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Weights: Provodnikov 146.5, Rodriguez 146.5

By Jim Dower: Former WBO light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (24-4, 17 KOs) successfully weighed in on Friday in coming in at 146.5lbs for his scheduled 10 round fight on Saturday night on November 7th against the 23-year-old Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez (14-0, 11 KOs) at the Salle des Étoiles, Monte Carlo. Rodriguez weighed in at 146.5lbs as well.

Provodnikov, 31, is trying to rebuild his career with the help of new trainer Joel Diaz. Provodnikov has lost 3 out of his last 5 fights, and his career is on the verge of collapse.

After his recent loss to Lucas Matthysse last April, it was clear that Provodnikov needed to make a change in his training team. For this reason, he replaced trainer Freddie Roach with Diaz, the former trainer for WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley. Diaz believes that Provodnikov will be a world champion by next year.

Whether that’ll in fact come true or not remains to be seen. Provodnikov certainly has a chance at winning one of the 140lb titles if he targets new IBF light welterweight champion Eduard Troyanovsky, who captured the IBF 140lb title last Wednesday night in beating Cesar Cuenca. Provodnikov’s chances of beating the other champions – Adrien Broner, Viktor Postol and Terence Crawford – would seem to be unlikely.

“I will be world champion again,” Provodnikov said.

“I told him that if you listen to me and follow my guidance, I promise you I’ll make you a world champion next year,” Diaz said to Fighthub about his discussion with Provodnikov when he first spoke with him. “Right now, I just need for him to get a couple of confidence builder fights. At first, they were talking about Amir Khan, which I didn’t agree. Ruslan has had tough fights, so what he needs right now is a little break. He needs one or maybe two fights to build up his confidence, and then let’s put to work what I’ve been integrating in him, and then after that give me whoever you want. Give me anybody. I guarantee you that once he listens to my voice and commands, and he listens to me and does what I tell him and what I expect in the ring, with that kind of power that he’s got, believe me, he can do a lot of damage,” Diaz said.

I think it’s going to be tough for Provodnikov to win a world title in 2016 unless he can get to the 35-year-old Troyanovsky before someone else gets to him first. I can’t see Provodnikov beating Crawford, Broner or Postol. That’s not a knock on Provodnikov. It just means that what I’ve seen from him in the past in his fights, he just doesn’t match-up well against those guys. But of course if Diaz really has improved him like he says he has, then it’s possible that he might be able to beat Crawford, Postol or Broner. He would likely have an easy time getting a crack at Crawford because Provodnikov’s promoter works with Top Rank, and the fight would likely be easily made.

Provodnikov is ranked #4 WBC, #4 WBO and #6 WBA. With his ranking, he should have no problems getting a world title shot by 2016 once Diaz gives him the green light to take on a tough opponent.

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