Very few individuals outside of Chris Algieri‘s hometown of Huntington & Long Island gave him a snowballs’ chance in H-E- Double Hockey Sticks in defeating Ruslan Provodnikov. On Saturday night, he did just that in earning a split decision victory and taking Provodnikov’s belt. Yes, the Siberian Rocky is a beast but we know now that Algieri, an undefeated kick boxer prior to starting his career in the sweet science is as well.
This kid can flat out box. Despite being knocked down in the first round from a wicked left hook and then again later in the round, and having his eye swell immediately and get progressively worse throughout the fight, Algieri showed the poise and ring generalship of a fighter well beyond his years and experience. Using excellent movement and showcasing blinding speed, he peppered Provodnikov with solid jabs, sneaky uppercuts and power shots while adding timely body shots and keeping Provodnikov off balance.
Provodnikov did do as expected and what he does best, come forward, stalk his opponent, land power shots, and look for the knockout but his combination punching was limited, mostly due to Algieri’s movement. Algieri was expecting this blueprint as he stated before the fight “I think with Ruslan, you know what you are going to get, he’s going to come forward and throw bombs. That’s what he does. I am expecting that” Algieri’s trainer Keith Trimble added “We won’t do anything different,” “Chris is going to be Chris. We know the other guy is tough. But Chris has unbelievable cardio. Chris can box for days”
Provodnikov did some good work in this fight; he landed wicked body shots at times while connecting on left hooks and right crosses but Algieri was able to counter effectively and make Ruslan reset over and over. Provodnikov who falls to 23-3 said before the fight “If I have to die in the ring to win, that is what I will do, is Algieri willing to do the same? He had better or he will not defeat me.”
When asked by HBO’s Max Kellerman about being on the deck with his eye closing and wondering what is going through his mind, Algieri stated “This has been a surreal week for me, me and my trainer almost got into a car accident earlier in the week, someone actually drove us off the road, and it was funny, my heart rate didn’t even go up” I felt like that walking in here today and in that moment when I was on the deck, my heart rate didn’t even go up” I think Provodnikov got his answer.
Algieri landed 83 more punches and threw 217 more while landing at a higher connect percentage. Interesting to note is that Algieri beat Provodnikov at his own game landing 13 more power shots and at a higher connect percentage mostly dismissing Provodnikov’s theory as he stated after the fight that Algieri was a “runner”.
Algieri, a relatively unknown to the casual fight fan prior to this fight will no doubt see his Twitter followers jump at a record pace after this performance. He raises his record to 20-0 (8KO). This kid will be a handful for any opponent. He has the physical skills to give either boxer or puncher a problem. All I know is I can’t wait to see the new champ again.