By Karl Freitag
The last tickets were sold on Friday at 9:15 p.m. for Saturday’s highly anticipated clash between local hero and WBA jr welterweight world champion “Mile High” Mike Alvarado and #1 contender Ruslan Provodnikov at the sold out 1STBANK Center. “You don’t have to sell this fight,” said Hall of Fame Promoter Bob Arum this week. “Everyone that knows anything about boxing knows that this fight will be a candidate for ‘Fight of the Year.'”
Both fighters are coming off nationally-televised Fight of the Year performances. Provodnikov went life and death with Tim Bradley in March, while Alvarado did the same with Brandon Rios two weeks later. In the past it wasn’t uncommon for a newly crowned world champion to get a big payday for an easy first defense in his hometown. But in this day and age, the big bucks are still there (Alvarado is reportedly making $1.3 million, Providnikov $600K), but not for “gimmee” fights.
“If you are watching fights on HBO, there are no more appearance fights,” said Arum. “The fights are competitive. The fights are hard fights. HBO pays the most money and they expect their subscribers to get the most value. It’s not about picking and choosing. We all know that some like picking an easy fight after a tough fight and you can still do that but HBO isn’t going to pay for it.”