Ruslan Provodnikov gets the fight he wants
After what ended up being a rather anti-climactic and disappointing 2014, Ruslan Provodnikov gave his handlers very specific marching orders: Get me “The Machine.” Yes, while many others find ways to not face the likes of Lucas Matthysse, Provodnikov got his wish to face the hard-hitting Argentine this Saturday night from the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York as the main event on HBO’s split-site doubleheader.
“That’s exactly what he wanted. [Provodnikov] said, ‘If you can’t get me [Manny] Pacquiao or [Floyd] Mayweather, I want Matthysse,” confirmed Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions, who handles “The Siberian Rocky.” “He has a problem fighting fighters who can’t get the best out of him and I think, this fight, he knows that it’s a war and he knows he has to be in the best shape of his life and he knows Lucas Matthysse is a great fighter and he believes that somebody is getting knocked out.
“He needs this fight; this is the fight he wanted.”
What is this guy, a masochist?
But seriously, this is the one Provodnikov wanted and, as they say on menus in Chinese restaurants, no substitutions, please.
Provodnikov said a few weeks ago through his manager, Vadim Kornilov, “Definitely, this is the fight I yearned for. This is the fight I asked my team to get for me. This is what I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been asking for Matthysse for a very long time. I’m very glad it happened. Even myself, I can’t imagine what’s going to happen in this fight.”
Well, based on their track records – in which each has featured a “Fight of the Year,” recently – and their respective styles and mindsets, it’s safe to assume you’ll get a lot of mayhem and ruckus being raised in that ring. There’s really no need to hard-sell this fight from those involved. It’s the type of pairing that fight fans often dream about but doesn’t come to fruition nearly often enough. Other than something freakish happening, it’s hard to image a scenario in which this isn’t a slugfest.
It simply can’t be a bad fight; can it?
“100 percent not,” stated Provodnikov, who will be without the services of Freddie Roach, who is staying home because of a certain fight that takes place on May 2. “You can think whatever; you can think that there’s going to be anything in this fight but one thing is not going to happen: It’s not going to be a bad fight.”
Yeah, speaking of Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao, that event is about the casual fans who might peek into the boxing tent once or twice a year. Provodnikov-Matthysse is about the hardcore fan who tolerates months of non-descript fare on UniMas and ESPN2 to get to fights like this.
And Matthysse is his type of dance partner. However, unlike Chris Algieri, this won’t be a waltz; it’ll be more like slam dancing in a mosh pit. “This is definitely what I prefer. I don’t like the fights where you’ve wasted little blood. I like the big blood fights and I like to fight bone to bone, foot to foot. I like it up close and personal. This is what it’s going to be,” says Provodnikov, who comes in with a mark of 24-3 (17).
Back about a decade ago, a certain fight took place at the Mandalay Bay that will forever be looked upon fondly in boxing lore. And those who were involved in that fight and have a stake in this weekend’s bout are getting that same vibe.
“I said it on the conference call: I believe this could be [Diego] Corrales-[Jose Luis] Castillo I all over again,” Pelullo stated. “It might be a shorter fight. It’s going to be unbelievable.”
“The only way to not be ‘Fight of the Year’ is if it’s going to be ‘Knockout of the Year’ in the beginning of the fight,” said Kornilov.
Ruslan, you asked for it.
It’s interesting that so much is being made of the latest PBC broadcast on NBC winning the male demographic between the ages of 18-49. The broadcast featured the draw between Andy Lee and Peter Quillin and Danny Garcia edging Lamont Peterson from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday night.
According to published reports, the broadcast boasted 2.9 million viewers.
But on the flipside – and what isn’t brought up as much by some for whatever reason – is this broadcast had a decline of 23 percent from the first NBC card on March 7. What’s interesting is that on that day, there was more in terms of sports competition with stuff like the ACC basketball tournament.
Much of the ad spots on this last broadcast were still filled by PBC and NBC ads.
There was a time when Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. was among the sport’s best ticket sellers but that certainly isn’t the case right now as he prepares to face Andrzej Fonfara at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. this weekend.
In the last few weeks, past ticket buyers to boxing events at this venue have been getting emailed group discount offers and getting cold-called from AEG. One friend of mine was offered 40 percent off premium and floor seating, one free ticket, a free parking pass with all other fees waived. When he said he was more interested in the $27 and $53 seats, he was told they were sold out (yeah, right).
I get the sense that Provodnikov-Matthysse wouldn’t have had problems selling tickets. In fact, according to Pelullo, the Turning Stone is adding more seats to its venue as they expect an overflow crowd.
Regardless, I hope they have 1iota Productions warming up in the bullpen for Saturday night.
For the record, I had Peterson beating Garcia. Yeah, I know he used a lateral movement in the first half but, honestly, Garcia was impotent throughout the night…Had no problems with the draw in Lee-Quillin…I’ll say it again: Put Puerto Rico on your bucket list of boxing destinations. In fact, do it for a Felix Verdejo fight in the near future…As I’m typing this out, there are still no Mayweather-Pacquiao tickets. Literally, no one has or seen them as of yet…In fact, Roger Mayweather – yeah, Floyd’s uncle – was at the Top Rank Promotions offices on Friday asking how he could buy some (true story)…OK, so the new season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has started and life is good…Medalla is a great Puerto Rican beer but the only drawback is their cans are only 10 ounces…Hey, the snow has melted in Verona, right? I get there on Saturday afternoon…I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.