By Sean Crose
It may never have been able to live up to the insurmountable expectations of fans and members of the media alike. Still, The Lucas Matthysse – Ruslan Provodnikov was some kind of fight, a bloody, grinding affair that more than delivered.
Matthysse emerged victorious with a majority decision win, but it was no easy task. The Argentinian looked simply amazing during the first portion of the bout, firing vicious straight punches at his Siberian foe and seemingly landing at will.
It was surprising to see Provodnikov seeming so helpless early on, but the man proved worthy of his reputation. For it ended up being a close fight indeed, with Matthysse holding quite a bit at the end while Provodnikov landed some thunderous shots.
Give the “Siberian Rocky” this – the guy has incredible heart. Indeed, it looked like the bout might not last that long during the first few rounds, for Matthysse was that dominant. Still, Provodnikov simply would not stop. In fact, Matthysse admitted he was hurt in the eleventh. The Argentine even went so far as to say Provodnikov was similar to stone.
To be sure, Provodnikov can take a punch. Oh, his face was a mess and he looked completely beat up throughout the bout, but he never went down. He didn’t even appear to be that close to going down, no matter how hard and how frequently Matthsse landed on him So there’s that.
Still, It was Matthysse’s night and it’s hard to imagine too many arguing that the decision was unfair. It was a close bout, true, but one which appeared to be judged fairly.
“I give it all. I give a hundred percent,” Provodnikov claimed after the match. It was hard to deny that fact. Where the Russian will go from here is uncertain. He’s been beaten now by two top level fighters – Timothy Bradley and now Matthysse. Yet neither man beat him by much. With that in mind, it may be foolish to write Provodnikov off just yet.
As for Matthysse, the road ahead should be an interesting one. To be sure, the man made it clear after Saturday’s win that he wants to fight luminaries Floyd Mayweather and/or Manny Pacquiao. The truth, however, is that it’s very unlikely Matthysse will face either man after their May throwdown.
For starters, Matthysse is a junior welterweight, while Floyd and Manny are battling for welterweight supremacy. Furthermore, Provodnikov isn’t of the caliber of either of those two men. Oh, he’s good, make no mistake about it, but Provodnikov is nowhere near the level of boxing’s two biggest draws.
In the end, however, it’s hard not to conclude that the future looks bright for Matthysse.
He’s now undoubtedly one of the top fighters in a red hot division. Danny Garcia may have beaten Matthysse a few years back, but Garcia has looked far from stellar lately. What’s more, the same can be said for showboating Adrien Broner.
So, while Saturday’s fight may not have been the classic fans demanded, it was a very telling, relevant and exciting battle. HBO should be pleased. Fans should be pleased. And, most importantly, the fighters themselves should be pleased.
Crawford Dominates In Texas
Thomas Dulorme entered the ring in Arlington, Texas on Saturday dressed like he just walked off the set of “Gladiator.” One couldn’t help but wonder if the man would need the fake armor he was donning against his opponent. For Terrence Crawford entered Saturday’s bout a true figure on the rise.
Boasting an undefeated record (25-0-17) the man called “Bud” had gone through such tough competition as Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Raymundo Beltran in the course of a single year. Yet Dulorme (22-1-14) had faced some solid competition of his own.
For names like Hank Lundy and Karim Mayfield dotted his resume. It might not have been a magnificent matchup – but it was an interesting one to start off HBOs weekend double header with. Dulorme’s fast hands were evident early in the fight, but Crawford’s cool demeanor may have been even more evident.
In fact, for the first quarter of the bout, Crawford owned the ring. He didn’t throw a lot, but he controlled the tempo, fired clean jabs and looked like a hunter slowly and carefully moving in on his prey.
Yet by the fourth round, it was becoming clear that Crawford wasn’t throwing nearly enough. HBOs Harold Lederman had Dulorme up two rounds to one on his unofficial card due to the Puerto Rican’s more active offense. Crawford tried showboating, but was it enough for the Nebraska native to take the round?
Indeed the fight had slipped into a pattern as the bout headed into its middle portion. Dulorme would whiz straight punches that would nearly land or land lightly while Crawford would do pretty much the same, only with less frequency.
Then, in the sixth, everything changed. Dulorme went down. He got up, but Crawford beat his man to the canvas again. Dulorme rose for a second time, only to have Crawford batter him to the canvas once more, causing the fight to be halted.
It ended up being an impressive affair. Crawford was a man who simply had the confidence to wait for his moment to arrive. Once that moment came – the match was all over. It was also worth noting that Crawford was not overeager to end the bout once Dulorme was injured.
To be sure, Crawford picked up the pace, but he didn’t go wild. He simply turned up the proverbial volume, fired with speed, power and accuracy, and carried the night. There could be little doubt in anyone’s mind after the bout that the newly crowned WBO Super Lightweight Champion was a force to be reckoned with at junior welterweight.
“I thought I had a hell of a performance,” Crawford claimed in the post fight interview, “but first and foremost I’d like to thank God.”
HBO’s Max Kellerman went on to ask Crawford how he would describe his fighting style. “Versatile,” Crawford responded. “I feel like I can do whatever.”
It was frankly hard to argue with the man.
They done well.