Local man Mike Alvarado headlines the 1st Bank Center in Denver, CO tonight when he places his WBO light welter belt on offer against Russian challenger Ruslan Provodnikov.
Alvarado, 34-1 (23), is coming off a duo of highly competitive fights against Brandon Rios, losing the first contest a year ago in an WBO eliminator when he went to war with Rios and then winning the rematch, for the Interim WBO crown, last March by boxing to a UD.
Provodnikov, 22-2 (15), came out of obscurity in March as a tune-up opponent for WBO welter champ Tim Bradley, making the most of Bradley's mistake to stand and fight, as the Russian hammered the champion only to lose a highly controversial UD.
This time, things could work out for Provodnikov as Alvarado may be tempted to put on an entertaining show for his hometown audience. If that happens and Alvarado fights the challenger, his reign will likely be a very short one.
But, if Alvarado learned anything from the second Rios bout, he'll try to keep Provodnikov on the outside, using the jab to keep the challenger off balance and away from exchanges.
Alvarado will need top of the line fitness to pull this off and if he cut any corners during training camp, the later rounds of the fight could be disastrous for him.
The only other contest of consequence on the show in Denver tonight sees the continued comeback of former WBA/WBO/IBF lightweight champ Juan Diaz, 37-4 (19), who meets Juan Santiago, 14-10-1 (8), in a light welter ten rounder.
Diaz sat out three years before coming back earlier this year and producing two stoppage victories. Local veteran Santiago has gone 1-6 over his last seven appearances.