3 More Rounds

Algieri Upsets Provodnikov!

Photos: Ed Mulholland/HBO

Photos: Ed Mulholland/HBO

Ruslan Provodnikov (23-3, 16 KOs) goes by the nickname of “Rocky” and entered the ring in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center to the theme song from the iconic movie. However, it was Chris Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs), who lived out a Hollywood-like experience on Saturday night. With his face a bloody mess, and one eye closed, Algieri shocked the boxing landscape by upsetting Provodnikov for the WBO 140 pound title.

It wasn’t supposed to play out like this.

This was predicted by most all fans and experts to be a stay busy “showcase” fight for Provodnikov. He being the man who was involved in the fight of the year with Timothy Bradley last year and then several months later destroyed rugged Mike Alvarado for the 140 pound WBO strap. Provodnikov was supposed to roll past Algieri-the unheralded hometown kid with minimal experience and mediocre skills—and that’s the way it looked in round one. Provodnikov came out smoking in the opening stanza and closed Algieri’s eye with a big left hook that knocked the challenger down hard. A few moments later, Algieri took a knee to get some relief from Ruslan’s onslaught.

That was clearly a 10-8 round, and Algieri did not look like he was long for his night in the spotlight.

Provodnikov-Algieri1Provodnikov kept up the heat in round 2, and badly bloodied Algieri’s nose to boot. However, by the end of the round Algieri started to show some spunk and showed that at worst, he would be a game loser. Actually, after round 2 are when things started to get interesting.

In rounds 3, 4, and 5, the Russian clearly landed the harder shots, but Algieri boxed slickly and showed remarkable heart. His face started to fall apart and his right eye started to swell shut in ugly fashion. But Algieri still countered well and landed some nice jabs.

As the fight continued in rounds 6 through 9, Provodnikov started to veer away from the vicious body attack that was so successful earlier in the fight, and began headhunting. He continued to land the harder blows, but Algieri, inspired by the chanting crowd, kept fighting back. His punches had no discernible effect on Ruslan, but they landed. They landed easily.

Still, the scuttlebutt in press row was whether or not Algieri would finish the fight. There were two issues regarding this matter: 1. The right eye looked horrible enough to cause a stoppage at any point. 2. Although Algieri showed remarkable toughness and a good chin, he couldn’t take too many more of those hard shots.

After Algieri seemed to have his best round in the 10th, the feeling among ringside media was that he showed that he belongs on premium cable, and defied expectations. There was lively debate about how many rounds Chris deserved; at least two.. and maybe three. A couple outlying members of press row talked up how well Algieri boxed throughout, and how the fight could be closer than expected.

Still, as the final two rounds came to a close, the feeling around the arena—a smallish but lively crowd of 6,218—was that it was great to see Algieri go the distance and show tremendous courage. Besides his face being an absolute horror show, Algieri kept fighting back and really showed that he is the type of fighter that every boxing fan will want to see again.

When the final bell rang, 3morerounds.com had is scored 117-109 for Provodnikov. A few other media members in the immediate area had scores for Provodnikov ranging from 117-109 to 115-111. Then, Michael Buffer read the official scorecards.

117-109 for Provodnikov

114-112 for Algieri

and

114-112 for Algieri.

And the NEW….

Say what?

This will go down as one of the more controversial and debated fights of the year. We can all agree that Provodnikov had an off night, whether it’s regression, or just a random off night. He failed to effectively cut off the ring, he got away from his body attack, and he was extremely easy to hit. Still, he landed the harder punches and turned Algieri’s face into a Halloween mask.

It’s hard to say that Algieri is the beneficiary of a “robbery” in his hometown. He fought with the heart of a champion; 11 rounds with one good eye. Also, the debate of scoring a fight for the fighter landing more punches versus the fighter landing harder punches is an age old discourse, based on subjective perceptions.

Chris Algieri was an overwhelming underdog. He got destroyed in the first round, had his face turned into a grotesque mess, and yet showed enough fortitude to fight his way to the WBO light welterweight title. Good for him. What a night of boxing in Brooklyn, New York.

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