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Ruslan Provodnikov didn’t have his best night on June 14, against Chris Algieri. He was the Siberian Rocky in round one, when he sent the Long Islander to the mat twice, and looked to be on his way to a quickie defense of his WBO 140 pound crown. But Algieri hung in there, adapted, and went back to the Island with a brand new belt.

Ruslan didn’t agree with the decision, to put it mildly, and protested that he put the hurt on the “winner,” a guy who seemed to want to move more than engage.

That issue is in the rear view mirror now, even though the shadow of the loss still pops up now and again. Ruslan’s next is now up for discussion, and I checked in with manager Vadim Kornilov, the youthful but all-business dealmaker for the Siberian banger. What’s next for Rocky?

“The plan is to fight on HBO in November,” Kornilov told me. “We are looking for an opponent. But I am very interested in matching Ruslan with Brandon Rios.”

Makes good sense to me, stylistically and politically. We shall see what HBO thinks…

Rios first has some business to attend to on Aug. 2; the 31-2 hitter meets 23-1 Diego Chaves in Vegas on Aug. 2. That bout will be shown on HBO.

Rios needs a win, I’d say. He’s lost back to back bouts, to Mike Alvarado and Manny Pacquiao, and a three fight slide would be quite depressing. The Argentine Chaves impressed in a losing effort (KO10) to Keith Thurman last July, and rebounded with a TKO3 win over 31-13 Juan Godoy in February, on his home turf. Rios is the favorite, but not overwhelmingly so…….so I see clear-ish sailing if all the powers that be want to make Provodnikov-Rios. But this is boxing, so we shall have to keep tabs on all the players, right? You guys like this potential scrap?


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