IBR on The Cruelest Sport


Forgive Ruslan Provodnikov for his clichés. Because he speaks through an interpreter, his words may lose a richer meaning in translation. Or he may deal in clichés because they are easy to pick up, especially in a sport where fists are the primary tools of discourse. Besides, in the right context, those commonplace phrases are perfectly accurate. “I knew what I had to do was break him,” Provodnikov told Max Kellerman in the afterglow of his victory over Mike Alvarado last night. A little trite, perhaps, but over ten grueling rounds at the 1stBank Center in Denver, Ruslan Provodnikov indeed broke Mike Alvarado, who did not answer the bell for the eleventh.

Read With Your Shield Or On Your Shield: Ruslan Provodnikov TKO10 Mike Alvarado on The Cruelest Sport.


IBR on The Cruelest Sport


While the acrimony between boxing’s two biggest promotional companies, Top Rank and Golden Boy Promotions, is not without its casualties, it has resulted in some compelling fights. Consider Top Rank’s junior welterweight and welterweight stable, where Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley, Mike Alvarado, Brandon Rios and Ruslan Provodnikov (promoted by Artie Pellulo, and therefore not the enemy) are in the second phase of what looks like an unofficial round robin. Tomorrow night, Alvarado and Provodnikov will try and add their names to the winner’s bracket when they meet in a junior welterweight fight from the 1stBank Center in Denver, Colorado.

Read Hair Trigger: Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov Preview on The Cruelest Sport.

IBR on The Cruelest Sport


“You are fuckin’ something, man!”

His arms draped across the fighter’s shoulders, looking reverently at, and beyond, the disfigured face, referee Steve Smoger offered this raw encomium. He did not address it to the victor, however—who was milling around the ring, lost in celebratory whoops and embraces—but to the loser. Nestled amongst his supporters, Zab Judah listened to Smoger with the pained smile of a man accepting consolation, the smile of a man who recognizes that, however flattering the words, they are a confirmation of failure.

Read Storm Rider: Danny Garcia W12 Zab Judah on The Cruelest Sport.