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Ruslan Provodnikov likely to fight again

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By Eric Baldwin: Former WBO light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KOs) is reportedly deciding whether or not to return to the ring after having lost his last fight against John Molina by a 12 round unanimous decision last June. Provodnikov’s promoter Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions believes that he’ll continue his career, according to Dan Rafael.

Provodnikov’s latest defeat to Molina was a bad one because Provodnikov didn’t look nearly as motivated for that fight compared to some of his fights in the past. Provodnikov’s once promising career has gone downhill recently with him losing three out of his last five fights.

Provodnikov lost his WBO 140lb title to Chris Algieri in June 2014, and then took a lot of punishment in losing to Lucas Matthysse by a 12 round majority decision last year in April 2015. Provodnikov did rally in the second half of that fight to make it close, but he took a lot of punishment in the first six rounds.

“He said he hasn’t really determined what he wants to do yet but he gave me the impression that he didn’t want to go out with the way the last fight went,” Pelullo said to ESPN.com. “He was unhappy with the result of the fight with Molina and I am not sure he wants to leave boxing with a loss like that on his record. But he is thinking about what he wants to do. We’re not thinking about boxing before 2017.”

There are still some good fights out there for Provodnikov if he chooses to continue his career. I wouldn’t be surprised if Top Rank were interested in matching him against WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Terence Crawford in the near future. Provodnikov might be better off shooting for a title shot against one of the welterweight champions like Danny Garcia or Jessie Vargas. Those would be fights where he would have a stationary target more or less to land his big shots. Against Crawford, Provonikov would end up chasing him around the ring for 12 rounds, and that might not be the best match-up for him.

Provodnikov got a bad deal in his loss to Algieri two years ago. A lot of boxing fans felt that Provodnikov did enough to deserve the victory in that fight. Never the less, Provodnikov did lose to both Matthysse and Molina in clear defeats. Against Molina, Provodnikov didn’t look as motivated for the fight compared to in the past. It’s unclear if he’s lost his desire to fight or if that was just a fluke thing.

It probably would have been a good idea for Provodnikov to have taken more than one confidence builder type of fight after the Matthysse fight before matching him against Molina. The Matthysse was one of those grueling ones where Provodnikov suffered some bad cuts on his face. In hindsight, it probably would have been a good idea to have matched him carefully for two or three fights before putting him with a guy that was going to box him the way that Molina did.


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