Wednesday, December 07, 2022  |


Ruslan Provodnikov wants Marcos Maidana, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse




If it were up to Ruslan Provodnikov, he would be fighting much stiffer competition than aging former titleholder Jose Luis Castillo on Friday in Luzhniki, Moscow, Russia.

Give Provodnikov (23-3, 16 knockouts) a fight with Marcos Maidana, THE RING’s No. 5-rated welterweight who is coming off consecutive losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr. by majority decision in May and unanimous decision in September.

Provodnikov also covets a clash with Maidana’s Argentine countryman, Lucas Matthysse, THE RING’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight, if not RING 140-pound champion, Danny Garcia, who also owns the WBA and WBC belts and a unanimous decision win over Matthysse.

“Maidana, Garcia and Matthysse are the guys who have fought in my weight class,” said Provodnikov, 30, THE RING’s No. 4-rated junior welterweight. “They come to fight. They fight in the style that the fans like and these are the fights I want to be a part of.”

Nicknamed “The Siberian Rocky,” Provodnikov will instead face Castillo (66-12-1, 57 KOs), whose career highlights include twice going the distance in losses to Mayweather in April and December 2002, retaining the RING and WBC 135-pound belts with a split decision over Joel Casamayor in December 2004 and splitting bouts with Diego Corrales in May and October 2005.

But Castillo has been on a downward spiral since June 2007, when he was stopped in the fourth round by Ricky Hatton. Although Castillo is 11-4 with 10 knockouts over the course of his past 15 fights, he has been stopped by Alfonso Gomez and lost decisions to Sebastian Lujan, Jorge Paez Jr. and Antwone Smith.

“A lot of people are criticizing that fight but it’s really about how Castillo takes this fight,” said Vadim Kornilov, Provodnikov’s manager, during an interview with last month. “He’s won two in a row against mediocre opponents. We know that he’s 40 years old but he’s also a very experienced fighter with over 60 fights.”

Provodnikov’s promoter, Artie Pelullo has taken plenty of heat for matching Provodnikov against the faded Castillo, who turns 41 next month.

In September, Pelullo informed that “a lot money” was offered to and turned down by former titleholder Zab Judah and Mauricio Herrera, the latter of whom defeated Provodnikov by unanimous decision in January 2011. During an interview with earlier this month, Pellulo qualified the amount as “half a million” each to Judah and Herrera.

In his last fight in June, Provodnikov lost his WBO 140-pound title by split decision to No. 3-rated Chris Algieri, whom he floored twice in the first round and who fought with a right eye that was nearly closed shut throughout.

Should Provodnikov achieve an expected victory over Castillo, he said that he would pursue a title fight “most likely at junior welterweight since that is my weight class,” adding, “but if an opportunity opens up, I can fight at welterweight also.”

Entering his bout with Algieri, Provodnikov was coming off a 10th-round stoppage of Mike Alvarado, whom he floored twice on the way to winning the WBO belt in October 2013.

The victory over Alvarado followed Provodnikov’s unanimous decision loss to then-WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley in March 2013 during which Provodnikov scored a 12th-round knockdown in a bout named “2013 Fight of the Year” by THE RING as well as the Boxing Writers Association of America.

But Algieri, who stands 5-foot-11 to Provodnikov’s 5-6, had correctly expressed confidence that he could duplicate the efforts of Bradley and Herrera. Algieri out-landed Provodnikov, 288-to-205 in overall punches, 177-to-164 in power shots and 111-to-41 in jabs.

By comparison, the 5-6.5 Manny Pacquiao enjoyed an overall advantage in punches landed, 229-to-108, and, 187-80 in power shots against Algieri, whom he dropped twice each in the sixth and ninth rounds and once each in the second and 10th last weekend.

From his perspective, Provodnikov said Pacquiao-Algieri “went pretty much as I expected,” adding Algieri “was just trying to run and survive but that didn’t work.”

Could Provodnikov envision a return bout against Algieri?

“Possibly,” said he said. “I just don’t know if anybody wants to see him fight again.”

What about a fight with Pacquiao, his former sparring partner whom he was in consideration to fight had he beaten Algieri?

“I am sure it will happen,” said Provodnikov. “Sooner or later.”