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Provodnikov showed good power but terrible defense and boxing skills against Herrera

LatestBy Jason Kim: Previously unbeaten Russian light welterweight contender Ruslan Provodnikov (17-1, 11 KO’s) showed that he’s not ready for the big time when he lost a 12 round unanimous decision to Mauricio Herrera (16-1, 7 KO’s) on Friday night at the Cox Pavilion, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The final judges’ scores were 115-113, 116-112 and 116-112. Provodnikov displayed excellent punching power in the part of the fight but ran out of gas in the 2nd half, and got beat to the punch by the taller, weaker Herrera. The fight was a winnable one for Provodnikov, but he failed to do fundamental things like jab, move his head and keep his distance.

Provodnikov allowed Herrera to smother his power by coming in close, and didn’t do a good job of blocking punches. For a fighter with as much amateur experience as Provodnikov had going for him coming into the fight, he still looked like a totally raw fighter without a lot of skills. He does have power, but he’s not going to go far unless his trainer fixes his gaping flaws in his game.

Some people had compared Provodnikov to the great Kostya Tszyu before this fight, but Provodnikov showed little of the talent that Tszyu had in his prime. Provodnikov isn’t able to throw short powerful punches the way that Tszyu could, and is reliant on winding up and throwing big haymaker shots in order to get power on his punches. Provodnikov was getting some excellent power on his punches, but he was limited to only one punch at a time and in the 2nd half of the fight he tired out.

Provodnikov might be someone that could have a future in the division if he can fix his leaky defense and some of his other flaws, but he’s got a lot of work ahead of him. There’s a lot of other light welterweights that I would rate ahead of him right now.

Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse both have comparable power to Provodnikov, but they have the benefit of a much better jab that they like to throw, and both of them throw combinations and move their head to avoid punches. This was something that was obviously taught to them early on in their development. It’s unclear whether Provodnikov can make the needed changes to get up to their level.

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