When the matchup between Mike Alvarado and Ruslan Provodnikov first reached my ears there was only one word that hopped into my head, and I’m sure to every boxing fan’s head out there. War! I think of all of Top Rank’s 140-147 fighters. Rios, Pacquiao, Marquez, Bradley, and Alvarado, and I think to myself that not only is every single one of these guys matched up against each other an amazing fight, but each one of them has made HBO very happy over the last year mainly because of their thrilling fights that have drawn millions of viewers. Add Ruslan Provodnikov to the mix and we have six exciting fighter’s that all have the ability to make a Fight of the Year caliber fight. So with Marquez vs Bradley and Pacquiao vs Rios coming up, it’s only logical that Alvarado-Provodnikov is the final fight to be made in Top Rank’s unofficial tournament. So what’s the hold up? Well, what else would be. Money. Mike Alvarado took to twitter to announce his only concern with making a Provodnikov fight. The message can be summed up simply: “I respect Top Rank and Bob Arum. They have been great to me. But I want to get paid championship money.”
Both Pacquiao-Marquez IV and Rios-Alvarado I won the 2012 Fight of the Year award depending on which media outlet you follow. If one of them was the winner, the other was definitely the runner up. In 2013, Bradley-Provodnikov is the leading candidate for the 2013 Fight of the Year, and Rios-Alvarado II is right behind them. Alvarado’s last two fights have been against Rios, and they have been wars. A fight with Provodnikov is expected to be another one. So Alvarado is holding out all that he can before signing a match to face Ruslan Provodnikov on October 19th in Alvarado’s hometown of Denver. The question, is he right for wanting more money or should he just do what some fans will say, shut up and fight?
If you ask this writer, I say pay the man. Alvarado’s camp obviously knows the paydays that every single fighter has gotten over the last year. ESPN reports the purses of almost every major boxing event. They know what Tim Bradley has made, what Brandon Rios has made, what Ruslan Provodnikov has made, and what Marquez and Pacquiao have made. Obviously Alvarado isn’t asking for Marquez or Pacquiao type money for a fight against Ruslan Provodnikov. At least I would hope he’s not. But he is probably asking for Bradley or Rios type money. And he should get it.
When Bradley vs Provodnikov was first made it wasn’t an exciting fight to the public. In fact, the fight only had 800k people watching it at the time it started which is a low number for HBO. When the fight started getting exciting with back and forth action everyone on every social media network was going crazy, and by the end of the thrilling match, the viewers had nearly doubled to 1.4 million. Bradley made 1.75 million for the fight.
Rios-Alvarado II generated 1.2 million viewers, with purses of Rios getting 1.2 million and Alvarado getting 600k. Rios got the bulk because of his TKO win over Alvarado in the first fight in October of 2012 and rightfully so. Alvarado was able to avenge his first loss five months later by defeating Rios via Unanimous decision in March. With the victory Top Rank made it perfectly clear that they would wait on making Rios-Alvarado III, and both would take some other fights before finishing their trilogy. Alvarado then seemed to be the front-runner to land Pacquiao. Unfortunately his big payday against Manny Pacquiao was ruined because of an injury that could have affected his training camp against Pacquiao. There was no way Arum was going to take the risk of having to cancel a Pacquiao fight should Alvarado’s hand act up. So he went with Rios. And with Marquez-Bradley itching to fight each other and eventually signing, Alvarado was left with someone who built many fans in his matchup with Timothy Bradley in March, Ruslan Provodnikov.
Alvarado seems like he’s ready to sign the fight, his only problem, is the payday. I don’t know exactly what Alvarado is asking for the fight against Provodnikov but being that it is a fight that many boxing fans are hoping gets done, and that everyone expects it to be a Fight of the Year type fight, I would think Alvarado is asking for an amount somewhere around what Bradley got for fighting him. If I’m right, then he deserves that type of money. An Alvarado-Provodnikov fight is not only a fight of the year candidate, but it will be much more anticipated and talked about than the Bradley-Provodnikov fight. People love watching Alvarado fight and Provodnikov is going to give him hell. He wants to be paid for it. Considering he missed out on a huge payday against Pacquiao, asking for Tim Bradley type money isn’t totally an out of the ballpark number. I’m a firm believer of take what you are offered and win so that you can get more the next fight. But at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with holding out for money that is deserved especially when you enter the ring with someone as dangerous as Provodnikov who could potentially derail your career.
Do I believe it will happen? Yes. Top Rank pays their fighter’s well. I’m sure the negotiation tactics are being played on both sides. But come October 19th I believe we will see Alvarado and Provodnikov squaring off in the ring, and I believe that it will be another Fight of the Year candidate for Top Rank. Arum and Alvarado are expected to meet Monday.