For the first time in 13 years, and leave it to local world champion “Mile High” Mike Alvarado to do it, the Denver area will host a world championship boxing event. A sellout crowd is expected. It will be broadcast live on HBO beginning 9:45 pm ET and will be book-ended with some incredible programming for boxing fans — the replay of last week’s Timothy Bradley – Juan Manuel Márquez world welterweight title fight before and Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward, following the live fight.
BOB ARUM: There is not much I can say as a promoter. You don’t have to sell this fight. Everyone that knows anything about boxing knows that this fight will be a candidate for ‘Fight of the Year.” Two great warriors – two guys that entertain the public. You don’t need a sales pitch for this one and it’s showing at the box office as there are so few tickets left and by fight time it will be sold out.
ARTIE PELULLO: Bob has said it all about what the fight is going to be. It’s a great television fight, a fan-friendly fight. These guys don’t know any other way other than to come right at you. It will be another “Fight of the Year” candidate. Mike Alvarado is a great champion and Ruslan is hungry and wants to fight. He’s been doing this for 5 ½ years and is no stranger to fighting in others’ hometowns – as he has never fought in his. I have been promoting events for over 30 years and for the first time fifteen family members are coming out to see the fight – a first for me. I would like to introduce Ruslan and his manager Vadim Kornilov, two young kids grateful for the opportunity Mike Alvarado has given them.
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: It has been an extraordinary training camp. We have been in camp for eight weeks and it’s almost over. We are adding the final touches this week and it’s never been better. Every muscle and bone in my body is ready to go.
MIKE ALVARADO: This is exciting. It’s a dream come true to defend this title in my hometown and having all of my main supporters here. It’s a blessing. Training camp has been great and I’m ready to get in there and do what I always do – win this fight and retain this title and go on to bigger and better things. I’m excited about it. At the end of this week everyone is going to see a great performance out of me.
HENRY DELGADO: Mike never needs extra motivation to fight but I have seen extra effort in this training camp. We have to tell him to back off a little bit. It’s going to be an exciting fight. The whole city is on fire – everywhere you go people are talking about the fight. This is a great thing for Denver. They have the Broncos, the Rockies and now Mike Alvarado is on the scene. There is great buzz in the city so tune into the fight – there is going to be some fireworks.
How do you feel about the expectations of this fight?
MIKE ALVARADO: All of our fights have been top-caliber fights. The anticipation is from the wars that we have been in tells us that this fight has ‘War’ written all over it and there’s a good chance that this fight will turn into that. I have a good game plan and I know how I’m going to box to win this fight, but you never know, this fight could turn into a crazy war and we could see Rios I all over again.
Do you expect that to happen again after 4 or 5 in a row?
MIKE ALVARADO: I am not expecting a war because of the way I have been training and how I’ve seasoned as a professional. I know I am going to stay strong, boxing and focused on my game plan to make the fight go the way I need it to go and not make it a war. But you never know – that one show could change the fight around.
HBO has positioned this fight to be broadcast the same night as the special Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward, the all-action trilogy. How does that make you feel?
MIKE ALVARADO: When I sit here and think about it, it’s kind of scary, those dudes about killed each other. That’s a big step. Those are some big names to categorize ourselves with. It’s an honor to be in that kind of fight. We’ll see what happens. I am ready to perform and show greatness.
How do you feel about he expectations?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: I try not to think about that and not to worry about that. My job is to get ready for the fight and to come in and do what I do best.
How do you expect Alvarado to approach you in the fight?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: I’m sure Mike is 100% ready for this fight and is approaching this fight very seriously. He said he is going to try and box me and I am ready for anything. I can also box, I am not only a brawler and we can compete in any style that he chooses. I think if Mike chooses to box it will be better for me because I think that Mike is a better brawler than he is a boxer.
What type of fight do you feel it will evolve into?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: I think we are going to have to fight no matter what. Whether it will be one punch, but I think it will turn into a fight no matter what. I don’t think either of us can run for the entire fight and I don’t think he’ll be able to box with me as well as he thinks. This will turn into a fight. If I can make Timothy Bradley fight me I don’t think there is anyone that won’t end up fighting me.
What did he think about Bradley’s fight on Saturday?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: I was not surprised at all. I know Timothy Bradley is a great champion. He comes in prepared for all of his fights and he was 100% ready. I saw what I expected to see, Timothy Bradley outbox Marquez. I heard Marquez say that he was going to have to finish him off after Ruslan and knowing the type of fighter that Timothy Bradley is, I didn’t think that would happen. He couldn’t finish him off. Timothy is a warrior and he was going to come in and fight. Bradley fought the way he fought because Marquez let him fight that way. You cannot beat Timothy Bradley by boxing – you need to pressure him and break him down inside and outside and to the body – that’s the only way you can beat that guy. You cannot box him. I think that’s the main mistake Juan Manuel Marquez made, he thought he could beat him by boxing. I was not surprised at how the fight went but surprised that one of the judges gave it to Marquez. I get more and more surprised by the judging in every fight I watch and wonder what fight they are watching.
You are the only one to hurt Bradley. What does that say about you and boxers?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: It’s up to you guys and the fans to summarize the fight. I didn’t come into the ring to move around and box. I came into the ring not to box but to win the fight. I wasn’t looking for the easy way out and to box him. I knew I needed to break him – that’s a risk but I knew I had to take it to win.
Are you worried about not having Freddie Roach at the fight?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: From the beginning we knew there was a chance that Freddie would not be in the corner on the day of the fight. We knew he had obligations to Manny Pacquiao. We trained with Freddie for eight weeks exactly and it has been an awesome training camp. Also we have been working on how we defeat Mike Alvarado. It has all come together. 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. He is obviously the backbone of our team – he is the captain and I had hoped he could be there, there is a chance he could be there on fight night but I am ready if he’s not.
What did you think about Bradley-Marquez?
MIKE ALVARADO: Bradley fought great. He obviously did what he had to do. He had a game plan together to win that fight and he stuck to it. He didn’t let Marquez take him out of his game like Ruslan did and executed to win the fight. I give Tim a lot of credit. He’s a great champion and it was a good fight to watch. He fought the wrong fight against Provodnikov and he recovered well from that. He walked in there thinking he was going to be able to walk thru him and that type of fight happens. Every fight is different and that’s how that fight had to end up. I fought in that same venue, same ring and same referee so I knew what he was going through. My fight (with Rios) turned into the same kind of fight so maybe it’s something about that place. But on Saturday, he fought great and put on a great performance.
But the referee stopped your fight and let Bradley go on…
MIKE ALVARADO: I didn’t get the opportunity to come back and show that I could fight back from what was going on in that moment. I was disappointed, but it is what it is and the referee had to do his job and I’m just glad I redeemed myself to prove what should have happened. So I’m happy where I am now and ready to put on another good performance.
Are you puzzled that you didn’t get a bigger fight since beating Rios?
MIKE ALVARADO: That’s just the way it goes sometimes with the negotiations and the way fights get set up. I am ready for this fight and know that those fights will still be available. It is a dream come true to bring the title home to my hometown – to be able to perform in front of these people. I can’t take away from that and all those other bigger fights are yet to come and I’ll be ready for them.
Do you think your boxing could be the difference in this fight?
MIKE ALVARADO: I think it will be the difference. In my training and I have learned and developed that. Experimenting with it in my last fight with Rios gave me confidence that I can adjust in a fight. Sticking to my game plan, keeping the focus and not letting it break into a fight like that is the plan. Keeping the focus is what I have to do to win this fight.
How have the demands been on your time while training and fighting in hometown?
MIKE ALVARADO: I have been able to keep my focus and my eyes on my game plan. It’s exciting to me and I’m very hyped up for this moment in my life and I am ready for what I need to do. Its here and its coming really soon. I have the support from everyone and it is a dream feeling. I’m ready for it and I can’t wait.
Mauricio Herrera is a common opponent. How are you different now?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: I watched the fight between Herrera and Alvarado and you could see that Mike was going toe-to-toe with him. When I fought him there was moving a lot and clinching a lot and didn’t want to fight me. He won the fight by holding me and moving around. Both fights were great fights. For me, it was something I had to go through in my career in order to change and it was a changing point for me. Now I am fighting with the greatest trainer and having a great training camp. I am definitely more experienced and a different fighter now.
ARTIE PELULLO: Marvin Somodio is not a replacement for the corner – he has been training with Ruslan every day.
BOB ARUM: Freddie met Somodio in the Philippines. He is a kid that has worked in the camp with Manny and Freddie and he has come to America and is working out of Freddie’s gym. He speaks perfect English and can understand everything that his being said. Even though Ruslan uses an interpreter on the call he is fluent in English.
ARTIE PELULLO: Vadim would also be there to translate whatever needs to be done. Vadim does the translation when it is not 100% clear in the action of the moment and now he would be doing it for Marvin as he did it for Freddie.
VADIM KORNILOV: Freddie has not yet confirmed that he will no be there on fight night. It is just something that we are expecting because he is training Manny right now. I have been translating in the corner for the past 15 fights.
Are you worried about being in too many wars?
MIKE ALVARADO: It hasn’t caught up to me yet. Being in those kinds of fights has made me that much better as a fighter. Being in fights like that has helped me adjust into being a better boxer. Being in wars can take a toll and can catch up to you. It has helped with my training also. We have brought in Rudy Hernandez who helped with different training methods and the experience he has been through. I am still learning and becoming a better boxer that will help in those kinds of wars.
BOB ARUM: Let me say this. If you are watching fights on HBO, there are no more appearance fights. The fights are competitive. The fights are hard fights. HBO pays the most money and they expect their subscribers to get the most value. It’s not about picking and choosing. We all know that some like picking an easy fight after a tough fight and you can still do that but HBO isn’t going to pay for it.
What is your best chance of winning?
MIKE ALVARADO: Provodnikov is not used to fighting backwards as well. There are a lot of different training methods we have used as well for this fight. Boxing will come in handy and there are other tactics we will use as well. This fight is going to be very interesting. I am going to go in there and use what I worked on for this fight. Boxing is going to definitely be an option, but fighting is a huge option as well. This is a must-see fight and anything can happen.
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: I think that Timothy Bradley and Mike Alvarado are two different fighters. Bradley is a lot more awkward than Mike is and comparing their boxing styles… I don’t compare them as boxers. I compare them as two different style fighters. I think my fight with Alvarado will be more interesting that the Bradley fight because I think there will be more moments of exchanging in this one so I don’t see the point in comparing the two fighters.
What has to happen for you to win the fight?
MIKE ALVARADO: It’s each fighter and how he adapts to how the other fighter is bringing the fight. Adjustments are huge at this level and that’s where the corner comes in and gives instructions on how to adjust. Whoever adjusts best will overcome.
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: Obviously like in any fight, the fighter is going to have to adjust. But like I said before, whoever has the strongest will is going to win this fight. Whoever has the most willpower, whoever is stronger mentally is going to win this fight.
MIKE ALVARADO: I’ve been in these kinds of fights before and I know how they can end up. I am very strong mentally and very strong-willed. I’ve been there before and need to use my will to make the fight go my way. I’m ready to put on a great show and ready to win this fight.
BOB ARUM: We all know it’s going to be a great fight. We don’t have to keep asking the same questions over and over again. These guys are warriors. They are going to come to fight. Yea, there will be some good boxing. What we are going to see is really a knock-down fight. You can ask the questions seventeen different ways and the answers are all the same.
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: A lot of different fighters have had a plan when coming into the ring with me but usually in fights with guys like Mike Alvarado and myself the plan changes after the first punch. That is my hope for this fight
MIKE ALVARADO: I am ready to go and perform and put on a good show and I hope that everybody enjoys it.