Ruslan Provodnikov and Chris Algieri, who face off on June 14 at Barclays Center in the buzz center of the universe, Brooklyn, took part on a Wednesday conference call to hype the scrap.
Provo aka "The Siberian Rocky," will defend his WBO 140 pound crown, which he took from Mike Alvarado last year. He owns 23-2 (16 KOs) mark, and is trained by Freddie Roach, who joined him on the call. Manager Vadim Kornilov also took part, as did promoter ArthurPelullo.
Roach was asked about a Pacquiao-Provodnikov fight, and said he would have to let it happen, and it could happen, because Manny is running out of foes. Would he watch at home or be in Manny's corner? He sort of ducked that, but said Manny is his No. 1 guy.
If all goes to plan, Roach said that a KO will likely come, but they will seek to win one round at a time.
Algieri (19-0 with 8 KOs) will come to Brooklyn from nearby Huntington, Long Island. He has plans to enter medical school but wants to climb the boxing rungs higher first. His promoter Joe DeGuardia and trainer Tim Lane were on the call.
Provo, in Russian, said he is happy to be fighting in NY, and is psyched to be the first Russian to fight at Barclays. Roach said that camp has been stellar and he said Algieri is a good boxer. They will get to NY on Saturday night to finish prep.
Provo was asked if he has to win in exciting fashion, so he won't continue to get ducked. The boxer said he knows it's a big responsibility to defend the crown and he doesn't want to go too crazy, because he wants his longterm health to be solid. But he does want to give the people a good show, he said.
The boxer was asked about not getting a "big" fight and said Algieri is "great," and he knows "my time will come." He said he isn't concerned about rust, being that he last fought in October 2013.
I asked about the nickname, "The Siberian Rocky." The line broke up and I couldn't hear the answer.
Roach said this being a full camp with Provo means the boxer is in top form. Last time, Roach had to work with Miguel Cotto and couldn't give Provo full attention. Roach said helper Marvin Samodio is an ace, and stays calm in the corner, and "is the best assistant I've ever had." Samodio will be beside Roach on fight night.
Freddie said that Algieri is a "solid boxer" but could wilt under the Ruslan pressure.
Pelullo said Algieri isn't being overlooked, and noted that Ruslan wasn't seen as a threat coming in to his fight with Tim Bradley. He came back to this point again, and promised that Algieri will provide a tough fight. The promoter said he is hoping to build Ruslan as an East Coast attraction, and could well bring him back here.
Algieri gave an intro remark. He is excited for the opportunity and said his camp, in Las Vegas, is going great. He was asked if he was offended by not being seen as a big time guy, and he said no, he's working toward getting to that spot.
The Long Islander says he will try and box his way to the win but knows he will need to rumble some, probably. He said his last foe, Emanuel Taylor, has some similarities to Ruslan, as did a previous foe, Jose Peralta Alejo, who had nasty pop.
The ex kickboxer said the punching is pretty similar, but the pace in boxing is tougher, and conditioning needs to be better in the sweet science. He said Long Island isn't a great place to train as a pro boxer, because great sparring is tough to get close to home, and the region is expensive. "There's great gyms all over the place," he said, referring to Las Vegas, where he works out at an Xtreme Couture Gym, with Lane.
He said he has had "great sparring" during camp. He says his mental strength and focus is a plus for him, and when asked if he had fear fighting a tough guy. He said he feels some fear in the leadup but is fully confident on fight night.
He also said he envisioned his first world title fight being at Madison Square Garden, but is fully embracing Barclays. Yes, he might have liked to fight at the Nassau (Long Island) Coliseum, but he thinks his fans are more psyched to go to Barclays, which is perhaps the top venue in the US.
And does he need to outbox Ruslan to win? Yes, he said, he isn't looking to win a brawl. He thinks Ruslan isn't a mere brawler, that what he does takes skill...but he wants to win, while being the "master boxer."
The LI boxer said his coaches have studied Ruslan tapes and looked for holes. He has watched some, he said, but more so likes to concentrate on what he does. "I'm a fight fan," he said, and noted boxing is about rhythm, and that will be different on every fight night.
He recalls working as a lab tech, and there being no shortage of folks telling him not to box, people from the science community. Not so much now, that he's making inroads.
June 14 is fight night, for the record.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV