The strong finish for boxing in 2013 got just a bit stronger on Thursday when Top Rank finalized a deal to pit Mike Alvarado against Ruslan Provodnikov on Oct. 19 at the First Bank Center in Alvarado's hometown of Denver. The bout will be televised on HBO.
Alvarado and Provodnikov were each in Fight of the Year matches in March. A one-time sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao, Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs) and Timothy Bradley put on a spectacular bout on March 16 at the Stub Hub Center (Then known as the Home Depot Center) in Carson, Calif.
Bradley won a narrow unanimous decision in a bout that had the fans on their feet throughout. Provodnikov knocked Bradley down in the 12th and had him hurt badly several other times.
Two weeks later, Alvarado bested Brandon Rios at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas in another fiercely contested match that remains a Fight of the Year contender.
Top Rank president Todd duBoef was thrilled to be able to finalize the bout after tough negotiations with both sides.
"What this fight shows is the value of putting on a great performance in the ring, win or lose," duBoef said. "Provodnikov had a great performance against Bradley, and though he was on the losing side, he's coming right back in a main event in a very significant fight.
"Alvarado was on the losing side of a fight with Brandon Rios last year and we brought him back in the main event against Brandon earlier this year. These are the kind of throwback, competitive bouts the fans want to see, and if you as a fighter fight that way, there is always going to be a demand for your services."
Alvarado, who went on an eight-and-a-half mile run in the mountains shortly after closing the deal, was eager to get to work.
"Denver just got its Super Bowl in boxing," he said. "I'm so excited. I'm going to adjust my training because there are different challenges [facing Provodnikov] compared to fighting Rios."