Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Can Freddie Roach Help Ruslan Provodnikov Get Back On The Road To Success?


That's what I thought of while rewatching the Ruslan Provodnikov-Lucas Matthysse fight. Like Dempsey, Provodnikov kept moving forward. And, like Tunney, Matthysse stepped back and nailed his man with effective punches. Thing is, Provodnikov was never able to unload on Matthysse the way Dempsey was finally able to unload on Tunney. There was no controversy to be found between these two modern warriors. There was no long count, no question of who the better man was in the ring.

Truth be told, I've been iffy about Provodnikov for a while. Sure, he seems like a great guy and he's a whole lot of fun to watch. But while everyone else was singing his praises last spring, I was wondering if Chris Algieri would have a chance against him. That's not a boast, just the truth.

My suspicions proved to be correct. Algieri DID give Provodnikov a hard time. Don't get me wrong, I thought Provodnikov beat Algieri that night last June, but no matter. The Long Islander made Provodnikov look shaky, regardless. The fact that Manny Pacquiao went on to make Algieri look close to amateurish a few months later didn't help Provodnikov's case, either.

Still, Freddie Roach, Provodnikov's trainer, said in a recent interview that he's going to try to redo his fighter's strategy. Simply put, he wants the guy to box more and to pretty much be less of an easy target. Roach is right to wish for a change in style, for Provodnikov's current MO is dangerous, not just for his career, but for the man's overall health, as well. After all, there's only so many hard shots a dude can take to the head.

Will Roach succeed in his plan? That depends as much on Provodnikov as it does anyone else, frankly. Hopefully the Siberian will take his trainer's advice seriously. He can't afford too many more beatings like the one he took against Matthysse. After all, Dempsey ended up having a full life outside of boxing - and Provodnikov will want to have one, too.

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