Provodnikov battles Molina on 6/11 in Verona, New York
By Chris Williams: It looks like Top Rank promoter Bob Arum struck out in his attempts at getting former WBO light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs) to fight his guy WBO 140lb champion Terence Crawford for July.
Instead of Provodnikov taking that fight, he’ll be facing lightweight slugger John Molina (28-6, 23 KOs) on June 11 in a fight televised by Showtime Boxing from the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. This is a pretty evenly matched fight with two guys that are both struggling badly with their careers.
This is a much better match-up for the 32-year-old Provodnikov than putting him in with the likes of Crawford. That would have been a bad fight for Provodnikov because Crawford is a boxer/puncher. If Crawford started getting the worst of it, then he’ll start moving jabbing and holding like he did all night against Raymundo Beltran.
There’s no way that Provodnikov would have won a fight against Crawford. It would have been a likely boxing lesson for Provodnikov. At least in fighting Molina, Provodnikov has someone that will stay in the pocket and slug with him for as long as it lasts.
The 33-year-old Molina’s career appears to be in a little worst shape compared to Provodnikov’s right now, but not that much worse. Molina has lost three out of his last four fights since April of 2014. However, he’s been fighting quality guys at least and just not measuring up.
Molina lost to Lucas Matthysse, Humberto Soto and Adrien Broner. The negative out of all that is that Molina has been looking worse with each fight. Molina performed well in his loss to Matthysse in April 2014, but he’s really gone downhill in his subsequent defeat against Soto and Broner.
Provodnikov has lost two out of his last four fights. His defeat to Chris Algieri in 2014 was a controversial one with many boxing fans believing that he deserved the win. Provodnikov’s defeat to Matthysse last year in April was a close 12 round majority decision loss. It was nice that Provodnikov make it close, but it was bad that he took so much punishment in the fight.
“I have been waiting for a long time to get back in the ring and to give my fans another fight. The opportunity has finally come and I appreciate that SHOWTIME is looking at me as a future star on their network, and I will not let them down,” said Provodnikov.
It’s unclear where the winner of the Provodnikov-Molina fight goes. They could go after the likes of WBA champ Adrien Broner or look to fight WBC champion Viktor Postol. I am sure Bob Arum of Top Rank would love for the winner of the Provodnikov vs. Molina fight to face Crawford. Arum also promotes Postol, so he would obviously be happy to make that fight as well.
Provodnikov matches up better against Broner and the IBF champion Eduard Troyanovsky. There is probably more money in a fight against Broner. It’s just unclear whether Provodnikov could get a fight against him.
Provodnikov has recent wins over Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez and Jose Luis Castillo. A prime Molina is a little bit better than those guys. However, with the way that Molina looked in his losses to Broner and Humberto Soto, he doesn’t look as aggressive as he was when he fought Matthysse. I wonder if Molina lost something that the defeat to Matthysse that has negatively influenced his game.
I don’t think this fight is going to be as good it looks on paper. The Molina that I’ve seen in his recent fights probably won’t fight hard enough to get the victory against Provodnikov.
Molina isn’t a mobile fighter, so he’s going to need to be able to go to war with Provodnikov to have a chance of winning. Molina was reluctant to slug with Broner and Soto. Both fighters seemed to take all the fight out of Molina in the first couple of rounds. After two rounds against those guys, Molina looked like he was on the shutdown mode and just looking to survive rather than to win.
Provodnikov should win this fight by a knockout by the 6th round. I cannot see this contest lasting longer than six rounds. This is a good style match-up for Provodnikov.
It’s a good thing Provodnikov’s management didn’t put him in with Crawford because he needs to be put in fights that are winnable ones for him.
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