Chris Algieri will get a chance on June 14 to pull off a big upset against Ruslan Provodnikov at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York, with he and his team confident they can steal the show in the HBO Boxing After Dark main event, particularly with home field advantage.
Algieri (19-0, 8 KO) tells Newsday that he knows what to expect with Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KO), who holds the WBO junior welterweight title:
"I think with Ruslan, you know what you are going to get. He's going to come forward and throw bombs. That's what he does. I am expecting that. I think our styles match up perfectly. I think this fight is all about real estate, whoever can control where the fight is happening in the ring will have the advantage."
Promoter Joe DeGuardia of Star Boxing believes that the Nassau Coliseum will be a big advantage for his fighter:
"I think the Nassau Coliseum will be a big factor in this fight. Chris is going to pack the place with his fans and that fan support is going to be an integral part of the fight because he's going to be tested."
Provodnikov, 30, will be a big favorite going into this fight, and one might wonder if there's really any home field advantage that can make a difference here, considering the "Siberian Rocky" went to Mike Alvarado's home in Denver for his last fight and pretty much smoked him, with the crowd making absolutely no difference.
But if you're looking to totally discount the chances of the 30-year-old Algieri, just remember that we recently saw the (pretty much) undisputed ruler of the division escape with his title and perfect record in Puerto Rico, when Danny Garcia eked past huge underdog Mauricio Herrera. Upsets do happen, and as rugged and exciting as Provodnikov is, he is a fighter with some obvious flaws. That's not to say he shouldn't be considered the favorite, because he's earned that, but this may not be a foregone conclusion.
That said, Algieri is taking a rather huge step up in competition. While Herrera had been in with world class fighters before -- Provodnikov and Alvarado among them -- Algieri's best opponent has probably been Emmanuel Taylor, whom he beat pretty handily in February. DeGuardia acknowledges that this is a new level for his fighter:
"I'm proud of the way we moved Chris. ... We've given him tougher assignments each fight out and he's risen to the occasion. This is obviously a big step up. Provodnikov is probably one of the toughest kids out there but I think Chris has the tools to win the fight."
Does Algieri have a shot at the upset? Will a hometown crowd boost him on June 14?