VERONA — The anticipated war expected from John Molina and Ruslan Provodnikov never materialized. That wasn’t due to effort. It was the focused game plan of John Molina, who used a consistent jab to keep Ruslan Provodnikov neutralized and win a clear unanimous decision (117-111, 116-112 and 115-113).
RUSLAN NEVER MET A JAB HE DIDN’T LIKE GETTING PUNCHED BY: At this point, we know what to expect from Ruslan Provodnikov. Nonetheless, it’s still amazing to see how easily Provodnikov gets befuddled by a stiff jab. Molina used it to keep him off balance and stuck on the outside. With Molina’s taller height and reach, it let him control the exchanges and reduce Provodnikov’s high workrate to sporadic power shots.
SIZE DIFFERENCE: Molina was 160 pounds last night. He claims that he weighed less, but he looked much bigger than Ruslan. Instead of sapping his energy, it proved beneficial in allowing Molina to muscle Provodnikov in clenches and withstand the isolated big power shots.
A LOSS OF HUNGER?: Provodnikov had no qualms last night admitting Molina was the better man. The surprising thing was him stating “something was wrong” and he had “lost his hunger.” You’d think making his Showtime debut and this being his first network TV fight since losing to Chris Algieri would be motivation enough to bring his “A-game.”
To Ruslan’s credit, he did adjust in the last few rounds by finally moving his head and doubling/tripling the jab. But we all know that isn’t his forte, and more often than not he still got outworked in exchanges.
Provodnikov was ranked as high as #3 by the WBA, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Molina jump to a title shot against the organization’s new champion, Ricky Burns.