Fight of the year, they said coming in, can’t miss. Warriors personified, two men who were born and bred to inflict violence upon other lesser beings. Who would be the lesser being at the Turning Stone Casino, in Verona, NY, the Siberian Rocky or the banger from Argentina?
Both men had their moments, for sure. Matt was on target, busy and mobile early. He had Ruslan’s face looking like a Halloween mask. But Provo came on late, didn’t listen to the bruising on his face, and he plugged forward. He landed power shots on a fatiguing Matthysse, and we went to the cards without a certainty who’d have their hand raised.
The scores were 114-114 (Ackerman), and 115-113, 1153, for Matthysse. A majority decision, in a fan friendly tangle.
Ruslan Provodnikov entered with a 24-3 mark, while Lucas was 36-3.
In the first, Lucas was the busier. He was accurate, Ruslan didn’t move his head enough. “Use your jab and give me head movement,” said trainer Marvin Samodio to Ruslan. In the second, we saw a cut on the left eye of the Russian. “It’s target practice right now, Jim,” said Bernard Hopkins. Ruslan backed up Matt late. In the third, Matt was fluid with combos. He flurried, moved, was the more mobile man, and he picked off the plugger Ruslan coming. In the fourth, Provod came forward, coming ahead, looking determined, and Matt liked seeing lots of blood streaming. A sharp right upper kicked back Ruslan’s head. A Ruslan right wowed the crowd. It was fun round, maybe one for the Rocky. Samodio asked for body work after.
In the fifth, the left to the body worked, and keeping distance helped Matt. Left hooks from Ruslan needed to be thrown in tight. Matt jabbed but was Provod’s power speaking louder? In the sixth, a sharp right lead had the crowd grooving for Matt. Blood came from Ruslan’s mouth now. His reflexes were getting slower. In the seventh, Matt was landing at will. His face was a mask of blood, was Ruslan’s.
In round eight, the length of Matt was helpful of course. Ruslan tagged him and sensed some opportunity late. In the ninth, we saw back and forth work, with Ruslan’s power speaking louder. In the the tenth, the jab worked for Matt. Ruslan dipped left and threw the hook, repeatedly. He landed a late right…were the judges digging his power work over Matt’s volume?
In the 11th, the power shots for Ruslan were landing. Hooks and the right for the Rocky were nasty. Matt looked to clinch and lost the round. In the 12th, Ruslan came out pressing. He had better energy in the second half of the fight. We went to the cards..
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