Showtime results: John Molina Jr. outpoints Ruslan Provodnikov
John Molina Jr. outboxed Ruslan Provodnikov for 12 rounds en route to a unanimous decision (116-112, 117-111 and 115-113) victory on Saturday night. The junior welterweight contest was the main event of a Showtime card held at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York, promoted by Banner Promotions.
It was expected to be an all-out brawl from the two proven warriors but Molina fought contrary to how the fight was advertised and reaped the benefits of a busy left jab. Molina, 29-6 (23), pumped it constantly throughout the fight and accrued well over 1,000 punches by the end of the fight. He also whipped right hands behind that jab and they stopped the forward-pressing Provodnikov in his tracks.
With a smile on his face, Provodnikov was committed to coming forward but he was often hesitant to throw punches in bunches when he got inside. When you think about it, he really was to was to blame for the fight not living up to its expectations. Molina showed comfort with his lead hand held low when it wasn’t throwing a jab that dictated the distance. After a clash of heads in the fourth, Provodnikov suffered a cut above the left eye and it spurred on some much needed urgency from the Russian.
Provodnikov, 25-5 (18), began to land his ripping hooks to the head more consistently in the middle rounds and the two started to deliver some of the action they promised. It was at this point Provodnikov seemed to be in his comfort zone. Molina landed his power right hands more frequently but none of them seemed to hurt Ruslan, as he seemed complacent to engage in a war of attrition. Molina was smart about it, however, and whenever Provodnikov landed a big right cross or left hook that provided some momentum, Molina went back to pumping his jab while circling his foe from a satisfying distance.
The second half of the fight was closer than the first but, even then, the rounds were close and the judges were left deciding on whether or not to reward Molina for his consistent work for a handful of big shots. Provodnikov regularly missed some big shots by a hair and it was a testament to how important those few inches of reach and height Molina had over his opponent. Although Provodnikov had his moments in the late rounds, and even won a couple convincingly, he couldn’t corral Molina into a corner or against the ropes, a place where John has been trapped and executed in the past.
Molina was a 10-1 underdog and while his skill was underrated considerably in this match-up, Provodnikov was certainly overrated at the same time. Molina, Covina, California, had a told-you-so like demeanor about him in the post fight interview and, under the tutelage of his new trainer, Shadeed Suluki, he proved that he isn’t a one-trick pony.
On the other hand, Provodnikov shed some light on his performance with blunt honesty, saying things to the effect of his hunger being questioned when preparing for fights in recent past. He too had a relatively new trainer for this one, Joel Diaz, and, before the ninth round, he could be heard asking Ruslan if he was okay. Because something was off about “The Siberian Rocky” on Saturday night, and as he has thrilled us with examples of courage and will in the past, he not only left us with another portrayal of him being easily outboxed but had the demeanor of a fighter who figured he may not have it anymore.
In a match-up between two junior middleweight contenders, Demetrius Andrade looked impressive against Willie Nelson, dropping him four times total before the fight was stopped in the 12th round.
Andrade, 23-0 (16), did himself plenty of favors by not only dominating Nelson for seemingly every second of every round but closing the show with a thrilling ending to an otherwise one-sided clinic. A right hook in the opening round dropped Nelson to the canvas and, in response to the deep waters in which he found himself, Nelson, 25-3-1 (15), tried to stay afloat by staying behind his guard.
After a few right hands in the final minute of the third round, it seemed like Nelson was going to do his part in making this a fight but he was shelled up in the fourth, thanks to the precise combinations from Andrade that had left hands pierce right through his guard. Nelson, 29, was the proverbial punching bag, and didn’t look like the serviceable 154-pounder he’s proven to be in the past.
Fighting out of Providence, Rhode Island, Andrade concocted a perfect blend of offense and defense. He was always first and last to land punches and his footwork was impeccable as the southpaw won the positioning battle from jump. Whether it was on the inside or outside, Andrade was in control and it was astounding how freely he moved in the ring or how easily he bullied Nelson to fight off the ropes.
It was a one-sided affair until the later rounds and Nelson opened up a little, knowing he needed a big knockout to win. A right hand from Andrade abruptly sent him to the canvas in the waning seconds of the 11th and, if not for the bell sounding the end of the round, he may have been stopped then. The right hand was there for Andrade all night and it knocked Nelson’s mouthpiece out a couple times in the fight. Andrade was able to close the show, however, and an accumulation of punches sent Nelson backward a minute in. Nelson got up and wanted to continue but Andrade landed a final right hand that hurt him again and, after a flurry, Nelson slowly folded to the floor when referee Dick Pakozdi stepped in midway through.
“I’m ready for the Charlo boys!” said Andrade after the fight. Lucky for him, this fight was an elimination bout set by the WBC and its junior middleweight titleholder happens to be Jermell Charlo. Andrade, 28, has fought only twice, otherwise, in the past two years, thanks to some promotional issues, and the inactivity was why he was stripped of the 154-pound WBO title last year. His performance against Nelson, however, reminded everyone that he is one of the best fighters in the division.
In the opening bout of the Showtime telecast, Dejan Zlaticanin won the vacant WBC lightweight belt with a third round stoppage of Franklin Mamani, becoming the first ever Montenegrin to win a world title.
Zlaticanin was dominant in the win and the first left hand he landed on Mamani hurt him. That left cross from the southpaw happened in the opening minute and it buckled Mamani into a backward stumble. It was almost as if Zlaticanin had strong dislike for Mamani, La Paz, Bolivia, as he immediately went to the body immediately after knowing he had the power to hurt him.
Mamani, 21-3-1 (12), did his best to fight back but was too predictable with his attack. Zlaticanin could see the counters coming and he methodically broke Mamani down with precise straight left hands to the head after digging to the body. Zlaticanin was in control in every aspect and, in the middle of the third, it seemed like he was just toying with Mamani until another left hand hurt him bad enough to drop to a quick squat. It wasn’t a knockdown but Mamani eventually ended up there seconds later, while trying to clinch Zlaticanin.
It was ruled a slip by referee Charlie Fitch but Mamani was still clearly hurt from the left hand he ate seconds before. Zlaticanin knew he had his prey hurt and he unleashed hooks from both hands after forcing Mamani against the ropes. A few may have landed but Mamani wasn’t fighting back when in a crouch and that’s when Fitch decided to end it.
Zlaticanin, 22-0 (15), was ecstatic post-fight, now that he had the vacant 135-pound WBC title draped over his shoulder. He also looked impressive against the late replacement on Saturday night. Jorge Linares, who lost the title because of inactivity, thanks to an injury, was also brought up as a potential fight for Zlaticanin, who was his mandatory opponent before the Venezuelan ultimately lost the belt.