Ruslan Provodnikov vs. John Molina results
(Photo credit Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME) By Dan Ambrose: Underdog John Molina Jr. (28-6, 23 KOs) pulled off a huge upset on Saturday night in defeating former WBO light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision on Showtime Boxing from the Turning Stone Resort in Verona, New York. The final judges’ scores were 116-112, 117-111, and 115-113. Boxing News 24 had the fight scored 117-111 for Molina.
The fight wasn’t as interesting as some of the other matches that Molina and Provodnikov have been involved in before in the past. However, they are both older now and have had time to realize that their past fighting styles don’t work much of the time.
Molina came into the fight with three defeats in his last four fights. Provodnikov had lost two defeats in his last four fights. Is it any wonder that the two fighters would try to box rather than slug? They had to do something different because their normal fighting styles are not good enough to compete with the best in the 140lb division.
The 5’10 ½” Molina needed little more than his powerful jab and his long reach to defeat the shorter 5’6 Provodnikov in this fight. The odds-makers obviously didn’t take into account Molina’s 4 ½ inch height and his 5 inch reach advantage when they make their predictions in who would be the betting favorite. Molina looked like a middleweight in the ring against a light welterweight, and there was no way that little Provodnikov was going to beat a middleweight. As good as Provodnikov is, he’s not good enough to beat a rehydrated middleweight.
Molina, 33, rehydrated 20 pounds overnight after the weigh-in on Friday and came into the fight as a middleweight. The size advantage for Molina basically won the fight for him because he was both taller and heavier than the smaller Provodnikov. Provodnikov blew it by not asking for a rehydration clause in the contract to limit the amount of weight Molina could gain back. When you’ve got a fighter that balloons up in weight three divisions like Molina did tonight in coming in at 160lbs, it puts the smaller guys like Provodnikov at a disadvantage because he doesn’t rehydrate a lot. Provodnikov is one of those guys that fights right at his weight division because he doesn’t put weight on in between fights.
Provodnikov started out strong in the early part of the fight. However, Molina took over the fight by the 6th round, as he was able to use his jab and size to dominate the smaller Provodnikov. The boxing fans expected this to be a war for 12 rounds. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a tactical battle by both fighters, but especially by Molina. He chose to flip the script by using his jab to control Provodnikov. Molina didn’t move very much in the fight, because he really didn’t need to. His jab was more than enough for him to control the tiny Provodnikov and win rounds. Some rounds were close, but most of them were clear Molina rounds. His jabbing was the telling factor.
In the 12th round, Molina came out on fire in nailing Provodnikov over and over again with huge power shots to the head and body. Molina ended up throwing 110 punches. There was no way that Provodnikov could compete with the work rate like that because he was taking too many shots to get his own punches off.
Provodnikov connected on 293 of 705 punches for a connect percentage of 40. For his part, Molina landed an incredible 377 of 1092 punches for a connect percentage of 35%.
“It was a fight that we needed,” said Molina via ESPN.com. “Ruslan Provodnikov is a very notable name. He’s a tough, tough guy. He kept moving forward. People don’t realize I had my amateur career in the pros, and now it’s my time to step out and shine. I have a new trainer.”
I don’t think Molina is a better fighter than he was years ago. He just was smart enough to use his jab and his tremendous size advantage over Provodnikov to get the win. When you start with a huge four and a half height and five inch reach advantage, you’re going to have a lot of success just based on those factors. But when you add to that a huge weight advantage by rehydrating 20 pounds, then you’ve got the fight won on size alone. I don’t care how good Provodnikov has been in the past, there was no way he was going to beat a fighter Molina’s size last night.
The loss for Provodnikov is a potential huge blow for his career because he was being mentioned as an opponent for former four division world champion Adrien “The Problem” Broner if he had won the contest. The loss for Provodnikov could ruin his chances for that fight.
Molina kept his career alive with the victory. He came into the fight having lost three out of his last four fights. It would be amusing if it’s Molina that gets the fight against Broner now rather than Provodnikov. Molina lost to Broner by a lopsided 12 round decision last year in March.
The Provodnikov-Molina fight won’t be a fight that boxing fans will say should be a Fight of the Year candidate, because it wasn’t a really exciting fight compared to some of the others that have taken place this year. I’m sure Showtime didn’t have this kind of a match in mind when they signed Provodnikov to a contract recently. They obviously expected to see a barnburner from start to finish. It was strange see BOTH of these guys boxing on the outside. Molina chose to stay on the outside and jab, but even Provodnikov started to box late in the fight.
“Today, the decision was the right one,” Provodnikov said. “Molina won the fight. He was better tonight. Everything was scored the way it should have been.”
Molina hit Provodnikov late after the 7th round had ended. He did this because he had been hit just as the bell sounded by Provodnikov, and he instinctively fired back a shot of his own. You can’t blame Molina for doing that because Provodnikov had hit him hard with a right hand, and Molina had to do something to retaliate.
Molina did a great job of mixing up the power on his shots in the later round. He would hit Provodnikov with shots with moderate power, and then suddenly he would load up with hard right hands and left hooks. Molina’s body punching was impressive as well. He landed a lot of hard body shots that caused Provodnikov to stop his forward momentum at times.
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