SAN DIEGO, June 11, 2016 – California’s John Molina Jr. used a volume attack behind a solid jab to take the starch out of Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia, scoring one of his most meaningful victories to date with a unanimous decision. Judges scored it 117-111, 116-112, and 115-113.
It wasn’t the wild brawl many fans expected and hoped for from the 32 year old former junior welterweight champion nicknamed “The Siberian Rocky.” Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KOs) seemed off his game in his first appearance on Showtime against Molina Jr. (29-6, 23 KOs), 33, and he admitted it.
Provodnikov fought on the inside for the duration of the bout, going to the body of Molina but having no room for leverage to throw with authority. Molina mixed up his attack better, and the jab made all the difference in the fight. Who could have predicted that Molina would win the fight with superior boing?
Molina’s jab assault hurt Provodnikov mentally as well as physically; it seemed to demoralize Provodnikov. Afer the eighth round, trainer Joel Diaz shouted at Provodnikov, “Are you OK in there? Show me you’re OK!”
After the fight, Provodnikov didn’t dispute the decision. “Molina won the fight, he was better tonight, everything was the way it should have been. We expected that he was going to box, he was gonna to move, we expected him to do that.
Maybe it wasn’t my night tonight, maybe I don’t have the same hungriness as before, it was dificult for me to find my groove … There’s no excuses, it happened the way it happened, I lost the fight. I think I couldn’t find the hungriness that I had before tonight.
“I have to sit down and think about and figure out what was happening tonight. Maybe it was the motivation, maybe it was something else,” shrugged Provodnikov.
Molina said it was just the fight he needed. “Ruslan is a very notable name, a tough guy. I felt his punching power in there. He kept coming forward. People don’t realize I had my amateur career in te pros. Now it’s time for me to step out there and shine.
I have a new trainer, a new teacher in Shadeed Suluki. Everyone knew I could punch, no one knew I could actually throw punches … A fighter knows when he won a fight when they’re in the ring. I knew I won that fight, they were gonna be hard pressed to take it away from me,” said Molina.
Molina landed 377 of 1,092 total punches (35 percent), 225 of them power punches and 152 jabs. Provodnikov landed 283 of 702 punches (40 percent); he landed 197 power punches but only 86 jabs, half the jabs Molina did.
Provodnikov has been in so many wars, they may have caught up with him. He’s now lost four of his last seven fights. At some point a fighter has to be realistic about his opportunities and the skills he has to work with against life long after he leaves the ring.
On the undercard, junior middleweight Demetrius Andrade (23-0, 16 KOs) of Providence, Rhode Island showed no ring rust after two years off against against Willie Nelson (25-3-1 15 KOs) of Cleveland, winning with a 12th round TKO. It was the first time Nelson had ever been stopped 1:38 of Round 12.
Andrade blasted Nelson and landed a perfect right hook halfway through the first round, putting Nelson down on the canvas. Nelson recovered and it looked like he might stick around until the end of the fight as he always had before. It didn’t hurt Andrade to put quality rounds of boxing in the bank. Andrade dominated Nelson in every way. He smartly made himself a smaller target against the much taller Nelson, making himself hard to hit. He mixed up punches well to the body and landing smart upper cuts, a good weapon for Andrade.
Andrade started putting combinations together, and dropped Nelson again in the 11th round, and for the third and final time with another right hook at 1:38 of Round 12. Due credit to Nelson for hanging tough with Andrade, but he was plain outclassed. The numbers tell the story. Andrade landed 247 of 650 total punches (38 percent) against just 68 of 361 for Nelson, with 214 of those being power punches (57 percent).
Andrade said his long layout doesn’t bother him, telling Showtime’s Jim Gray “I’m still young, tall, black and handsome, I’m young enough and my reaction time is still good.” Andrade said Nelson pushed him, and he had to figure out what punches would work best. Once he did, “I put the puzzle pieces together and we got that knockout.
“I’m ready for the Charlo boys baby!” said Andrade. Andrade now becomes the mandatory challenger for Jermell Charlo (28-0, 13 KOs). Based on Saturday’s bout, it’s a fight fans can look forward to seeing.
Dejan “Dinamite” Zlaticanin (18-0, 11 KOs) of Montenegro now owns the WBC world lightweight vacated due to injury by Jorge Linares. Zlaticanin knows how to close the show. When he got opponent Franklin Mamani of Bolivia (21-3-1, 12 KOs) in trouble, he didn’t let up. He hurt Mamani in the third round with a left hook, and seconds later it was a right hook and a good mix of head and body shots, causing referee Charlie Fitch to stop the fight at 54 seconds of the third.
Zlaticanin is the first ever boxing title holder from his country. After the bout, he said “I made proud my Montenegrans, I want to thank my fans who came here to support me … I think they will be delighted and I think they still don’t know what this means. IN a few days, they will know!” said Zlaticanin.
Once Linares recovers from a broken hand, he will have the right to challenge Zlaticanin to get his belt back. Count on it.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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