In what is being anticipated by most as the highly favored sure bet for fight of the year, Argentinean KO puncher brawler Lucas Matthysse (36-3, 34KOs) and the relentless “Siberian Rocky” Ruslan Provodnikov (24-3, 17KOs) have both arrived on site in Verona, New York locked and loaded for their April 18, 2015 battle at the Turning Stone Resort Casino set to be telecast live as a split doubleheader on HBO Boxing After Dark starting at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT. Amongst those sure that the confrontation will be packed to the gills with enough action to more than warrant the award are none other than the combatants themselves with Ruslan Provodnikov leading the charge in highly explicit nuance free language: “I 100% percent believe that this fight will be the fight of the year. I always give everything I can in training camp and I'm very responsible,” Provodnikov proclaimed with his usually heady blend of hell-bent aggression and humble focused worker bee career ethic. “Walking into the ring with a fighter that I know will fight back will definitely show that what I can do as a boxer than going up against a fighter who will just run,” Provodnikov continued, not one to let sleeping dogs lie with regards to past career match making missteps and opportunities to show more ring complexity squandered.
In referencing match making, Provodnikov was the man with no chinks in his armor going into what should have been an easy win over the then unknown now famously known Chris Algieri (20-1, 8KOs) – thanks directly to Provodnikov. It would be Provodnikov’s inability to adjust in that fight to Algieri’s slippery defense that would give Provodnikov an extremely unexpected and damaging loss on which Algieri would hitch his star in the public eye. While less banged up physically in that loss to Algieri, career wise Provodnikov’s reputation was battered in the worst way. Unable to find Algieri in order to finish him after hurting him badly in the first round, it would seem that the monolithic mountain of a fighter to which Ruslan had been likened to in reality had some serious lode bearing holes. Worse than that, it could be conjectured that these “holes” of Ruslan’s exhibited against Algieri were directly indicative of Provodnikov’s having been revealed as a limited fighter ultimately unable to adjust to cunning ring generalship.
Considering all of this, it is no wonder that the idea of a “runner” as an opponent leaves a bad taste in the mouth of Provodnikov and his team as they rebuild him from this loss. While Provodnikov would find it prudent his future to prove that he can deal with gifted “runners” in the ring, for the here and now rebuilding himself as the biggest baddest heavy fisted action fighter against a like styled Matthysse is a very smart well suited move to reboot Provodnikov’s natural strengths and former street cred. It is only fitting that Provodnikov is chomping at the bit to create fireworks in the ring come Saturday.
Matthysse with his phenomenal KO percentage and granite fist pedigree also seems up for anything in the ring and eager to answer Ruslan’s prediction in pre fight banter as well as in the ring. “I have been training non-stop, way before the fight was officially announced, “ revealed an always game Matthysse. “I have been doing a lot of sparring to improve my speed and make sure I make as much contact with my opponent as possible…Ruslan is a great fighter, he comes prepared for a war, ” said Matthysse equally hungry for blood.
Nevertheless, Matthysse while certainly no stranger to blood lust in the ring might yet have a trick borrowed from a “sweeter” playbook with regard to frustrating Provodnikov and keeping him just off balance enough with something other than just iron fists. “My strategy against him will be to make sure to box and keep moving, that is why sparring has been really important in my training, “ said Matthysse.
With regard to Provodnikov’s training, it is well known that Freddie Roach, Provodnikov’s trainer, due to his training star client Manny Pacquiao (57-5-2 38KOs) for the “fight of the century” against Floyd Mayweather Jr. (47-0, 26KOs) on May 2nd will not be attending to Ruslan’s corner. Instead, Roach’s much entrusted assistant and second at his Wild Card Gym, Marvin Somodio has taken the job as head coach in Roach’ s absence. This would seem to be no deterrent to Provodnikov who feels more than comfortable in his preparation with both men for this battle. “I am excited and motivated for this fight, I will not disappoint my fans and it will be a real war! Everything is going great with my training and will be ready for a really war in the ring… I will be ready for whatever Matthysse does, “ concluded Provodnikov with gusto. As for Matthysse, carrying an almost identical sentiment in albeit an entirely different package, he too seemed eager and joyful about what he plans to deliver come Saturday: “Fans can expect one of the greatest fights in the division. I know I am ready to win this fight and fans should expect a victory, ” beamed Matthysse.
In an apt test of whom is the most macho, it would seem that neither man has to worry about the other running away from the fight in the center of the ring and the hearts and minds of the fans.
Written by Kylie Krabbe
Photo by Golden Boy Promotions
April 17th 2015