGrain 01:28am, 06/15/2014

    Is Bradley hurt by this result?

  27. raxman 01:19am, 06/15/2014

    we didnt get this fight down under. more and more the sole cable provider is favouring UFC events over boxing. sad but true
    anyway i looked at the odds yesterday for this fight and was tempted by the nearly 7-1 odds in algeri’s favour but sadly didn’t take the punt.
    i look fwd to watching this one though, once some kind soul uploads it

  28. Galvar 09:44pm, 06/14/2014

    Dear experts, I can’t for the life of me tell if I’m wrong thinking that the judges made a good decision.  I agree with the judge who scored it wide because ru slam pulverized algieiri’s face but at the same time Algieri was snapping ruslan’s head back all night.  Prolly didn’t hurt ruslan but Algieri still out boxed him.  I was rooting for Ruslan but damn Algieri can box.  What do you experts think?

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