MANILA – Former world champion Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia believes the people behind Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao are working to keep the "Pacman" away from dangerous opponents – including him.
It was recently announced that Pacquiao will fight new WBO light-welterweight champion Chris Algieri, who upset Provodnikov when they fought last June. The Russian had been hoping to fight Pacquiao should he beat Algieri, but lost a close split decision.
"I have an immediate rematch clause on Algieri, and if we really wanted to, we can prevent the (Pacquiao-Algieri) fight from happening legally," Provodnikov told Boxing Scene. "But I think if the fans want to see the fight between Pacquiao and Algieri, then it should happen."
Provodnikov revealed that his team "offered Top Rank a very good deal for me to fight Manny," describing the deal as "a very fair preposition on options" and "a good financial deal."
"But we all know that even though the fans want to see Manny fight an opponent that can actually beat him, Manny's team wants to stay away from those type of opponents, and keep him in the safe zone," he said.
The only way for the situation to change is if fans demand it, says Provodnikov.
"I think the fans should influence these types of actions through pay-per-view numbers," he said. "They should demand and order only the pay-per-view fights that are actually exciting and possibly legendary."
Provodnikov had knocked down Algieri twice when they fought, but the New York-based boxer was able to recover each time and used his slick boxing to out-point the Russian the rest of the way.
Pacquiao has said that he will use Provodnikov's loss to Algieri as motivation for their November showdown in Macau.
"This is...an opportunity for me to avenge the defeat of my friend and former sparring partner, Ruslan Provodnikov," said Pacquiao.