Who’ll rescue and save this Russian hero? | Inquirer Sports
Bare Eye

Who’ll rescue and save this Russian hero?

/ 01:46 AM April 23, 2015

When Manny Pacquiao was asked two years ago if he would bother to fight Ruslan Provodnikov, the Filipino boxing superhero declined candidly. Pacquiao explained that there were many fights ahead which should suite the devil-may-care style and incredible toughness of the Russian warrior called the Siberian Rocky.

Provodnikov, who also trains under Freddie Roach, was facing a bright future, Pacquiao said. This was in November 2013 when Pacquiao staged a successful comeback against Brandon Rios in Macau. Provodnikov was a ringside guest of promoter Bob Arum.

It was obvious though that Pacquiao, although he would not admit it openly, did not like to end up destroying Provodnikov, who always left his armor in the dugout whenever he would wage war inside the boxing ring.


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On Sunday, Pacquiao saw for himself what could’ve happened had he called Provodnikov’s challenge.

In a furious and cruel slugout against Argentine star Lucas Matthysse, Provodnikov, definitely uncovered, lost it by majority decision. He got cut over the left eye early, but kept plodding through a gory and bloody mask, to put his foe in trouble with a thunderous combination in the 11th round.

Provodnikov was outpointed but never outfought.

He was destroyed but never defeated.

* * *

What’s rather odd though was the instant suggestion of Provodnikov’s manager with Banner Promotions for a rematch, as though the carnage had failed to uplift the sadists among the crowd in Verona, New York.


Enough is enough.

“Some close bitterly fought contests such as this do not require a reprise,” wrote Joel Callaghan for the Cruelest Sport. “The fight concluded with a sense of having reached its ultimate limits.”

Matthysse will move on to bigger fights, Callaghan added, Provodnikov will be frozen with this fight-“obstinate, disfigured, unmistakable.”

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The morning after, the Associated Press reported that the full toll of the punishment in Provodnikov’s body was manifested in the bloody urine sample he submitted in the postfight doping test. Ruslan posted a photograph of his sample to his Instagram account.

Cried Provodnikov: “I want to say sorry to my fans. I lost and I felt I could’ve won.”

He said it was the only other time in his career (the first one was in his bout against Tim Bradley) when he did his doping test and “I had black urine.”

Provodnikov said he hoped everybody saw what they expected from him.

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(CAIDIC & HINES: The Municipality of Cainta, under Mayor Keith P. Nieto, will stage the 1st One Cainta Small Basketeers League (14 and under) involving teams from different barangays and subdivisions starting on Friday, April 24. The tournament will be handled by the All Stars Basketball Club with assistance from coaches Allan Caidic and Rudolf “Rudy” Hines. Venue is the air-conditioned Cainta One Arena. Come and see aspirant players from San Beda, San Benildo, University of Santo Tomas, Trinity University of Asia, show their talents and skills.)

TAGS: Boxing, Manny Pacquiao, pacquiao vs mayweather column, Sports

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