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Ruslan Provodnikov vs. John Molina on June 11

Demetrius Andrade John Molina

By Allan Fox: #2 WBO, #3 WBA light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs) will be back inside the ring this Saturday night against #8 WBO John Molina Jr. (28-6, 23 KOs) on Showtime at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino, in Verona, New York, USA.

This would have been a good fight several years ago when Molina was still fighting at a high level, but he’s 33 now and his career has downhill lately with him losing three out of his last four fights in the last two years since 2014.

Molina’s losses have come against good fighters in Lucas Matthysse, Humberto Soto and Adrien Broner. However, the way that Molina lost to Broner and Soto by looking as if he didn’t want to fight hard, I don’t know if he’s got anything left in the tank in this point in his 10-year pro career.

Molina looked mentally shot against Broner and Soto. Molina did win his last fight in beating journeyman Jorge Romero (24-10, 21 KOs) in November of 2015. However, Romero came into the fight Molina having lost his last five fights, so that kind of shows how meaningless the victory was for Molina. He still is the same fighter that lost three out of his last four fights until proven otherwise.

Provodnikov could have fought for a world title against WBO light welterweight champion Terence Crawford, but instead he chose to fight Molina. If Showtime hadn’t taken interest in televising the Provodnikov-Molina fight, then it’s highly possible that Provodnikov would have wound up facing Crawford. If Molina gives another non effort like the ones he showed against Broner and Soto, I can’t see him being used for too many more televised fights if any. Molina has to show some effort like he did in the Matthysse fight.

Provodnikov took a beating in a loss to Matthysse last year in April in losing a 12 round majority decision. Provodnikov looked like a punching bag until the last four rounds of the fight, when he started to rally. However, Provodnikov had given so many rounds by that point that he had dug himself a hole and would have needed to score knockdowns if not a knockout to get a victory.

The Provodnikov-Molina fight will be televised on Showtime at 9:00 p.m ET/6PM PT start time.

If Provodnikov had taken the Crawford fight, he probably would have lost badly. At least by facing Molina, Provodnikov was able to get an opponent that he has an excellent chance of beating. However, once Provodnikov wins this fight, he’ll still be stuck with the tough prospects of having to face the winner of the Crawford vs. Viktor Postol fight. The only way I can see Provodnikov not taking on the winner is if Showtime chooses to televise another of his fights against a contender rather than a champion. A rematch against Tim Bradley would be a good match-up, but Bradley fights on HBO.

Former WBO junior middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (22-0, 15 KOs) will be fighting #10 WBC Willie Nelson (25-2-1, 15 KOs) in a WBC 154lb title eliminator bout. This could prove to be a tough match for Andrade if only for the fact that he’s been fighting so rarely since 2013.

The 6’1” Andrade is usually the taller fighter in his bouts, but he won’t be against the 6’3” Nelson, who will have a two inch height advantage. Nelson also will be nearly equal in punching power. This could be a really difficult fight for the southpaw Andrade, and I won’t be surprised if he winds up losing.

#3 WBO Andrade was recently stripped of his WBO title for failing to defend it for a year. Andrade captured the title in November 2013 in beating Vanes Martirosyan. Andrade then defended the title seven months later in a mismatch against then No.1 WBO Brian Rose in June 2014. However, after that win, Andrade didn’t defend the belt and wound up getting stripped of his title by the World Boxing Organization in July of last year. Andrade recently defeated Dario Fabian Pucheta by a 2nd round knockout last October.

I don’t know if you can call that a recent fight. Andrade has been out of the ring for eight months this time. For some reason, Andrade is having a hard staying active. That’s not a good thing if he wants to keep sharp and if he wants to be able to hold onto titles. If Andrade going to be fighting rarely, it’s going to make it tough for him to do get many meaningful fights and make a name for himself.

Unbeaten #1 WBC Dejan Zlaticanin (21-0, 14 KOs) will be facing #5 WBC Franklin Mamani (21-2-1, 12 KOs) for the interim WBC lightweight title. The 29-year-old Mamani is a replacement opponent. Zlaticanin, 32, was supposed to be fighting #2 WBC Emiliano Marsili, but he pulled out of the fight with an injury and Mamani stepped into his spot.

Zlaticanin has put together some impressive wins recently in defeating Ivan Redkach, Ricky Burns and Petr Petrov. Zlaticanin looks very hard to beat at this point, and I cannot see Mamani keeping him winning this fight and moving towards bigger and better things.

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