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19 NOVEMBER 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Marc Livitz
 

Provodnikov And Matthysse Talk of Epic Showdown




By Marc Livitz: On occasion, the boxing faithful who have always kept the sport alive and punching really get a treat in return. Although any fighter is taking a considerable risk each time the gloves are fastened, there are still those who take the game in a literal sense and use a casual pace to wait for chances to present themselves. The opposite side of that coin would be those who throw caution to the wolves and hit hard as well as frequently enough to leave a footprint. "The Siberian Rocky" Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas "La Maquina" Matthysse are such combatants and their upcoming bout on Saturday, April 18 at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York (HBO, 9:45 ET/PT) is one to savor with anticipation as it finds its place on the boxing calendar.

 

Both Provodnikov (24-3, 17 KO’s, Russia) and Matthysse (36-3, 34 KO’s, Argentina) have the same amount of defeats on their respective records. In the majority of the six instances, the losses came to the two by way of being outboxed in addition to outfoxed. Most of their opponents knew better than to try to exchange leather with either on of them. Although they have each held title belts from various sanctioning bodies at one time or another, now is the time to determine the last man standing, even if it comes by way of the last one swinging.

 

Finally, the winner of the junior welterweight, non title bout could find himself right back on the doorstep of a championship contest. Action is sure to follow, so along comes a bout where fighters may have to change shopworn gloves in the same fashion that a race car driver switches out tires. "This is a very exciting matchup", said "The Siberian Rocky" Provodnikov during an international media call Monday afternoon. "For me, it’s just as exciting as it is for the people who are watching."

 

One individual who seemed unable to conceal his excitement for his fighter in Matthysse as well as the contest next month was Golden Boy Promotions CEO and former multi division champion, Oscar De La Hoya. The legend from East Los Angeles commented, "This fight needs no promotion, of course. We know that fighters from Argentina are smart fighters who come to give the fans a spectacular show. You’re guaranteed fireworks in a fight like this one. These are the fights that the fans deserve and I’ve been an advocate of putting on the best fight for the fans. I’m not completely sure, but it could be a candidate for fight of the year.”

 

Lucas Matthysse is not the most talkative boxer around and his tactful style of communication often translates into a brutal style of fighting within the ring. "I am excited to be fighting someone of this caliber", said the man from Buenos Aires. "A lot of people, especially in Argentina are looking forward to this fight.”

 

Without any confusion, each knockout artist respects the other, yet they pulled no proverbial punches in regard to the chance to win inside of the scheduled twelve rounds next month in upstate New York.

 

Ruslan Provodnikov commented, "It’s not for me to judge. I never said I was better than him, but I feel that I can beat anyone. I know his team is saying that he’s better than me and that he’ll knock me out, but I don’t do the talking."

 

The heavy hitter from Beryozovo, Russia was almost prophetic when he added, "There’s a Russian saying which states, “don’t talk until you’ve won." I don’t take anyone lightly. I know I’ll be walking into a ring with someone that will fight me and that’s a lot different from someone who won’t.”

 

In a similar fashion, Matthysse was just as avoidant of talk of a knockout and was quick to not get himself into a game of backtracking when he said, "I didn’t say I would knock him out. I’m ready for a tough fight. If the opportunity presents itself for one, then I’ll go for it. We’re different styles. The object, of course is not to get hit. I’ll be ready for it.” Both Lucas and Ruslan have been participants in separate bouts that were voted as "Fight of the Year" in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

 

Provodnikov’s March 2013 bout with Tim Bradley, Jr. may have ended in a unanimous decision loss for him, but it elevated the stock of both fighters. Ruslan came within reaching sight of knocking out the then unbeaten Bradley, just as Lucas’s memorable throwdown with John Molina, Jr. last April involved multiple knockdowns of both boxers before it ended in the eleventh round in the Argentine’s favor via TKO.

 

"John Molina came to fight and that allowed me to fight the way I did", said Lucas. "If Ruslan comes forward as we’re all expecting, then there’s a chance have another fight of the year. It’s all in the preparation and I’ll be ready."

 

Absent from Provodnikov’s corner that night in Verona will be his trainer, Hall of Fame inductee Freddie Roach, who is of course heavily engrained in the training efforts of his prized pupil, Manny Pacquiao. Such matters are not small enough to sweat, insisted "The Siberian Rocky" as he commented, "Everything is okay and this isn’t the first time this has happened. It’s not a big deal at all. His right hand man, Marvin Somodio will be in my corner.”

 

Roach was quick to echo his fighter’s sentiments. "I’ll be helping Manny get ready", said Freddie. "I’ve been helping Ruslan everyday in the gym and he’ll still fight his fight."

 

"He’s a little stronger and a better puncher. Matthysse is a dangerous fighter, too. He has tremendous power in both hands. So far, we’ve had a great training camp. I saw Ruslan learn how to fight Manny Pacquiao in sparring on his own, so I know he’ll be ready. This is always what we need in boxing, where the best fight the best.”

 

Provodnikov was quick to agree. Said Ruslan, "The titles and the money aren’t number one to me. It’s the quality of fights and the ones that people will remember. This will be one to remember.” Will there be a knockout in Verona? He was somewhat coy in his reply. "Either I’ll take him or he’ll take me", he said. "I’ll promise all the fans that this will be the fight that they have all been waiting for."

 

Lucas Matthysse was not so sure about the final outcome on April 18th, yet he was sure of one thought as he closed by saying, "I’m not going to get dropped by Ruslan."

 

 

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March 30 2015




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