It was expected to be a strong candidate for fight of the year.
When Argentinean bomber Lucas Matthysse and Russian powerhouse Ruslan Provodnikov were finished trying to take each other’s heads off, it’s clearly in the mix.
Matthysse landed dozens and dozens of powerful right uppercuts and crosses, mixed in with a plethora of stinging jabs to barely edge Provodnikov over twelve grueling rounds in the main event of HBO’s Boxing After Dark inside the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, N.Y.
Provodnikov was relentless in every round and was successful in goading his foe into many toe-to-toe brawls, but it was Matthysse’s better overall boxing and stiff jabs in the second half that proved to be the most successful.
Provodnikov suffered a nasty laceration on his left eyelid in the second round when the two sluggers inadvertently clashed heads. However, the cut wasn’t as bothersome as expected because Provodnikov never took a step back, winging bombs from every angle. Matthysse was forced to fight in spurts, but he was most effective when he set up with right-hand killers with the jab.
Provodnikov plugged away with monstrous shots to the body, but he was still getting tagged by too many clean shots from the outside. But with the fight slowly slipping away from the Russian, and with his corner threatening to potentially stop it after taking a hellacious beating in the sixth, Provodnikov picked up the pace even more.
Possibly needing a knockdown or even a knockout to win the fight entering the championship rounds, Provodnikov opened up his arsenal with every weapon he had. Matthysse tried to stay clear of the destruction, but Provodnikov eventually landed a plethora of brutal left hooks and sinister right hands. Matthysse’s knees buckled from the onslaught but he survived the round.
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“For sure I was hurt,” Matthysse revealed afterward. “In the 11th he hit me with a left and it hurt me. He is a tremendous puncher.”
But it wasn’t enough because in the end, Matthysse withstood everything and eked out enough of the rounds to be awarded a majority decision victory. The fight could have gone to either man, but two of the three ringside officials -- John McKaie and Glenn Feldman -- had it 115-113 for the Argentinean. Don Ackerman had it even at 114.
Matthysse, who improved to 37-3 with 34 KOs, said that he hurt his hand at some point in the fight, but it never stopped him from doing whatever he could to win. It was a major triumph for the former world champion, who then called out the winner of the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight next month, though there are already rumblings that a tussle with Terence Crawford or a rematch with Danny Garcia might be in store.
Provodnikov (24-4, 17 KOs) felt he won the fight but admitted that Matthysse was the hardest puncher he ever faced.
Crawford Drops Dulorme Three Times
Terence Crawford was the consensus fighter of the year in 2014 and he was confident to continue his sensational rise in the professional ranks in 2015. Saturday night in Arlington, Texas, it was so far, so good for the Omaha native as he patiently waited for opponent Thomas Dulorme to make a mistake and then capitalize.
And when Dulorme left his jab out there for a second too long, Crawford made him pay dearly and swiftly ended the fight.
Dulorme was effective early on with his left jab and in-and-out style, but Crawford stay disciplined throughout, looking for an opening. Dulorme appeared to win most of the early rounds, but even though Crawford couldn’t get his lethal right hand going, he remained patient until the time came to explode.
About a minute into the sixth round, Dulorme left his jab hanging out there, which allowed Crawford to deliver a crushing right hand over the top. The punch immediately buckled the Puerto Rican’s knees and after he stumbled into the ropes, a Crawford flurry felled him. Dulorme (22-2, 14 KOs) was able to climb back to his feet but he was badly wobbled. Crawford stalked him down, landing an assortment of shots to the head and body until a right cross dropped his foe again. Veteran referee Rafael Ramos allowed Dulorme to continue, but a surgical attack to the body finally knocked Dulorme down for good. The official time of the stoppage came at 1:51 into the sixth round, allowing Crawford to improve to 26-0 with his 18th professional knockout.
The immediate notion is that Crawford could next face the elite of the 140 lb. weight class, with his next bout possibly against either Provodnikov or Matthysse. His debut tonight at super lightweight was a sensational one as he also walked out the ring with the vacant WBO belt.
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