Ruslan Provodnikov making a comeback in 2020

By Boxing News - 06/07/2020 - Comments

By Kenneth Friedman: The former WBO light welterweight champion Ruslan ‘The Russian Rocky’ Provodnikov will be coming out of retirement to resume his professional career. The hard-hitting brawler Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KOs) plans on returning to the ring in the fall of 2020, according to his manager Vadim Kornilov, who reported the news to Tass.

The 36-year-old Provodnikov retired four years ago after his loss to John Molina Jr. on June 11, 2016.  It was a competitive fight, but it looked like Provodnikov didn’t have the same fire in him that he’d shown in his matches against the likes of Tim Bradley and Mike Alvarado.

If Provodnikov can win a handful of fights, he could get a nice against one of the champions at 140 or 147. Marcos Maidana is talking about returning to the ring. Provodnikov vs. Maidana would be an absolute classic war.

Provodnikov does well against punchers, and it would be fun to see him go up against a guy that would stand right in front of him all night.

Provodnikov to fight at the end of the year

“We had a proposal [to resume boxing career], and this proposal is considered as a potential fight at the end of the year,” Kornilov said to Tass. “However, we are not ready yet to give details about it.”

The motivation didn’t look like it was there for Provodnikov. As a result, Molina Jr capitalized on it by winning a dull 12 round decision that he probably wouldn’t have won had Provodnikov been inspired.

The 5’6″ Provodnikov captured the WBO 140-pound title in stopping champion Mike Alvarado (40-5, 28 KOs) in the 10th round on October 19, 2013. Unfortunately for Provodnikov, he lost his WBO 140-lb belt in his first defense against Chris Algieri in a 12 split decision defeat on June 14, 2014, in Brooklyn, New York.

It looked like it was going to be an easy win for Provodnikov early on, as he dropped the light-hitting Algieri twice in round one, and had the New Yorker hurt. However, Provodnikov gassed out, and Algieri came on to win a lot of close rounds in the second half of the contest to get the victory.

After retiring from boxing, Provodniov has worked as a politician in Siberia in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area. It’s unclear if Provodnikov is returning to boxing for the need of money or if he believes he’s still capable of winning world titles.

Returning to 140 would be a smart move for Provodnikov 

It would be a wise move for Provodnikov to return to the 140-pound division rather than moving up to the 147-pound weight class. The 5’6″ Provodnikov would be too short to fight at welterweight, and he’d struggle against the taller guys. However, the money fights for Provodnikov would be at 147 if he could get a match against one of these fighters:

  • Errol Spence Jr.
  • Manny Pacquiao
  • Terence Crawford
  • Danny Garcia
  • Shawn Porter
  • Amir Khan
  • Kell Brook
  • Mikey Garcia

Pacquiao would be the ideal guy for Provodnikov to fight, but he’s also the least likely of the bunch. If the 37-year-old Tim Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs) were to come out of retirement, that would be an excellent opponent for Provodnikov to fight. The former two-division world champion Bradley defeated Provodniko by a narrow 12 round unanimous decision in a war on March 16, 2013, in Carson, California.

The fight saw Bradley badly hurt early in the match when he tried to trade power shots against Provodnikov. Although Bradley was able to adapt and come back to win a razor-thin decision, he was hurt.

When he spoke to the media after the match, Bradley sounded like he was still punch-drunk from the heavy shots that Provodnikov had hit him with during the contest. It’s not likely that Bradley will want to test himself against Provodnikov a second time because he’s been out of the ring too long.

Provodnikov’s best career wins were against these fighters: Mike Alvarado, Emanuel Augustus, and DeMarcus Corley.