Slip the Jab Boxing Awards 2013: Fight of the Year – The Contenders

fight of the year 2013

Who doesn’t love a good fight? A great bout can announce the arrival of a new star, turn a star into a legend or simply entertain a thrilled audience. And let’s be clear here… 2013 was a great year for fights. The hardest part of compiling this list was thinking about what to leave out rather than looking for bouts to put in and there are number of contests that likely deserve at least an honorable mention only to find themselves excluded because I didn’t want to list dozens of contests.

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Alvarado vs Provodnikov: Results and Analysis

It lived up to the hype.

Over ten brutal rounds Ruslan Provodnikov outfought and outlasted a game Mike Alvarado, hunting down his opponent before finishing him in the 10th.

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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.

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Mike Alvarado vs Ruslan Provodnikov: Preview and Prediction

Sometimes bouts come along that are interesting because of what they represent. Regardless of how exciting what happens in the ring is likely to be they’re bouts we tune into because of the stature of the boxers in question, the title on the line, the way it’s been hyped… a vast selection of reasons. Last week’s bout between Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez is a good example of that. While many looked to the pair’s last bouts and thought it would be a blood and guts war, I suspected different and while I think my view was correct I still enjoyed the highly charged technical and strategic chess match.

This one’s different.

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Ruslan Provodnikov and Mike Alvarado are both coming off fight of the year candidates… hell, Alvarado’s coming off three in his last four and two in a row. And these weren’t one-offs or a strange quirk of fate. Both have throughout their careers put on exciting bouts that get a fan’s blood pumping. Both are aggressive, both are as much fighters as they are boxers, both hit hard, both keep up a high workrate, both look for offence over defence. And more then that their styles mesh. While boxing has a habit of making even the most sensible predictions look foolish, it’s hard to imagine this not being an exciting bout.

And let’s be clear, this isn’t just a bout which will likely be entertaining but represents nothing. Both Alvarado and Provodnikov are good boxers in their primes and near the top of their division. Golden Boy and their 140lbs tournament may have dominated the headlines regarding junior welterweight over recent years but the winner of this bout will have every right to consider themselves one of the best in the world at this weight… maybe a step below Danny Garcia but certainly on the level of say Lucas Matthysse (and the fact that we will likely never see Matthysse vs Alvarado, Rios or Provodnikov is one of the saddest consequences of the cold war between Top Rank and Golden Boy).

So, who wins?

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