Ruslan Provodnikov stops Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez in four
Ruslan Provodnikov bounced back from a punishing loss to Lucas Matthysse with a fourth round technical knockout win over previously unbeaten Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez at Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco on Saturday.
The former WBO junior welterweight titleholder Provodnikov (25-4, 18 knockouts) was working for the first time with Joel Diaz – who previously trained former Ruslan foe Timothy Bradley – after splitting with long-time coach Freddie Roach. It appeared early that Provodnikov, 31, was eager to work on what he had learned in the gym, moving his head and throwing more jabs against the timid Rodriguez (14-1, 11 KOs).
Provodnikov landed his first significant blow of the fight with 30 seconds to go in the first round – an overhand right along the ropes followed by a right hand to the body – but seemed more interested in showing his new coach that he could be cautious and aggressive simultaneously.
Provodnikov’s experience began to wear on the 23-year-old Rodriguez of Los Mochis, Mexico, who had fought just one opponent previously whose record was above .500. Rodriguez remained pinned to the ropes, while Provodnikov canned the jabs and returned to his more familiar style of winging power shots near the end of the second.
The end was always near for Rodriguez it seemed as THE RING’s No. 3-rated junior welterweight closed the gap with impunity. Provodnikov looked to end matters early in round four, with a right hand high on the head wobbling Rodriguez. Provodnikov unloaded with both hands, sending his foes to the canvas for the first time. Rodriguez rose up, but another right hand drove him back to the ropes, before a combination capped off by a left hook high on the temple sent him down for a second knockdown.
The referee halted the fight after the second knockdown at the 1:41 mark of round four.
The bout proved to be a light touch for Provodnikov, 31, of Beryozovo, Russia, a rarity for the fighter who in addition to fights with Matthysse and Bradley, has engaged in tough fights with Chris Algieri and Mike Alvarado.
Earlier in the night, Kazakhstani bantamweight Zhanat Zhakiyanov (26-1, 18 KOs) won a split decision over Yonfrez Parejo (17-2-1, 8 KOs) by scores of 116-113 and 115-113 in his favor, and 116-112 for Parejo on the third. Parejo’s WBA interim bantamweight title was at stake, though the organization’s true champion remains unbeaten Dominican Juan Carlos Payano.
In cruiserweight action, Youti Kalenga (22-2, 15 KOs) handed tough gatekeeper Roberto Bolonti (36-5, 25 KOs) his first knockout loss, at 1:35 of the ninth round. Kalenga, rated no. 7 by THE RING at cruiserweight, put Bolonti down twice in round 3, while Bolonti was penalized a point each in rounds 7 and 8 for attempting to butt Kalenga.
The end came after Kalenga dropped Bolonti again in the ninth with a left hand, and the referee stopped the count midway through.