Showtime Boxing Preview: Andrade v. Nelson; Provodnikov v. Molina Jr.
By: Matthew N. Becher
This Saturday at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in upstate Verona, New York, Showtime Boxing will present three televised boxing matches. The first will include the return of former Jr. Middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade. The second, a title fight, for the vacant WBC Lightweight belt and finally the main event, a possible fight of the year contender, between the always exciting John Molina Jr. and “The Siberian Rocky” Ruslan Provodnikov.
Demetrius Andrade (22-0 15KO) v. Willie Nelson (25-2-1 15KO): Jr. Middleweight
Demetrius Andrade was on the fast track to a great career. The undefeated fighter out of Rhode Island was beating every fighter they put in front of him. By 2013 he became a world champion, defeating a very tough Vanes Martirosyan to become the WBO Jr. Middleweight titlist. Andrade would defend his title one time in 2014, against Brian Rose, and then subsequently be stripped of his title due to inactivity and problems with his promotional team. Andrade is a former amateur standout and 2008 US Olympian. Besides his fight with Martirosyan, this fight with Nelson will be his toughest to date, and an impressive win could fast track him back to the top of the division, and a possible title shot later this year.
Willie Nelson is no slouch of a fighter. Also sporting a great amateur record, Nelson has a solid professional record with only two losses. After a loss to Vanes Martirosyan in 2014, Nelson has been a bit inactive with only 2 fights since. His two fights though came in the way of big knockouts, one against an undefeated Tony Harrison, and the other against a lesser known opponent in Jonathan Batista. This fight against Andrade could launch nelson as a major player in the 154 lb. division, and it will not be an easy task against the undefeated Andrade, but one that Nelson is very much able to do.
Dejan Zlaticanin (21-0 14KO) v. Franklin Mamani (21-2-1 12KO): WBC Lightweight Title
This belt was recently stripped off of Jorge Linares, due to Linares having a hand injury and not being able to face his mandatory opponent, Dejan Zlaticanin. Dejan is a 32 year old southpaw from the country of Montenegro. He packs some serious power and this is his biggest fight to date. This will only be his second fight in the United States, with most of his matches taking place in and around his native country. Dejan has recent victories over Ricky Burns, Alex Bone and Ivan Redkach. With his brawler type style, Zlaticanin will look to be the aggressor of this fight and make his dream come true of becoming the lightweight champion of the world.
Mamani is the 84th ranked lightweight in the world. The biggest win of his career came against an old DeMarcus Corley in 2013. Mamani has not fought outside his native Bolivia in the last 4 years and has never been on a televised card or fought in the United States. He will definitely have his hands full against the undefeated Zlaticanin, but will have the opportunity to sneak out a win and become a World Champion if he can stick to his game plan and keep the Montenegrin off of him.
Ruslan Provodnikov (25-4 18KO) v. John Molina Jr. (28-6 23KO): Welterweight
What can be said about both these fighters that we do not already know? They are both come forward, punch for punch warriors. Both leave everything in the ring and have the ability to stop any opponent with one punch. Every fight they are in, is a Fight of the Year contender. So what happens when you put them up against each other? Only fireworks we imagine.
Ruslan Provodnikov is entering the end of his career. The former Jr. Welterweight world champion has been in some of the most exciting fights of the last 3 years. He has shared the ring with the likes of Timothy Bradley Jr., Mike Alvarado, Chris Algieri, and Lucas Matthysse. Provodnikov is must watch boxing. He is a stalker, who possesses punishing power in both hands and has literally been known to say that he would rather die in a ring then go down. Provodnikov is looking to make a last attempt at a world championship fight, or at least get a chance to fight some of the bigger names in the division, but first he will have to get past John Molina Jr. to make that a reality.
Molina is 33 and has lost 3 of his last 4 fights. He has knocked out Hank Lunch and lost to Antonio DeMarco. He shocked us all with his come from behind final knockout win against Mickey Bey and went shot for shot against Lucas Matthysse in 2014. Molina is a throwback fighter, which is very similar to his opponent Provodnikov. They have been very friendly in the build up to this fight, but on Saturday night, both will enter the ring, looking to hurt the other.
We expect this fight to live up to the hype. Almost every time these guys get into a fight, it turns into an all-out war. Will one of these men be able to break the others will, because that is what it is going to take. Tune in Saturday at 9pm to see.