Saturday, April 01, 2023  |



John Molina shows he still has life in shocking Provodnikov

Fighters Network

VERONA, N.Y. — John Molina was supposed to be shot. He was supposed be nothing but fodder for Ruslan Provodnikov. There was good reason to think that way. Molina was 4-5 over his last nine fights. He was 1-3 over his last four, which included losses to Adrien Broner and Humberto Soto and getting stopped by Lucas Matthysse in THE RING’s 2014 Fight of the Year.

His career as a viable contender was arguably over if he lost to the “Siberian Rocky.”

Boxing has a funny way of resurrecting weathered fighters. It has a way of giving hope to the seemingly hopeless, as it did Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino.

Using an effective jab, Molina (29-6, 23 KOs) remained relevant by winning a unanimous decision over fellow junior welterweight Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KOs), who has now lost three of his last five fights.

Punch stats bore the tale: Molina connected on 377 out of 1,092 total punches (35 percent), to Provodnikov’s 283 of 705 (40 percent), with Molina landing 152 of 643 (24 percent) jabs to Provodnikov’s 86 of 265 (32 percent). Molina connected on 225 of 449 power shots (50 percent), to Provodnikov’s 197 of 440 (45 percent).

Judges Don Ackerman (116-112), Glenn Feldman (115-113) and John McKaie (117-111) did agree on nine of the 12 rounds. saw it more along Ackerman’s lines, calling 116-112 for Molina based on his activity and the constant jab he stuck in Provodnikov’s face much of the night.

With just under a minute left in the fourth round, the two fighters clashed heads. Referee Mark Nelson called it accidental and Provodnikov showed a little cut on the corner of his left eye. Molina carried a small mouse under his right eye.

Molina was really brilliant. He kept Provodnikov away with the jab. He actually showed some boxing skills, using feints to get away from Provodnikov’s punches, instead of using his head. He worked well on the inside, bouncing Provodnkov’s head back with uppercuts and enduring the Siberian Rocky’s sweeping left hooks.

“This was a fight that I needed and I felt his punching power,” Molina said. “Everyone forgets that my amateur career basically came as a pro. You can say I learned with each fight. I’m still learning. I needed this fight. Ruslan is a tough, tough fighter and a big name. I had to change some things.

“I have a new trainer, Shadeed Suluki, and we worked on some new things, which you saw tonight with the jab. I think the jab was always there. I just had to use it. I came into this feeling really strong and I knew I had to outwork Ruslan. I added some weight, but I don’t know if those scales are right. I felt really good. I knew I won this fight. I knew I did well. I stuck to what we planned.”

Provodnikov, needless to say, was devastated. And Provodnikov knew he lost.

“I thought (Molina) might box and move,” Provodnikov said. “Maybe I let other things get involved, I don’t know. I just didn’t feel right, maybe the hunger wasn’t there like it usually is. There are no excuses. I have to think about my future.”

On the undercard, southpaw Demetrius Andrade (23-0, 16 KOs) was looking to remain relevant after an eight-month layoff. The undefeated junior middleweight vowed that he would stop Willie Nelson (25-3-1, 15 KOs) — and in a rather lopsided fight, he did. Through the first five rounds, Andrade outlanded Nelson, 129-33 in total connects. He knocked Nelson down in the first round and it seemed a matter of time after that before Andrade’s prediction would hold true.

In the sixth round, Andrade landed a combination to the head and the body that backed up Nelson. With around 1:35 left in the seventh, Nelson wrestled Andrade to the canvas when the two locked arms. It did little to aid Nelson’s cause. He had no defense for Andrade’s lead right uppercuts and sweeping right hooks.

Andrade had Nelson in trouble in the waning seconds of the eighth, slamming a right hook into Nelson’s jaw, which sent Nelson’s gum shield flying across the ring. In the ninth, Nelson appeared as if he had little left, other than his heart. At one moment, Andrade leaned forward, peered at Nelson and shook his head ‘no,’ as if to say there’s nothing you can do to me.

In the 11th, Andrade nailed Nelson with a right hook just before the bell for the second knockdown of the fight. Nelson shouldn’t have been allowed out of his corner for the 12th, but was sent forward anyway on very shaky legs.

That’s when Andrade closed.

He knocked Nelson down for a third time with just inside of two minutes left in the round, and referee Dick Pakozdi let him continue. About 10 seconds later, Nelson went down for the fourth time when Andrade finished him at 1:38.

For the fight, Andrade landed 247 of 650 (38 percent) total punches, connecting on 33 of 277 (12 percent) jabs and 214 of 373 (57 percent) power shots. Nelson just couldn’t find any rhythm. He landed just 68 of 361 (19 percent) total punches, with 64 of 318 (20 percent) power shots and a mere 4 of 43 (9 percent) jabs.

Lightweight Dejan Zlaticanin (22-0, 15 KOs) stopped Franklin Mamani (21-3-1, 12 KOs) in three, winning something called “the interim” WBC lightweight title. Mamani, who took the fight on 11 days’ notice, was hurt within the opening seconds of the fight. He took more battering in the third, and referee Charlie Fitch waved it over at :54 of the round.

Middleweight Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2, 6 KOs) had a nice comeback victory, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over John Thompson (17-3, 6 KOs). It was the first time Monroe was in the ring in over a year, since his fifth-round TKO loss to Gennady Golovkin in May 2015.

Heavyweight Andrey Fedosov (29-3, 24 KOs) smoked Mario Heredia (13-2, 11 KOs) in six. Fedosov had Heredia down in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds. Heavyweight Stivens Bujaj (16-0-1, 11 KOs) handed Sergio Ramirez (11-1, 7 KOs) his first loss with a first-round TKO. Welterweight Oscar Sarmiento debuted with a four-round decision over Jose Miguel De La Rosa (3-1, 1 KO). Junior middleweight Miguel Trejo (5-0, 4 KOs) stopped Latorie Woodberry (0-2-1) in the first.