Even on social media it seems that only “die-hard” fans are anticipating, and perhaps appreciating just how much potential to entertain this fight has.
Screened on HBO in the States and on Boxnation in the UK as part of a televised split with Terence Crawford v Thomas Dulorme, it’s safe to say in my opinion that those who will be in attendance ringside at the Turning Stone in Verona, NY are to be in for the biggest treat. Yet somehow, especially here in Britain, it doesn’t seem that enough people are getting truly excited about it.
When the fight was announced, Matthysse’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya said;
“One punch knockout power. Lightning fast action. A likely world title shot to the winner.This bout has fight of the year written all over it.”
How can anybody who has watched these two all action fighters before NOT be interested and excited about this fight?
Perhaps with the “Fight Of The Century” only 17 days away in itself, events like this were always going to be overshadowed slightly in the build up to that? I think that’s a crying shame.
Ahead of the fight, regarding the expectations of war, Provodnikov has told Ring TV;
“I expect him to give me the fight I am looking for. It’s going to be a very exciting fight.”
He goes on to say re training camp and his build up;
“I have had a very good camp. I’m also motivated for this fight mentally and psychologically. Some of previous camps have been a lot tougher, not as positive. This has been good. I’m ready.”
Provodnikov is known for fights such as the January 2011 war with Mauricio Herrera in which many viewed him unlucky to drop a close SD and his undefeated record. Yet it was 2013 FOTY with Tim Bradley that really put him on the map and made people sit up and take notice of him as an explosive, all action fighter. In that fight, Tim Bradley showed the heart of a lion and was lucky not to be stopped in 12 rounds of all-out war, and once again, the Siberian emerged on the wrong end of a tight decision.
Flooring Mike Alvarado twice before forcing the American to retire, taking the WBO strap, was a career best performance for Ruslan, though to lose that title in just his first defence against the unheralded Chris Algieri was extremely unlucky. It’s actually one of the occasions Algieri impressed me with his “smarts” in a fight. Some will call it “getting on your bike and running” yet, either way, after taking Ruslan’s heavy punishment early, he did enough to win the fight. Again a SD loss for Provodnikov, which shows, that when he’s been beaten, each time it’s been EXTREMELY close.
In his last fight he returned to Russia and knocked out long faded former world champion Jose Luis Castillo in 5 one sided rounds. Don’t read to much into that however. Call it a confidence builder.
Matthysse, who has himself been involved in his fair share of wars, has promised to bring it this weekend, in his customary style, saying;
“I’m gonna do what I always do and that’s fight. That’s my style, what I always do.”
Lucas is remembered for two contentious decision losses himself, against Zab Judah in 2010 and Devon Alexander in 2011. Matthysse made both taste the canvas.
However his brave loss to Danny Garcia and his epic war with John Molina will be what he is BEST remembered for in my eyes. He unusually hit the floor twice himself against Molina, though got up to stop his man in the 11th round of action after two official knockdowns in his favour. He ended Molina’s career that night for me as the American has been completely out of sorts since.
His last fight was a forgettable blowout of an undefeated Mexican called Roberto Ortiz who had never boxed outside his home country, so like Provodnikov, don’t pay too much attention to their last outings.
For many this fight is a pick em. Of his opponent, Matthysse also said;
“He’s a strong, aggressive fighter but he’s very repetitive, lets his hands down.”
Is this a signal that he will use some of the boxing skill we have seen from him in the past, and try take advantage the smart way? Yes, he goes to war at times but Provodnikov could be called the more crude of the two, and definitely more hittable for me. With power like Ruslan’s detonating on his chin, Lucas could be in trouble. He has been down to considerably lighter hitters in Molina Jr and Garcia.
However, after the Bradley fight, Ruslan’s trainer Freddie Roach said he was considering pulling his fighter out of that contest due to the punishment he took and in all fairness to Tim Bradley, he’s not a puncher.
Matthysse HAS that concussive power, and if I was forced into a prediction for this fight, it would be Matthysse I went for, though that IS NOT a confident pick!
With so many fighters avoiding the best, the 122lb situation with Guillermo Rigondeaux a case in point, it’s refreshing us fans are being treated to a fight such as this. I for one will be tuning in, in the small hours as I always do for US broadcasts, though I have a feeling, this week, I’ll be a little bit more entertained and excited than usual.
Thanks for reading. Leave YOUR pick for this 50/50 in the comments