This one has “Fight of the Year” written all over it.
When Lucas Matthysse (36-3, 34 KO’s) and Ruslan Provodnikov (24-3, 17 KO’s) face off this Saturday, the fans can look forward to a battle to be fought primarily on offense; two skilled and aggressive warriors known to never take a step back. Solid chins, heavy hands, and a battle tested mentality aim to make this contest an early front runner for the year end awards even without a title at stake. It all takes place at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York. The fight, along with Terence Crawford’s jump to the super lightweight division against Thomas Dulorme, will be televised by HBO.
Fighting out of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Lucas Matthysse is a former WBC super lightweight title holder coming off two stoppage wins. “La Máquina”, “The Machine” is technically the better of the two and has an edge in hand speed as well. Working off the jab, he executes damaging combinations and has the ability to end a fight with any punch from either hand. Looking at the numbers, his ability to finish off hurt opponents is evident with 95% of his wins coming inside the distance.
His three defeats (Zab Judah, Devon Alexander, Danny Garcia) were all scenarios in which he was in against fast, skilled boxers that wouldn’t get into a toe to toe exchange knowing full well what the outcome would be. He has yet to meet another aggressive fighter that can match his tenacity, though John Molina came close in their bout last April. In one of the Tribune’s FOTY nominees, Molina dropped Matthysse twice early in the bout, but couldn’t hold up when met with the former champs return fire; he fell victim to two knockdowns in the later rounds and was stopped in the 11th frame. Matthysse followed up by getting back in the title picture by winning the WBC Silver super lightweight belt with a stoppage over then undefeated Roberto Ortiz.
He won’t have to look hard for his opponent, former WBO super lightweight champion, Ruslan Provodnikov. Coming in off a five round drubbing of former world champ Jose Luis Castillo, the “Siberian Rocky” is also looking to move back into title contention after losing his belt in a questionable split decision to Chris Algieri in June.
Like Matthysse, Provodnikov shows little regard for fancy defense; basically, his offense is his defense. Tough as nails, he’s a fighter that’ll take two shots to land one, then take two more to land another, with his punches doing the greater damage as they did against Timothy Bradley; though he lost the fight, it was Bradley who took the beating, suffering a concussion as a result of Provodnikovs tireless aggression and refusal to be deterred. His relentless pressure can break any man down over a 12 round fight.
Calling for this to end in a knockout would be easy…if these were two different fighters, but both have the chin to match their offensive abilities. A few knockdowns aside, this one should go the 12 round distance and won’t disappoint.