By Shelbi Keyes
Posted: June 13, 2016
After Defeating Ruslan Provodnikov, What’s Next for John Molina Jr.?
Ruslan Provodnikov vs. John Molina Jr. was anticipated to be a fight of the year candidate before the fighters had even stepped into the ring. While it wasn’t quite fight of the year caliber and it wasn’t a wild brawl like most expected; it was still a high contact and exciting fight to watch.
This was Molina’s biggest victory in his career thus far, after all, Molina was at one point as much as a 7-1 underdog to “The Siberian Rocky.” Molina was able to use his height and reach advantage to keep Provodnikov at bay, utilizing his jab.
Molina threw a total of 643 jabs, which allowed him to dictate the pace of the fight and not allow Provodnikov to get inside where he is most comfortable fighting.
Molina simply outboxed, outhustled and outworked Provodnikov. He landed nearly a hundred more punches 377 to 283, and threw 385 more punches than Provodnikov.
Along with Molina’s height and reach advantage, Molina rehydrated 20 pounds overnight and came into the fight as a Middleweight. The height, reach and weight advantages were the difference makers against the smaller Provodnikov.
And so, Molina came away with a unanimous decision victory in the 12-round Junior Welterweight main event at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York. The judges agreed on nine of the twelve rounds; Glenn Feldman had it 115-113, John McKaie had it 117-111, and Don Ackerman had it 116-112, all in favor of Molina.
Molina was fighting for the first time with his new trainer Shadeed Suluki, and that he said was the difference.
“He realized that I could use the jab, which was a bad word at one point in my career,” Molina said. “And he showed me how to use my feet. And use my God-given attributes, which is my height and reach advantage.”
So what is next for John Molina Jr.?
From the looks of it on Saturday night, Molina is back and better than ever. With his new trainer, he has evaluated his strong suits and was able to make changes to his style improving his record to 29-6, 23 KOs.
This was Molina’s second victory in a row after three straight losses. “It’s a fight that we needed,” said Molina. “Ruslan Provodnikov is a very notable name. He’s a tough, tough guy. He kept moving forward.”
“People don’t realize I had my amateur career in the pros, and now it’s my time to step out and shine… Shadeed showed me how to throw punches and use my power. We knew we had to outwork Provodnikov,” said Molina.
The Junior Welterweight division is stacked with superb boxers and stiff competition, so the possibilities for Molina are endless. Of course there is talk about a rematch with Adrien Broner.
In the first fight, Adrien Broner was able to outbox Molina over 12 rounds, using his footwork, allowing him to dictate the pace of the fight. With new trainer Suluki in his corner, Molina showcased a completely different style of boxing, which would make for an interesting rematch against Broner.
Another potential fight that fans have showed interest in is a fight between Molina and Chris Algieri. Their styles would make for a very interesting and exciting fight. Molina and Algieri have gone through recent rough patches in their careers, so this fight would be make or break for both fighters.
And last but not least, another fight that would have fans buzzing would be a fight against Timothy Bradley. Bradley beat Provodnikov in an all-out war in 2013 via unanimous decision, which was the Fight of the Year.
With Molina coming off of two straight victories with his new trainer, a fight between Molina and Bradley would make for a great matchup. This is the kind of fight boxing fans want to see.
With Molina’s newfound confidence and momentum, it looks as if he is ready for just about anyone. The Junior Welterweight division has some of the best competition in the sport and with almost any matchup, especially with the fighters mentioned above; boxing fans are in for a treat.
Photos by Amanda Westcott/Showtime