Julio Cesar Chavez Jr said that in the buildup to his rematch with Brian Vera that he was reinventing himself both proffesionally and personally. Gone were the old bad habits, the lax training, the poor diet, the smoking of questionable substances. In were discipline and control.
And from the way hes started boxing this bout, he wasn’t just reinventing his life, he was reinventing his style.
As expected, Provodnikov was relentless, constantly coming forward and looking to land hurtful shots. Alvarado found some success early through a combination of occasionally going toe to toe and then reverting to a more classic boxing approach, while landing a number of his signature uppercuts. Over seven rounds the bout was basically even and a case could be made for either fighter to have a narrow edge on the scorecards. The eight however was decisive. Alvarado appeared to have serious stamina issues… perhaps because he was very much in headhunting mode and throwing wild punches, perhaps because of a number of agonizing body shots from Provodnikov. Ruslan hurt Alvarado and then mercilessly pursued him, landing with bigger and bigger shots, dropping him twice. Alvarado tried to jab and move during the ninth and tenth round but he could do nothing to change the momentum, nothing to frustrate Provodnikov and nothing to stop the blows piling on. The referee could have stopped it during the ninth, Alvarado’s corner probably should have after the ninth and finally they mercifully did with Alvarado on his stool after the tenth.
Undoubtedly the biggest name on the undercard is former 135lbs unified title holder Juan Diaz. “The Baby Bull” had a long and successful career at 135lbs, picking up the WBO belt before unifying with first Acelino Freitas and then Julio Diaz and at one time had a legitimate case for being considered the best lightweight in the world and arguably a top 10 pound for pound talent. That said, his career did entire a distinct downward streak following the victory of Diaz. He was out muscled, out though and out fought by Nate Campbell to lose his belts, he had a good comeback win over Michael Katsidis (which was wider than the judges would have you believe) and then was stopped in an absolute war with Juan Manuel Marquez. His next bout was a very controversial decision victory over Paul Malignaggi and he then lost a rematch to the Magic Man before losing a second bout to Marquez which was more tactical but still fairly exciting.
And at this stage Diaz bowed out. And no-one blamed him.
The two men who have done the most to derail the carrer of Manny Pacquiao… one controversially, one chillingly… meet this Saturday in a bout that will tell us a lot about both men.
It is some ways unfair to reduce both of these talented boxers to just their bouts with the Filipino superstar but there can be no doubt that it is their battles with Pac Man that to a large extent have defined their careers. Marquez’s four bouts with Pacquiao brought him from an underrated and little known Mexican boxer stuck in the shadow of Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales to one of the most well known names in boxing while Bradley’s win over Pacquiao should have turned him from an underappreciated star of 140lbs to a superstar only for the controversy over the scoring to sour the entire episode.
Both men turned down the chance to have another crack at Manny for this bout. So after this weekend, who will think that decision was somewhat foolish?