By Brando Chacon (@brondoo34)
One of most anxiously anticipated fights of recent memory has finally arrived. Hard-hitting Argentinean Lucas “The Machine” Matthysse (36-3, 34 KO’s) squares off against Russian brawler, Ruslan “Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov (24-3, 17 KO’s) in an epic showdown at junior welterweight, that almost guarantees fireworks. This fight has “fight of the year” written all over it and even potentially “fight of the century”.
These two are two of the best junior welterweights in the world and are both currently ranked in the top 5 by the WBC and WBO. A win for either fighter will set them up nicely for a big fight at 140 and also become a ring legend in the eyes of many fans. Fighters like Matthysse and Provodnikov are the reasons why we love boxing and what keeps us loving this beautiful sport. Boxing needs more fighters like Matthysse and Provodnikov, these are the fighters that give us a good show every time out and who more importantly, do not duck anyone, there are too many fighters in today’s game that hide behind promoters or “advisors”. Yeah there is corruption in the sport and yeah if you explain all the stuff that goes down in boxing to a non-boxing fan they would be left flabbergasted, but fights like this one makes us forget about all that, for a little bit at least. This fight is a fight that deserves a bigger platform and should be must-watch TV for any sports fan out there.
Lucas Matthysse, the Argentinean KO Artist, comes into this fight on a high with a two-fight-knockout-streak, with wins over the previously undefeated Mexican Roberto Ortiz and Mexican-American John Molina. Matthysse-Molina, BWAA’s “Fight of the Year” of 2014, was a grueling 10 round contest between both warriors. It saw Matthysse knocked down twice but eventually was able to beat the fight out of Molina by the 10th round. Matthysse still has aspirations of a potential rematch with Danny Garcia, and with Garcia moving to 147 soon, Matthysse may soon move up in weight too and chase some bigger fights there, all in all, a win here is imperative for Matthysse moving forward.
Provodnikov had an up & down 2014, which saw him lose in an upset against Chris Algieri, but was able to finish off the year with a KO win in 5 rounds over the old and faded Jose Luis Castillo, yeah that Jose Luis Castillo. Provodnikov started off 2014 as a hot name in boxing after a very exciting and close decision loss to Timothy Bradley, at the end of 2013, and looked to ride high until a upset loss against Algieri leveled him. At the time there were already small talks of Provodnikov potentially being matched-up against some big names at 140 and 147. Recently Provodnikov revealed to Fight Hub that had he won his fight against Algieri, he probably would have ended up retiring.
Retirement has also run through the mind of Matthysse, he thought about a potential retirement after his loss to Danny Garcia in 2013. It is usually not a good sign when fighters or athletes have retirement thoughts in their minds and depending on how much of a war it is between these two, seeing the loser retire wouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
The Fighter’s Assets and Factors to Win:
Matthysse is one of the biggest punchers in the whole sport, he has a KO ratio of 85%. Even though Matthysse has had more fights than Provodnikov, due to his high KO ratio he actually only has one more round of experience compared to Provodnikov. However, his devastating power isn’t the only thing in his arsenal, he is also the more complete fighter in this match-up.
Matthysse is a very offensive-styled fighter but he still possesses a good jab and shows a lot of lateral movement, if need be. His jab will be an important factor for him to win this fight, he has a 3 inch reach advantage of Provodnikov, which he needs to utilize. He is not as come-forward as Provodnikov and usually starts off fights a little slow while he tries to decipher the other fighter. Body punching is another aspect of Matthysse’s game, Matthysse works the best when he is throwing his powerful combos at the head and body. A win for Matthysse will come about, if he fights a smart fight, but he doesn’t necessarily need to channel his inner Mayweather. Provodnikov will be in front of Matthysse all fight and Matthysse needs to use his jab, lateral movements, step-backs and sharp uppercuts. He needs to keep the fight in the middle of the ring and can’t be fighting off the ropes too much.
Provodnikov is one of the best pressure fighters in the game today, his constant come-forward style makes it a tough night for any fighter. He is relentless in his attack and will be coming forward and throwing powerful punches all night. Provodnikov is also the stronger fighter of the two and looks to always muscle his opponents around the ring. Mike Alvarado who was the bigger man against Provodnikov and who had a 3 inch height advantage was pushed around for most of the fight by Provodnikov’s pressure. Alvarado, who is a warrior, eventually had to give up and couldn’t come off his stool for round 11 in their fight.
Provodnikov, like Matthysse, has a strong body punching game and needs to attack Matthysse to the body every chance he gets. Provodnikov basically just needs to be himself to win this fight, he needs to muscle Matthysse on the inside, get him on the ropes and constantly attack the body. Head movement will also be important because even though Provodnikov has an iron chin he can’t be constantly taking Matthysse’s shots. Since Matthysse is a known slow starter, Provodnikov needs to come out swinging right out of the gates and test Matthysse early on.
Regardless of the outcome both fighters deserve everyone’s respect for taking a fight like this, which took less than an hour to even negotiate. These are the two hardest hitting and best offensive styled fighters in the whole game. This fight turning into a war is the closest one can get to a guarantee in life.by