Provodnikov Progresses

I was wrong about the style matchup between Provodnikov and Alvarado, but I think even the fans who predicted the resulting knockout were surprised by how one-sided the fight turned out to be.  Alvarado’s superior boxing technique was not just stifled by his opponent, it was entirely irrelevant.  Alvarado managed to land combinations but with limited leverage and maneuverability.  He outpaced Rios with footwork and commitment to his defense, but Provodnikov was able, much as he was against Tim Bradley, to distract his opponent from that game plan.  Provodnikov will be in the running for a shot at the top Junior Welterweights but I think it’s more realistic for him revitalize his popularity and take another payday against Rios, letting the dust settle, as temporary champions like Danny Garcia fall into place.  The result of Pacquiao-Rios will be a great determining factor in the process of making Provodnikov’s next fight and we can expect good matchmaking either way.  Pacquiao and Rios would both be tempted by Provodnikov and as a loser, neither could refuse Alvarado, the next best opponent.  I expect Pacquiao to take an early lead against Rios, then, struggling in the middle rounds, his footwork will make all the difference.  If Rios can keep up, he may be able to wear the aging Pacquiao down enough to win.  More likely, Rios will take increasingly dangerous combinations as he tires and moves his head less effectively, Pacquiao will find a consistent rhythm, and the referee will call a stoppage based on crowd response.

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