Lucas Matthysse narrowly outpointed a bloody-faced Ruslan Provodnikov in a hard-fought battle on Saturday in front of 4,500 fans at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. Watch the complete fight at the bottom of this post.
Matthysse outslugged and outboxed a game Provodnikov to earn a split decision. At the end of 12 high-action rounds, the judges’ scorecards read: 114-114 draw, 115-113 for Matthysse, and 115-113 for Matthysse.
The action of the night shifted between the center of the ring, where the boys squared off at arm’s distance, and along the perimeter, with the Argentine working the edges and Provodnikov stalking from the middle.
Provodnikov came out at the opening bell stalking and pressuring the Argentine, and trying to unload immediately with big shots; while Matthysse used his jab and fancy footwork to control the distance and dictate the action. Provodnikov brought out the combinations and started scoring as the fight settled into its rhythm in the middle rounds, and Matthysse continued to effectively employ his jab.
Watch Matthysse’s virtuosic use of the jab:
Despite Provodnikov coming on in the second half of the encounter and taking the later rounds, Matthysse built up enough of a lead in the earlier installments to squeak by with as close of a win as possible.
CompuBox numbers showed a more lop-sided narrative with Matthysse landing 327 of 1034 punches thrown (32%), compared to Provonikov’s 201 landed punches of 755 thrown (27%).
“He was the hardest puncher that I have ever faced,” Provodnikov told HBO’s Jim Lampley after the fight.
Prior to Saturday’s fight, Ruslan (24-4, with 17 KOs) was in action with a knockout win over veteran Jose Luis Castillo in November 2014. That fight followed Provodnikov’s upset defeat to then-unknown Chris Algieri in May of that year.
Provodnikov’s vicious battle versus Timothy Bradley in 2013 was voted ‘Fight of the Year’ and put the “Siberian Rocky” on many observers’ must-watch lists. The 31-year-old’s high-pressure, come-forward style has garnered the Russian mauler a loyal blood-thirsty fan following, while his resilience and power has won him the respect of his adversaries.
Lucas ‘La Máquina’ Matthysse (37-3, with 34 KOs) entered Saturday’s fight coming off back-to-back wins over Robert Ortiz and John Molina Jr. Prior to that, the 32-year-old Argentine suffered one of his three losses, to super lightweight champ Danny Garcia in September 2013.
With the win, Matthysse, will keep chugging along in the light welterweight rankings. ‘La Máquina’ has been eagerly vying for a rematch against conqueror Danny Garcia. But after Danny ‘s recent, sub-par display against a fleet-footed Lamont Peterson, the Garcia team is not likely to go up against a wrecking machine like Matthysse.
“I’m one of the best in the 140-pound division,” said Matthysse to HBO’s Jim Lampley after the fight. ”And I would like the best fight. Mayweather, Pacquiao- that would be the one. I’m one of the best in the division.”
Nice thought. But most likely, fans will next see Matthysse in the ring against the winner of Saturdays’s co-feature, undefeated WBO World lightweight and WBO World super lightweight title holder Terence Crawford.
Provodnikov and his fans were hoping to put the Algieri loss behind them with a victory on Saturday. But despite an honest night’s work, the plodding Rusky may still have to impress against lower ranked tops-10’ers before getting another shot at a world title. Could an eventual face off against Matthysse’s Argentine compatriot Marcos Maidana possibly be in the future? The mobs could only hope as much.
It will be interesting to see who has the cojones to take on either man after Saturday’s masterclass on mugging.
On the co-featured tonight, undefeated WBO lightweight champion Terence Crawford stopped Puerto Rican Thomas Dulorme with sixth-round knockout.
Watch the Matthysse Provodnikov full fight here:
Lucas Matthysse vs Ruslan Provodnikov
Refresh this page throughout the fight for live updates.
(scores are unofficial)
Round 1: We go! Provodnikov in black and gold, Matthysse in camouflage trunks. They meet in the middle of the ring Matthysse opens with a combination. Provo stalking, Matthysse jabbing from the perimeter. Right Matthysse. Matthysse jabs. Provodnikov pressuring, Matthysse prodding and measuring with ja. They clinch. Right hand Matthysse. Provodnikov misses with big right. Provodnikov lands combination against the ropes. Back to the middle, Matthysse lands combination. Provodnikov returns. Right hand Matthysse. Left hook Matthysse. Provodnikov pressuring against the ropes, they clinch. Left hook, Provodnikov. Good action already. 10-9 Matthysse
Round 2: Provodnikov comes out punch, and they’re trading the in center of the ring. Matthysse nice right. Mattysse with another right had, Matthysse moving well and timing well. Big upper cut from Lucas. Right left from Matthysse to the head. Minute in, Lucas in charge. Provodnikov charges, Mattysse stops with an uppercut. Matthysse double jabs. Provodnikov to the body and head, then gets wailed by Matthysse. Minute left in round. Right hand from Provodnikov lands. Mattysse is crowding Provodnikov, big hook from Provodnikov lands. Left hook from Provodnikov. Another! Good round. 20-18 Matthysse
Round 3: Replay shows a head butt caused the cut on Provodnikov’s eye. Right hand from Matthysse lands in the center of the ring. Right from Provodnikov answered by same from Lucas. Lucas to the body, then the head. Provodnikov counters with left. Matthysse uppercut. Matthysse is controlling the distance well. Provodnikov unloads with combination, but Matthysse is on the move. Nice jab from Matthysse. Another. Good jab work, followed by a right from Matthysse. Three punch combo backs up a plodding Provodnikov. Left hook from Provodnikov answered by combination from Matthysse. Two lefts to the head, then the body from Provodnikov and gets Matthysse along the ropes. Good exchange to finish the round. 30-27 Matthysse
Round 4: Back at it, Provodnikov trying to activate his jab. Matthysse working on the body more at the beginning of this installment. Back to the head. Right from Provodnikov. Provo jab, jab, right. Matthysse working the perimeter. When Provodnikov gets too close, Lucas smothers him and shuts down the action. Provodnikov landing well with both hands. Left hook from Matthysse. They exchange left hooks. Minute left in the round. Upper cut from Matthysse. Provodnikov, big left. Provodnikov big right! Another. Matthysse lands two big punches to the head. Good action. Provodnikov to the body. Provodnikov left hook, then Matthysse straight right. 39-37 Matthysse
Round 5: Matthysse comes out jabbing, lands. Left, left, Matthysse, Provodnikov back with combo. Big right from Provodnikov to the head. Provodnikov keeps coming forward, blood dripping. Looks like a nightmare. Right, then left from Matthysse. Close quarters in the middle of the ring. Provodnikov lands two stiff jabs. Left from Provodnikov answered by right and left from Matthysse. Good exchanges. Left hook Provodnikov. Minute left in the round. Provodnikov’s jab is on. Provodnikov stalking, pressuring eats a jab. CBack to inside fighting in the middle of the ring. Both landing to the head. Good combination to finish the round by Matthysse. 48-47 Matthysse
Round 6: Vamos! Jab, left uppercut from Matthysse. Right Provodnikov, Provodnikov with a stiff jab. Big combination from Lucas. Another combination lights Provodnikov up. Matthysse with left hook. They tie up. Middle of the ring, big right from Matthysse. Provodnikov left to the body, Matthysse smashes him back with hard combination. Matthysse double jabs, broken up by hook from Provodnikov. Right, then uppercut from the Argentine. Right from Matthysse. Combination from Matthysse lands well. Left hook from Provodnikov. Matthysse doges a left hook and counters with a right. Left hook from Provodnikov ends the round. 58-56 Matthysse
Round 7: Three punch combination from Matthysse to open the round. Another comb. Provodnikov not answering repeated punches. Matthysse jabbing. Big left hook from Lucas. Left hooks to the body from Provodnikov. Matthysse smother, then backs up and jabs. Great boxing. Five punch combo from Provodnikov. The Russian keeps eating punches but coming forward. Right hand from Matthysse. Two left hooks from Provodnikov to the head. Minute left. Provodnikov’s face is a bloody mess. Provo, right to the body. Provo throwing but not catching the Argentine. Right from Matthysse. 68-65 Matthysse
Round 8: Matthysse comes out punching and backs Provodnikov back. Provodnikov with a left hook, Matthysse answers with combination. Double left hooks to Matthysse’s head. Right to the body from Matthysse. Right from Provodnikov around Matt’s jab. Provodnikov stalking, Matthysse pushes back with left-right. Matthysse jab. Right from Matt. Spins Provodnikov around and lands a right. Another right. Answered by a four-punch combo from Provodnikov. Matthysse using his jab to keep Provodnikov back. Ruslan charges. Matthysse jabbing effectively. Misses with right. Provodnikov combination, has Matthysse in the corner. Right from Provodnikov in the center of the ring. 78-74 Matthysse
Round 9: They come out working the jabs. Matthysse lands a right. Jab, jab from Matthysse. Jabbing well pushing Provodnikov back. Provodnikov to the body. Left, right from Provodnikov lands hard. They exchange sharp jabs. Provodnikov hooks. Another. Left to the body from Provodnikov. Right from Provodnikov to the head. The Russian stalking. Matthysse still jabbing well. Provodnikov jab lands, he’s on the balls of his feet. Looks fresh despite his bloody mug. Matthysse with left hook. Matthysse right, answer by the same from Provodnikov. Nice right from Provodnikov. Hard shots from Provodnikov to steal the round. 87-84 Matthysse
Round 10: Provodnikov lands a left hook coming out of the corner. Matthysse jabbing and boxing. Lands a right. Lucas with a stiff jab. Provodnikov with three punch combo. Right from Matthysse,. Exchange of left hooks. Left from Provodnikov. Provodnikov with a left, Mattysse jabs in control. Hook from Matthysse to the liver. Now one from Provodnikov. Minute left, center of the ring. Provodnikov left lands hard. Matthysse in the corner, spins out. Left from Provodnikov lands hard. Three lefts from Matthysse. The tie up with 10 seconds left. Provodnikov lands a right at the bell. 96-94 Matthysse
Round 11: They exchange at close quarters and Matthysse takes to the perimeter. Exchange of lefts, and back to the center. Matthysse jabbing, Lucas to the body. Left from Lucas answered by right from Provodnikov. Right from Provodnikov to the body, Time out while they fix Matt’s tape…waiting….ok. Matthysse jabs and Provodnikov lands a left. And a big uppercut. Provodnikov to the body. Right-left hook from Matthysse. Left hook from Provodnikov hurts Matthysse. Back in the center. Nice jab from Lucas. Right from Provodnikov. Another left hook from Provodnikov. Right and left from Provodnikov! Matthysse smothering and pushing Provodnikov back,. Provodnikov looking to land a big shot. 105-104
Round 12: Last round! The boys hug in the center of the ring. Provodnikov with right hand, pushing Matthysse to the ropes. Jab jab from Matthysse. Again. Provodnikov charges forward. Matt in the corner, he gets out. Right from Matthysse, Provodnikov looking for the big shot. Right, left hook from Matthysse. Good exchange, both land. Matthysse jabs. Provodnikov trying to get inside, Matthysse using his jab to keep at bay. Provodnikov with a left hook. Right from Matthysse answer by harder right from Provodnikov. Right from Provodnikov. They exchange in the center. They tie up. It’s over close round. 114-114 Draw!
Official scores: 114-114 draw, 115-113 Matthysse, 115-113 Matthysse
Matthysse wins by majority decision.