Chris Algieri walked through some fire early against Ruslan Provodnikov but once he got used to the heat, gave a tremendous account of himself in the main event at Barclays Center on Saturday, which unfolded on HBO. After twelve rounds, most of which saw Provo following the mobile and athletic ex kickboxer, the judges turned in their cards: 117-109 (Provo), 114-112 (Algieri) and 114-112 (Algieri).
The joint held it's collective breathe and waited for Michael Buffer...when he said, "And new.." the joint exploded a bit.
Provo came in 23-2 with 16 KOs, while Algieri was 19-0 (8 KOs).
In the first, a left hook put down Algieri. The hook came while he threw his own. He took a knee soon after that, for another knockdown. His right eye was a bit swollen.
In the second, Algieri boxed smartly, moving to his left, and landed an uppercut which got Provos' attention.
In the third, left hooks to the body and a hard right scored for Algieri, as Provo had mixed luck cutting off the ring on him. Uppercuts also worked for the Long Islander, who ate some snappy rights and a couple hooks, including one sharp blow on his swollen eye.
In the fourth, Algieri used the ring to good effect. He mixed his movement up, going right, and also clinching a bit. Provo I don't think was cutting the ring off as well as trainer Freddie Roach might have liked. He was also loading up, dispensing with a serious jab mostly.
In the fifth, the Algieri jab took the round. His mobility kept him at arms length often enough to take the frame. A left hook at the bell landed flush on the Long Islander after he boxed the best for 2:59.
In the sixth, the eye looked bad to start off. An Algieri chant couldn't help the swelling. Left hooks were coming and the New Yorker didn't see them clearly. In the seventh, Algieri boxed super smart. He moved the whole time and upped his volume.
In the eighth, Algieri was the better ring general. He moved, jabbed, used his faster hands to keep Provo at bay…now, would the judges agree with my take? In the ninth, Algieri didn't land the showy punches the judges like, but he was the better technical boxer.
In the tenth, Algieri worked the ring with one good eye. He moved enough to keep his eye from getting glued shut, popped the jab, a sneaky-quick right, another impressive effort as Provo played catchup. In the 11th, with one eye, Algieri took the round with slick boxing. In the 12th, Algieri kept on being the better ring general. We'd go to the cards...
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Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV