Saturday, June 14, 2014
Chris Algieri VS Ruslan Provodnikov: You will remember Algieri's name now
After the unsurprisingly disastrous first round Chris Algieri suffered, it became completely apparent that, as most boxing fans had feared, this was just too much of a step up, too soon. With no amateur background, and many fans not having remembered his name after his excellent showing against an unheralded opponent on ESPN just this year, Chris Algieri walked into the lion's den and began to get ripped apart by the lion, as the majority suspected he would. A viscious left hook to the eye put him down hard and he took a knee later in the round. A 10-7 deficit, a rapidly swelling eye and a sign that he knew he couldn't handle it.
Except, it was an illusion. He took the knee because he had the presence of mind to do so. He got his bearings. He got his rhythm. He weathered enormous shots from the relentless pressure fighting titlist, the "Siberian Rocky". He moved, he jabbed and popped Provodnikov's head back, he danced, he hung in there at the world class like a real contender. Did he win? By split decision. Did my jaw drop? Yep. I was actually surprised he got the nod on the cards. But the long tabulation at the end of the fight for the scores are rarely a good sign of anything at all. It's usually time for bickering about corruption, in my experience. Some might call this a hometown type of decision.
After my initial surprise and displeasure, I realised that I didn't really think it was a robbery. I came around quickly. It was just unexpected. There were so many rounds in this match that seemed to hinge on Algieri's scoring more and Provodnikov's scoring harder, with punches that simply always seemed to hurt more. The entire fight looked like no matter how well Algieri scored, he was getting broken down. Algieri had moments where he boxed beautifully from the outside, keeping the stubby Provodnikov from landing some frightening looking but wide left hooks that had everything he could use on them. He didn't acquit himself badly on the inside either. Provodnikov, as I see him, is always most potent from mid-range, despite many always labeling pressure fighters as inside fighters, and Algieri did his darnedest to keep him out of that mid-range. Algieri is no dummy. He can adjust.
The weirdness of this match is that you will rarely ever see a fight where almost all the most damaging blows and practically every sign of that damage goes one way, yet have it fairly be judged as thoroughly competitive. Now, I don't mean to suggest that Algieri only scored with shoe-shining punches and didn't land anything with authority. He landed plenty with authority, but I'd say no veteran eye would've worried much for Provodnikov's safety at any time and nearly any sane and compassionate person had to be worried about Algieri's, from the effect of the punches he took. How I could watch a match and see that the momentum rarely ever shifted in Algieri's favour but ended being as competitive as possible, I'd never have guessed.
Yet again, it was a close match that could've gone Provodnikov's way, that I scored his way, but that he lost. I did score, narrowly, both this match and the Herrera match for Provodnikov, but neither was a robbery, I don't believe. Just surprising. Congratulations to Chris Algieri for keeping a cool head under fire that I seriously doubt he's seen before and surviving as bad a first round as any guy in a winning effort is likely to suffer and just being beautifully talented at something to take a step up like this and have the late blooming career he's had. This puts him on the map and attaches a major world title to his name. He's in history now. And to Ruslan, the guy must have had surgery to remove his whining bone before we ever met him. He never complains about anything. He just basically says it's not a good style for him and whatever. He's the most secure, mature guy I may have ever seen, if the translator's gave it to me straight!
To sum up: HBO, don't let either of these fellows go anywhere.
Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing
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