When a fight screams "war" every fight fan on the planet should sit up and make a really big effort to watch it. Sometimes they don't live up to expectation, such as the recent fight in the US between Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse, though sometimes time exceed all expectation such as the Kompayak Porpramook and Koki Eto bout from earlier this year.
We have another probable "war" this coming weekend in America as American toughman Mike Alvarado (34-1, 23) attempts to defend his interim WBO Light Welterweight title against Russian power house Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2, 15).
To describe this bout as stylistic eye candy is just stating the obvious. If one man loves a war, it's fair to say so does the other. If one fighter wants to prove he's a man, the other wants to prove he's more of a man. If one of the two wants to go toe-to-toe then the other will answer back. This, is why we love boxing.
Aged 33 Alvarado, known as "Mile High", is a fighter who has only come to the public's attention in his last 3 or 4 fights, all of which were memorable wars as he over came Breidis Prescott, Mauricio Herrera and Brandon Rios, avenging a loss to Rios in the process.
Although Alvarado has only only fought in a handful of notable bouts they were all the sort of battles that shorten careers and take a lot out of the men involved. They were hard, they were violent and they were glorious to watch.
Weirdly despite being known for his wars Alvarado is actually a decent boxer. Unfortunately he shares the mindset of needing to prove his toughness as opposed to proving his boxing and this is why he has been engaged in such vicious battles in recent years. If, and when, he boxes he can look very good as he showed in the second Rios fight though when he forgets his boxing he can get hurt, get rattled and get busted up.
At 29 years old Provodnikov is the notably younger man. Although he to has been involved in wars, including a very exciting bout with Timothy Bradley last time out, he's the sort of fighter with the firepower to make opponents back off.
Whilst Alvarado has burst through in recent fights it's fair to say that Provodnikov had been on the fringes for a while prior to his Bradley bout. He had fought on ESPN several times, beating Emanuel Augustus and being beaten by Mauricio Herrera on two of those occasions. It was in those fights that we saw Provodnikov's limitations as both men found success boxing him, but also his heart and desire to win as he attempted to turn both bouts in his favour.
Whilst Provodnikov had been known about by the hardcore fan base for a few years he wasn't expected to really become a world level fighter, mainly due to his loss to Herrera. Earlier this year however Provodnikov proved he belonged in world class as he pushed Timothy Bradley all the way in a thrilling contest that saw Provodnikov dropping Bradley and shaking him up several times in a thriller.
Although a tough and hard hitting fighter Provodnikov is a fighter who can be out boxed, out thought and out moved. When an opponent moves they can make the Russian look slow and one dimensional, however if they stand in front of him for too long they will be made to pay.
With Alvarado often forgetting his boxing trying to prove how much of a fighter he is, and with Provodnikov being a born fighter we are in for something special. In fact the only limit to this contest could be a case of who can take what. If Alvarado is feeling the effects his battles with Prescott and Rios he may not manage to take too much from Provodnikov in a battle.
If Alvarado chooses to box and can fight to a boxing orientated game plan we feel he'll retain, but something makes us think he'll try to put on a show and this will be his downfall against a thudding puncher like Provodnikov.
Whether Alvarado boxes or not this is the sort of fight where we feel that every moment will be tense. Every round will see something notable. Every minute will make your heart skip. Every trading sequence will remind you why you're a boxing fan.
Video below courtesy of HBOsports.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.