By Vladimir Lik
Posted: November 7, 2015
Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
In his first bout since losing a hard fought battle with Lucas Matthysse in April and his first bout since parting ways with trainer Freddie Roach, Ruslan “Siberan Rocky” Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs) stopped previously unbeaten Mexican fighter Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez (14-1, 11 KOs) by TKO in the fourth round in Monte Carlo. The official time of the stoppage was 1:19.
Provodnikov overwhelmed the much younger Rodriguez with combinations to the body and head and also was able to bring his hands back up to cover his face much to the delight of Provodnikov’s new trainer Joel Diaz. Diaz promised to add a defensive strategy to go along with Provodnikov’s hard-nose boxing ability.
Provodnikov started the bout a bit more cautious then we are used to seeing him, but still managed to assert his aggressiveness by forcing Rodriguez to back up. Provodnikov tested Rodriguez’s body with a bruising right to the body.
Both fighters looked to exchange more in the Round 2, but Provodnikov was clearly the harder hitter and Rodriguez again would retreat into the ropes. Provodnikov let his hands go and caught Rodriguez with a sharp left uppercut and hard right hand before the round came to an end. Provodnikov also caught Rodriguez with a right hand to the shoulder which sent the over-matched Mexican flying into the ropes.
Provodnikov was active again in Round 3 and was beginning to stalk Rodriguez, knowing the end might be near. Rodriguez landed a sharp jab then followed up with a right hand, which landed flush on Provodnikov, but had little effect on the Russian brawler from Siberia.
Provodnikov landed a hard right hand on Rodriguez’s head which wobbled him and then unleashed a hard combination of lefts and rights that forced the young Mexican to go down. Rodriguez would get up only to be trapped in the corner by Provodnikov. Rodriguez got caught with a hard right hand and then a big left hook by Provodnikov and the referee called a halt to the bout.
This is the second time in recent history Provodnikov needed to go outside the United States to get a fight and get back in the win column. Following the loss to Chris Algieri in Brooklyn, Provodnikov’s team found it difficult to find an opponent so they went to Moscow to fight faded boxing star Jose Luis Castillo.
Provodnikov stopped Castillo in five rounds and then got the opportunity to get back on American television by battling Lucas Matthysse on HBO. Although Provodnikov was outboxed by Matthysse for most of the bout he again showed great toughness by fighting back and imploring his corner to not stop the fight.
Coming off this impressive win over Rodrgiuez, Provonikov will look to get back on U.S. television and perhaps avenge some losses. A rematch over former Diaz disciple Timothy Bradley would excite everything in the Provodnikov camp. Bradley will defend his WBO Welterweight title against Brandon Rios tonight on HBO.