Ruslan Provodnikov will finally be making his return to the ring after what will be an eight month stretch of inactivity. As was reported as the likely scenario a week ago, Provodnikov will take on Chris Algieri on June 14. The bout will be televised by HBO and will take place at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, Long Island.
On April 15th and 16th, Provodnikov will be holding a pair of press conferences to formally announce the matchup.
This is what we can safely call a squash match, or a "showcase fight". Provodnikov will clearly be the massive favorite here as he is coming off a stoppage win over Mike Alvarado and a razor-thin decision loss to Timothy Bradley in the 2013 Fight of the Year. He's on a roll, and this is only a way to keep him busy until another big matchup comes along.
There had been talk of him getting in the ring with Brandon Rios. It's possible they are going to allow Rios time to rest and maybe have an easy fight to build him back up after losing his last two. I wouldn't be shocked to see Rios in with Provodnikov in the fall.
Given how weak HBO's schedule has been this year, this is not a welcomed fight from a subscriber's point of view. I can understand a soft touch for Provodnikov, but unless we get an appealing undercard fight, is this really the quality HBO wants to present when they're in heavy competition with Showtime?