WBO Junior welterweight champ Mike Alvarado speaks at the final...

WBO Junior welterweight champ Mike Alvarado speaks at the final press conference for his fight against Ruslan Provodnikov. Oct. 15, 2013. Credit: Chris Farina (Top Rank Boxing)

It’s been a fall full of great boxing, with several more great matchups to come over the next couple of months. One fight that may be the most overlooked of the bunch is the Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov bout set for Saturday night on HBO's World Championship Boxing.


Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs), who scored a tremendous victory over Brandon Rios in March, has emerged as one of the best junior welterweights in the world. His only blemish was a loss by 7th-round TKO in his first fight against Rios Oct. 13, 2012.

Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs) has proven to be just as tough, with wins over DeMarcus Corley and David Torres. Provodnikov lost by unanimous decision to Timothy Bradley (112-115, 113-114, 113-114) at the Home Depot Center in March.

Making this bout most appealing is that it will take place in Alvarado’s hometown of Denver, Co.

“This is exciting,” Alvarado said. “It’s a dream come true to defend this title in my hometown and having all of my main supporters here.”

Members of Alvarado’s camp don’t look at him fighting in his hometown as the chief motivating factor. “Mike never needs extra motivation to fight, but I have seen extra effort in this training camp,” said manager Henry Delgado. “We have to tell him to back off a little bit.”

If anything, the fact that Rios is fighting Manny Pacquio after losing to Alvarado has to be the main motivating factor, right?

Not so fast.

“That’s just the way it goes sometimes with the negotiations and the way fights get set up,” said Alvarado. “I am ready for this fight and know that those fights will still be available.”

Alvarado is probably correct with that assessment. A solid win on Saturday night could put him in line for a fight with Pacquiao or a third fight bout with Rios depending on who wins. A second fight with Bradley could also come about.

As for Provodnikov, in addition to fighting in Alvarado’s hometown, he has to deal with the absence of his trainer, Freddie Roach. Roach, who has been in Provodnikov’s training camp, is currently training Pacquiao for his fight with Rios.

“From the beginning we knew there was a chance that Freddie would not be in the corner on the day of the fight,” said the Russian native. “We knew he had obligations to Manny Pacquiao. We trained with Freddie for eight weeks exactly and it has been an awesome training camp.

“I am going to have Freddie’s assistant Marvin Somodio in my corner. Marvin has been there every day and I know what to do. I know what to do once the fight comes. I am not worried about Freddie not being there.”

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