Wednesday, April 17, 2024  |



Provodnikov on Matthysse bout: ’90 percent, it ends in knockout’

Fighters Network




While the two biggest stars in boxing will finally square off on May 2, another gem of a fight emerges a few weeks earlier and this one promises to be a firefight.

Lucas Matthysse will take on Ruslan Provodnikov at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in upstate New York on April 18 and will air live on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark.”

After suffering an upset split decision loss to Chris Algieri last June, Provodnikov (24-3, 17 knockouts) traveled back to Russia to defeat Jose Luis Castillo with a fifth round TKO in November.

Both Provodnikov and Matthysse (36-3-1, 34 KOs) possess one-punch knockout power and know how to fight in only one manner: to come straight forward to pulverize their opponents.

“This is a fight fans have been clamoring for since these warriors were last in action,” said Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya. caught up with Provodnikov as he prepares for his toughest fight to date.


Vladimir Lik – How does it make you feel when you hear that some people are looking forward to your fight with Lucas Matthysse more than the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight?

Ruslan Provodnikov – (laughs) Well, everyone knows what they’re going to get with Mayweather and Pacquiao. It might not be an action-packed fight. Maybe it just will be a technical fight. However, everyone completely understands who Ruslan Provodnikov and Lucas Matthysse are. It’s a dream fight. I know a lot of people are waiting for our fight because they miss these types of dangerous fights in boxing. There won’t be any games played here. It’s just danger for both of us and it’s thrilling. We will put everything on the line. The possibilities are actually horrifying when I stop to think about what can happen.

VL – What went through your mind while this fight was getting made?

RP – When this fight was discussed, I really didn’t think twice about it. I told my team I wanted the fight. I always wished for a fight that comes with this level of excitement. We passed an important phase with this fight where there is no going backwards. I don’t even care what happens in the ring and what the outcome will be. I just want to get into the ring already. I will be ready.

VL-Can you compare any of your previous opponents to Matthysse?

RP-Well the closest fighter was probably [Mike] Alvarado if we are talking about punching power. Matthysse is a top level opponent.

VL – What are the chances this fight goes the distance?

RP – I would say 10 percent chance this fight go distance, 90 percent it ends in knockout.

VL – When the fight ends, who do you envision will be one standing with his arm raised?

RP – I cannot answer how I think this fight will end except to tell you that It will either be him or me that gets hurt and probably hurt very badly. I understand this and have come to accept that I might not be able to walk out of the ring on my own. That’s just one reality. I accept his challenge because it’s in my nature to do this and take this risk. I am confident in myself and my ability. My punches are shorter and faster than his. That’s my plus. I will keep this fight in short distance and catch him.

VL – What did you see in Matthysse’s fights with Danny Garcia and John Molina that can help you?

RP – I watched the Garcia fight and the some of the highlights from the Molina fight. Matthysse is one of the most dangerous fighters in boxing. He’s not super technical. He just comes forward and I like these type of fights. The most important thing for me is to be careful and not get caught with anything.

VL – There was a slight delay in announcing this fight. It was rumored to be set for March 28 and now it’s announced for April 18. Were you worried something might go wrong?

RP – No, not at all. I was never worried because HBO and my team assured me everything is OK. We just needed to wait to see if Mayweather and Pacquiao would be sorted out. If that fight didn’t get made, then I would be fighting Manny Pacquiao right now. I was the Plan B but we didn’t lose anything. We just needed to wait the extra week to see what happens.

VL – You sparred with Pacquiao many times so do you have a game plan how you would beat him?

RP – No one has a plan how to beat Pacquiao and if they do, they will forget their game plan the minute he hits you in the head. We wont spar with each other for this camp because I don’t fight like Mayweather and he doesn’t fight like Matthysse but I look forward to seeing him in camp soon. I haven’t seen him in a long time so we will hang out.

VL – Will you have both Freddie Roach and Marvin Somodio for this camp?

RP – Yes, as of now, we have Freddie and Marvin together. If Freddie has to go to the Philippines, then we will just have Marvin but I think Pacquiao is coming to train here [at the Wild Card Boxing Club], so we will have to wait and see.

VL – What did you take away from the loss to Chris Algieri?

RP – Everything that happens, it happens for the better. I believe that. In a way, I am glad I lost that fight as strange as it sounds. If I won, I would have made a mistake by taken a long break from boxing. It’s because I lost that I regained my hunger and motivation. I am grateful that I got this from a loss.

VL – Which loss bothered you more? Tim Bradley or Algieri?

RP – I think Algieri was worse because I was the favorite to win this fight from the start and of course I hurt him in the fight. I wasn’t supposed to beat Bradley, so there’s no shame in that loss. The support I got from my fans after the Bradley fight helped me a lot. I was supposed lose that fight, according to everyone. People actually told me they saw me as raw meat for Bradley to just destroy. Algieri is not a big fighter, so that loss was just bad and I lost my belt.

VL – Why did you decide to fight Jose Luis Castillo in Moscow rather than the United States, where your fan base is growing?

RP – America is definitely the Mecca of boxing. In America, I was introduced to the world. However, I wanted to give this gift to my country and my home, especially during these tough times in Russia. You know what I mean? I didn’t even expect that big a turnout. I met people who traveled from all over Russia to see me in person. I had so many friends in the building. The fight sold out in three weeks. The response was overwhelming. For this reason, I am so happy we fought in Russia.

VL – What’s your motivation for being a boxer?

RP – All my life I had difficulties. I did not have an easy time growing up, so it’s simply to be in a fight that everyone wants to see. On April 18, all eyes will be on us. I may not walk out of that ring in one piece but that’s the risk and the challenge I’m willing to take. If I win, I will rise very high in everyone’s eyes. You don’t get this feeling by beating weaker opponents. I am no longer interested in fights with people like Algieri. I would prefer to lose to tough fighters, so no one can ever say I took easy fights.

VL – There are fighters who take easier fights for more money. Why do you choose to take huge risks?

RP – I don’t chase the money. What is money anyway? Money comes and goes fast, so when I die, what will I leave behind? Money and cars? Who needs that? I want to leave behind something else like being remembered as one of the best in boxing history.

VL – Where does your aggressive boxing style come from?

RP – I had a tough childhood so I look at where I come from in Siberia. I didn’t have rich parents so we struggled a lot. In Russia, there’s a saying that I come from my mother’s milk.

VL – Everyone saw your mother in the ring following the Alvarado fight. Will your family be in the attendance for this fight?

RL – No. I will forbid it 100 percent. I don’t want them here for this fight. It’s too dangerous and God forbid they see something bad happen to me. Let them wait for me at home where they can root and cheer me on.

VL – There are a lot of fighters now coming from the former Soviet Union. How does it feel to know you are a role model for them?

RL – After the Bradley fight, when I came back to the gym, people were saying I just opened up doors for boxers from Russia. I am happy to pave the way for all boxers to come here and work hard. Now there are promoters searching all over Russia for boxers.

VL – Do you have any plans to move to the United States?

RP – No. I love visiting America but I love my small Village in Siberia. I want to be useful to people back home and help them have better lives. It’s easy to just move away but not for me. I believe you have to give back and be humble. I live with those principles.

VL – Speaking of boxing history. What is your prediction for the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight?

RL – (laughs) I don’t know who is going to win the fight but I know I will be rooting for Pacquiao. I will try very hard to be there in person. It’s like watching Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier. It’s on that level.

VL – Ruslan, any last words for your fans?

RP – I just want to thank everyone for their support. I will try to give you the best performance on April 18. Win or lose, I promise I will be at my best!