War Made Easy: Matthysse Edges Provodnikov

By Robert Ecksel on April 18, 2015
War Made Easy: Matthysse Edges Provodnikov
Ruslan is one of the toughest, most resilient fighters in the game today. (Alex Menendez)

When people talk about fighters putting it all on the line, Matthysse and Provodnikov deserve, at the very least, an honorable mention…

Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, former WBC junior welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse (37-3, 34 KOs), from Buenos Aires, Argentina, eked out a majority decision over former WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov (24-4, 17 KOs), from Beryozovo, Russia, after 12 vicious rounds of fighting. The final scores were 114-114, and 115-113 twice.

Fighting out of the blue corner in camouflage trunks, Matthysse, aka La Maquina (The Machine), was the favorite coming in. A more complete fighter than Provodnikov, who was fighting out of the red corner in black and gold trunks, Lucas fought one of the toughest, most resilient fighters in the game today and one who pushed him to the very limit of his considerable talents.

Matthysse started strong. Using his superior skills and footwork, he won the first two rounds behind combination punching, lefts hooks, and a deadly uppercut. Provodnikov was firing single bombs in return. He was ineffective. He looked outclassed. He also suffered a serious gash on his left eyelid from an accidental headbutt.

Round three was a better round for Provodnikov. Matthysse was still dominating the fight, landing to the head and body at will. But one got a sense that Provodnikov wasn’t done, at least not yet, even though blood flowed freely down the side of his face.

Provodnikov’s ability to take a licking and somehow keep on ticking was on display in round four. Matthysse got things started with a four-punch combination, further rearranging his opponent’s features. Provodnikov landed a left and right that forced Matthysse to hold on. When his head cleared, the Argentinean landed another four-punch combination. The Russian Rocky came back with a body shot, followed by a right-left-right trifecta that won him the round.

Between rounds Matthysse’s cornerman told him, “Don’t exchange. I know you want it but don’t exchange.”

The fight continued to heat up in the fifth. Matthysse appeared to have given up boxing and moving, either willfully or because he had no choice. He and Provodnikov stood in the middle of the ring and traded punches. Provodnikov got the best of it, whereas Matthysse got the worst.

Matthysse took rounds six and seven. With pinpoint accuracy he was bouncing combinations off Provodnikov’s increasingly misshapen head. Whenever Ruslan got close to enough to land on the inside, Matthysse would smother his punches. He was back to fighting the fight he needed to fight if he had any hope of winning.

Round eight was close and could have gone either way. Matthysse continued to landed combinations, but Provodnikov had closed the distance. They traded right hands. Lucas landed two jabs. As the round was drawing to a close, Provodnikov landed a right followed by a body shot. Despite having eaten an inordinate amount of punches, he was still in the fight.

Round nine began as most of the rounds began, with Matthysse landing a four-punch combination. Provodnikov’s face was a mess but he landed a three-punch counter of his own. A hard right and big left hook stunned Matthysse at the bell. It was another round in the bag for Provodnikov.

Matthysse regained control of the fight in round 10. He landed a three-punch combination, followed by a left to the head and body. His jab was working overtime. Provodnikov landed right on the inside. He also connected with a right at the bell.

Provodnikov’s corner told him after the 10th, “This guy’s on his way down.” They were being optimistic.

Matthysse started round 11 by going to the body. Then he landed several jabs and a straight right. Some tape on his glove had come loose in the heat of battle. Due to confusion in Matthysse’s corner, there was a long delay in the action. When the fight resumed, it was as though Provodnikov, having made the most of the unscheduled rest, was a new man. He rallied to win the round.

In the 12th round, where the give-and-take was as hard to score as the rounds preceding it, it looked like Provodnikov had done enough to win the final round, if not exactly the fight.

The problem, one of many, is that Provodnikov was playing catch-up for most of the fight. Another problem was his face, which looked like he was mauled by a lion.

CompuBox numbers indicate that Matthysse landed 327 of 1034 punches to Provodnikov’s 201 of 755. That’s a lot of leather thrown. It’s also a lot of damage done, both in the short- and long-term. A draw wouldn’t have been unreasonable under the circumstances, no more unreasonable than awarding Matthysse the decision.

When people talk about fighters putting it all on the line, Matthysse and Provodnikov deserve a nod, or maybe even an honorable mention.

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Lucas Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov: HBO Boxing After Dark Highlights

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  1. LeCramping James 08:00pm, 04/19/2015

    Trainer Marvin Somodio is USELESS in the corner.
    Even when Provodnikov won vs. Alvarado, that was all Ruslan’s doing.

  2. NYIrish 05:42pm, 04/19/2015

    A tip of the hat to two warriors. The right guy got the decision.

  3. pugknows 03:41pm, 04/19/2015

    Blood and Guts

  4. Swans 01:13pm, 04/19/2015

    I was okay with the !15 113 cards- winning a round is winning a round- weather you outland the guy by 50 punches or a few. I had PRV wining 5 rounds.
    Garcia’s claim the Title of Lineal Champ, is looking ever more doubtful; he is walking a tightrope- Herrera already beat him, Peterson beat him- Mathysse will destroy him in a rematch- PRV will stop him also- CrawDad will outbox him. there are literally about 7 fighters in the division that can all beat Garcia.  His reign will be over soon.

  5. Old Yank 10:26am, 04/19/2015

    I was at Turning Stone last night with my son-in-law, his brother and his brothers girl friend. We ate at Pino Bianco in the casino a couple of tables from Tony Bennett. Great food and drink. We had great seats (there literally are no bad ones at Turning Stone—we were 5 rows up the first set of risers off just behind the floor seating—literally just to the left of the center of the ring with Lamps and Hopkins on our left.

    The place was sold out and the crowd was absolutely a boxing fan’s kind of crowd. Any fan knew that this had the makings of fight of the year and Turning Stone had no problem selling the place out.

    It was brutal…the thud sounds from great shots added to the reality of just how hard these guys can hit.

    I had it 116-112 for Mathysse. The pair of 115-113 cards were perfectly fine but the 114-114 card was very hard to fathom.

  6. FrankinDallas 07:26am, 04/19/2015

    Provo said before the fight that he’s thinking about retirement. With
    all the punishment his face and head takes, that might not be a bad

    Hopkins was awful. He must have said “you know” about a hundred times.

  7. Kid Blast 07:24am, 04/19/2015

    CG, You are a glory hog., I too got it right!!

  8. Eric 07:09am, 04/19/2015

    Haven’t seen the fight yet, so I don’t know if it was as close as the scoring indicates. It seems Provodnikov might look like like George Chuvalo, but he has the luck of Jimmy Young.

  9. peter 06:40am, 04/19/2015

    I watch Provodnikov fight and I see a miniture George Chuvalo. And that’s a compilment to both.

  10. Laurena 06:25am, 04/19/2015

    I watched with a friend who thought it was over after the second round, and I thought, clearly, you have never seen Provodnikov fight. I didn’t have it as a draw by any means, but the Siberian Rocky is, as Darrell said, beastly. His heart and will are to be admired.

  11. glen 05:51am, 04/19/2015

    A rematch would be good. Not because I think is was a draw, but I think it was a good fight.

  12. Clarence George 04:05am, 04/19/2015

    Ha!  Thank you, Bob.  And I’m glad you didn’t mention The Amazing Criswell.

  13. Bob 03:54am, 04/19/2015

    Good prognostication Clarence….....er Nostradamus or perhaps Carnac.  Right on!

  14. Mohummad Humza Elahi 03:35am, 04/19/2015

    Great fight and agree with Darrell, it was a clear win for Matthysse.  That’s evidenced by the fact that he is prone to getting cut and barely had a mark on him save for a swollen eye towards the end.

  15. Clarence George 02:48am, 04/19/2015

    I got this one right, which is so rare (well, not rare exactly) that it deserves a mention, if only by me. 

    “Well done, Clarence, you genius, you!”

    “Much too kind, Clarence, but thank you.”

  16. Darrell 10:51pm, 04/18/2015

    Good fight.  I don’t see how it was judged so close…...Matthysse clearly outboxed Provodnikov.  Provo is beastly though.

  17. Kid Blast 08:39pm, 04/18/2015

    Wow. Great drama; great stuff. Loved it, but please, no more Hopkins as an announcer. He is horrible and is even involved in promoting Lucas through GBP. That kind of conflict is bad for HBO, bad for Hopkins, and bad for boxing. Plus Hopkins stumbles and mumbles and reeks as a commentator.

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