Ruslan Provodnikov and Manny Pacquiao could be set for a mega-bucks fight in the near future after the Russian admitted that it would be almost stupid of him to refuse.
The 30-year-old welterweight, who has been out of action for the past eight months, will finally have the opportunity to defend his WBO junior title that he won against Mike Alvarado last October.
He will face Chris Algieri on June 14 in Brooklyn, New York, despite originally being in the running to face either Pacquiao or Juan Manuel Marquez before they went with different opponents.
But now, the possibility of the the Pacman facing Provodnikov again seems likely despite the two being under the same trainer, Freddie Roach, after the Filipino fighter told him he should take the fight if it comes his way.
"When I previously said no I meant it. But Manny said that if I am offered this fight for that type of money then I should take it. I thought about it and he is right. If I can take a fight like that which can help my family then I should take it," Provodnikov told BoxingScene.
It would certainly provide him with a handsome pay-day if the fight was to happen, win or lose, but it is something Roach has stated he wouldn't want to see - but something that comes part in parcel with boxing.
“I put myself in Ruslan’s shoes: If he’s offered ten million dollars to fight Manny Pacquiao, can you really say no?” asked Roach.
“It could set him for the rest of his life and his family would be financially secure. It’s something fighters have to worry about.
“I wouldn’t be mad at him if he accepted the fight.”
Provodnikov had served as Pacquiao’s sparring partner prior to his 2011 bout with Timothy Bradley, which the Filipino lost controversially on points - something the Russian knows about all too well after suffering the same fate against Bradley last year.
The two spent a few months in the Philippines together often engaging in brutal sessions. The pair will know each others styles and weaknesses, which could make for a very intriguing bout that could really go either way.
Provodnikov has unbelievable power and can walk through most punches that are thown at him. While Pacquiao's speed, intelligence and experience in the ring is enough to keep his opponent guessing and on the back foot.
The Russian brawler has previously admitted that he was disappointed not to get a bigger fight after his career-defining win against Alvarado, with a bigger pay-day, but he won't underestimate his American opponent Algieri when they face off in June.
He said: "We were a little disappointed but now the fight is set. We are happy with the opponent and we can't wait to get back in the ring.
"To be honest though, I remember when I was in his spot and wanted to get my title. If this kid is anything like me, this could be a more difficult fight than any fight I have had.
"I think that everything happens for a reason. I didn't waste the time out of the ring. I did some things for good causes and I believe the break from the ring helped me."
Algieri was last in the ring in March when he won by unanimous decision against Emmanuel Taylor. The 30-year-old remains undefeated and has won eight of his 19 fights by way of knock-out, so Provodnikov may be right to be wary of the American.
But a win for the Russian heavy-hitter could propel his chances of a fight against his friend and rival, Pacquiao. Other than Floyd Mayweather, I would think Provodnikov would be the next opponent boxing fans would most want to see face the Pacman.
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