This Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York top Super Lightweights clash as Ruslan Provodnikov takes on Lucas Martin Matthysse as the main event of HBO’s Saturday night boxing program. Right now, the books have the Argentine Matthysse a (-145) favorite over the Russian Provodnikov, who is retuning at (+125). There are no over/under odds posted yet. The supporting card features six additional fights, including undefeated Super Welterweight Patrick Teixeira (24-0) facing Patrick Allotey (30-1), so check back to see if additional lines are added. Provodnikov (24-3) is still trying to bounce back from his June of 2014 loss to Chris Algieri. He came back in November of 2014 with a fifth round TKO win over Jose Luis Castillo, but the win was not enough to remove the impression left by the loss to Algieri. Prior to the loss to Algieri, he fought all-world Timothy Bradley in a UD loss that elevated his status and then he retired Mikey Alvarado in the tenth round of their October 2013 bout after he was cut in the seventh, He was trending up and seemed to be heading for the big money fights. The Algieri fight was supposed to be a final audition for a bout with Manny Pacquiao, as Top Rank President Bob Arum was in attendance to see Provodnikov for himself. The rest is history, as Aagieri out-gutted Provodnikov and went on to take the Pacquiao fight himself. In that match, Algieri came back down to earth in everyone’s eyes, making the questions around Provodnikov arise again. Why did the feared Russian slugger fail to do to Algieri what Pacquiao did? In Matthysse (36-3), the Russian gets to face a fighter who is looking for big fights himself, and he is in the hunt not with the doubts of Provodnikov, but with a chip on his shoulder as he screams he will fight anyone. In September of 2013 he lost a narrow UD to undefeated Danny Garcia where his purse was about $1 million dollars, but that fight was on the Saul Alvarez versus Floyd Mayweather Jr undercard and was a potential showcase to the real big money. Denied that, Matthysse has stayed busy, stopping John Molina Jr and Roberto Ortiz to give him 34 stoppages in his 36 wins. This fight may come down to who wants it more, and that could make it a very entertaining fight. In Matthysse you get a guy who is usually hunting for the stoppage and who must feel that at 32 years old and with a lot of wars, his time is now. Provodnikov is now 31 years old and he finds himself trying to build up to where he was just a little while ago. Against Castillo, he had the fight in Moscow, Russia where he fought a smaller man in front of a wildly partisan audience that included his mother. He did his job, getting a stoppage in five, but for a fighter who has been consistently spotlighted on HBO, it was a bit of a slip from the spotlight. The question is going to be does he come in with his usual aggression against Matthysse, or is he still carrying the baggage. One other item worthy of note is that Matthysse, though known as a slugger, is also an extremely skilled boxer who seemed to outbox Danny Garcia in the early going of their bout. It gives Matthysse an additional “out” in the fight.
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