John Molina got a well-deserved win over Ruslan Provodnikov in a less-than expected, but still exciting matchup. Molina and Provo have each given us enough thrillers, so they are allowed to have a B+ fight every now and then. It was still exciting, but true to form, Ruslan can even make sluggers box. In this same building more than one year ago (Turning Stone Casino) the same thing happened to Lucas Matthysse. I think the bloom is off the Provodnikov rose, and even he seemed to acknowledge it. A loser of 5 close-ish decisions, he had always felt he did enough to win in the other scenarios. His complaints lessened each time from Herrera to Bradley to Algieri to Matthysse, to Molina, when he finally looked saddened and resolved to his fate.
We may have seen the last of Provodnikov, as a fighter like him si not supposed to have a long career anyway. Plus, without hunger, a fighter like him is living on borrowed time anyway. For Molina, he finally did something I had been suggesting his whole career... found his jab. I am not sure if it was situational for this fight, or Shaheed Suluki was finally the trainer who made it happen, but even with average boxing skills, he was light years better. As an open-promoted fighter, he is available to anyone, and may even get the Crawford-Postol winner. Although I'd rather see him in an exciting scrap with Ricky Burns or Eduard Troyanovsky. Still considered highly beatable, this was the perfect win for him to advance his career.
Another former Soviet-Bloc fighter, Ukraine's Vasyl Lomachenko looked as good as one could look against Rocky Martinez. True, Martinez has gotten a couple questionable verdicts go his way, but other than his fight with Mikey Garcia, he has been competitive against everyone, and never been stopped. He was dominated by Loma, and knocked flat out. There is no louder statement. Loma would be heavily favored over the only fighter to beat him: Orlando Salido, and hopefully we will see that rematch soon. However, the 130lb division has many options: rematches and first fights: Vargas-Miura 2, Vargas-Salido 2, Loma-Salido 2, Loma-Miura, Loma-Vargas, Salido-Miura... all would be amazing scraps, and they have already fought each other many times. There are no promotional hiccups to these matches. The boxing world has been waiting for a scenario like this in any division for a long time... a true throwback round robin of competitive matches.
In other action, Rico Ramos got back into the win column, but did very little to make anyone think he will be world champion again. He does not shy away from tough competition, however, and like fellow SoCal native John Molina, has pulled multiple fights out of the fire with KO wins. Dejan Zlaticanin looks like the real thing, and his record backs that up. I do not see anyone at 135 lbs that can beat him, and Jorge Linares would be wise to stay away. The Montenegrin has already been to the UK once to beat Ricky Burns, and I'd pick him over both Crolla and Flanagan. Much like Quigg and Frampton, that unification must happen, before a better foreign fighter beats the winner. For Frampton, it was Rigo (whom he ducked). For Flanagan, it would be Zlaticanin. He is that good.