Don’t block off that date and tussle in your head just yet, boxing addicts.
The Ruslan Provodnikov-Lucas Matthysse potentiality, a lead dog as potential Fight of the Year for 2015, IF it comes off, is in the works. But there is still a distance to go, and terrain to deal with, and possibly shifting terrain at that…so we should all hold our horses a bit, I think.
That’s according to boy wizard manager Vadim Kornilov, who helps steer the Ruslan ship. He checked in from sunny Cali, as we battened down the hatches in the Northeast for a possibly historic snowstorm. The reality of that snowfall fell short here in Brooklyn, and reminded me to not get ahead of myself and assume things will be. “The fight is not a “go,” Kornilov told me. “We are negotiating. It’s very possible. Oscar wants to make the big fights so that’s good.”
Oscar is De La Hoya, seeking to maintain and grow and clarify his place in the promotional sphere, and getting a thumbs up from the boxing heads with his stated desire to have the best fight the best. He has Matthysse under the Golden Boy banner, and seems quite keen to set up this clash of two men who operate under the destruct and destroy mantra.
“That fight is dangerous for everybody,” Kornilov told me, correctly noting that the stakes are high for a Ruslan vs. The Machine rumble, with the loser, hell, and the winner, possibly, leaving a piece of themselves in whatever ring they might be operating in.
Kornilov said that Team Matthysse would like for a world title, maybe the WBO’s, to be up for grabs. That WBO 140 pound strap is being fought over by deal-makers, who see the vacant slot—made so because the ‘BO boys stripped Chris Algieri of the same when he decided to give a shot at ’47 and Manny Pacquiao—as a thing to be coveted. (I have to guess and think that Algieri gets a shot at re-gaining that belt, but that’s in a “fair world,” and hellooo, anyone here think this world is FAIR? Lol.) Kornilov thinks fans would rather see Provo and Matt tangle for a vacant crown than, say, Terence Crawford, the current WBO 135 champ, against No. 1 rated Chris Algieri, but this is a matter of politics, so there will be behind the scenes machinations, and we won’t be privy to the sausage making there…
So, in other words, there are things still to be ironed out. And, don’t forget, there are other shoes to drop in the next week, or two weeks, which could cause a massive reshuffling of what we THINK is the likely near-term landscape. If Mayweather surprises us and takes the Manny fight, then I don’t think a Provodnikov-Matthysse fight gets impacted. But what if Floyd does a Cotto sequel? Then Manny needs his Plan B. If Plan B is Amir Khan, and terms don’t get hashed out, for whatever reason, then he needs a Plan C.
About Plan C…
“There is still a chance for Pacquiao vs. Provodnikov,” Kornilov informed me. “We are still in the mix.” And but of course, a date with The Congressman would take precedence over a violent waltz with The Machine. Kornilov and me and previously, Freddie Roach, and then Pacman advisor Michael Koncz have all come out and said Jesse Vargas isn’t a viable option as a Pacman foe right now. Provo is a name, guarantees a rumble-type atmosphere, so yes, I think we shouldn’t assume he is out of the running if Floyd rhymes with avoid wants to kick the Manny fight down the road some more. Along those lines…Kornilov and me both agreed that a quite possible scenario is this: Floyd plays out his two fights remaining on his Showtime/CBS deal. He then puts himself up for bidding, and the bidding war for what he would promise to include a fight with Manny would be stupid-huge. He has some ludicrous leverage there and in this business age, leverage is prized and utilized much more so over what is sought by the fans, or done on “principle” or for pride purposes.
“Freddie supports the idea of a Pacquiao-Provodnikov fight,” Kornilov continued. “Jessie Vargas as a foe? Not at all, I don’t think. You know Ruslan wouldn’t be running! So, a Provodnikov vs. Lucas fight is still contingent upon what Pacquiao does.
You heard Brandon Rios bring up the name of “the Russian” as a possible, but Kornilov is skeptical about his true desire. “I hope his promoter and manager, Arum and Cameron Dunkin, are as manly as him. I think Dunkin is against it. I think he’s afraid Provodnikov will finish off Rios.” (Note: I’ve tried to get Dunkin on the phone, to no avail, for months now, so I’d be happy to discuss the matter with him, if he decides to weigh in. Same goes for De La Hoya. Several requests to his people for him to chat with me have been curbed so if and when I hear from him I will happily add his two cents. BTW, I note these tidbits not for no reason, but to inform you readers that I try to do the right thing and get people on the record whenever possible.)
We should know in maybe a week or two if Provodnikov will fight Matthysse, Kornilov told me, and he wouldn’t say that the fight is a 95% certainty.
Readers, feel free to offer your theories, and your wants and desires for the near term.
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