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Five keys for Mike Alvarado

Fighting in front of his local fans Saturday night, Mike Alvarado is facing one of the biggest challenges of his career, maybe even more difficult than his two legendary battles with Brandon Rios.

Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs), a native of Denver, will be defending his junior welterweight title for the first time against Russia's Ruslan Provodnikov at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo.

After recording a victory in his March rematch against Rios, a battle that is a candidate for fight of the year, Alvarado faces a new challenge against Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs), a tough and aggressive opponent who has become one of the most exciting fighters in boxing.

Here are five keys to victory for Alvarado against Provodnikov:

Think before you act

Jab-a-dope

If you build it ...

No risk, big gain

No distractions