This? This is a good fight.
Two of the most fearsome men in all of boxing will battle it out in what is, on paper, a surefire contender for "Fight of the Year" as Argentine head-knocker Lucas Matthysse takes on "The Siberian Rocky," Ruslan Provodnikov, in the main event of an HBO split-site doubleheader.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE coverage, starting with the HBO broadcast at 9:45 p.m. ET.
Matthysse (36-3, 34 KO) came up short in the biggest fight of his career, a close but clear loss to division kingpin Danny Garcia on the undercard of the Mayweather-Alvarez showdown in 2013. Since then, he's been in one "Fight of the Year" (an 11-round war with John Molina) and one blowout (a two-round stoppage of Roberto Ortiz), but it's Garcia who's in his crosshairs.
Provodnikov (24-3, 17 KO), who reportedly signed to fight Matthysse just thirty minutes after the official offer, burst onto the scene with his tremendous 2013 bout with Tim Bradley, where he took the former titleholder to his limits in a close loss. His last three fights have seen him maul Mike Alvarado, drop a split decision to Chris Algieri, and stop the husk of Jose Luis Castillo.
The evening will open with another junior welterweight fight as undefeated lightweight champ Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KO) makes his 140-pound debut against Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14 KO) for a vacant WBO belt.
MATTHYSSE VS. PROVODNIKOV QUICK RESULTS:
Junior Welterweight: Lucas Matthysse def. Ruslan Provodnikov by majority decision (114-114, 115-113 x2)
Junior Welterweight: Terence Crawford def. Thomas Dulorme by TKO at 1:51 of Round Six
MATTHYSSE VS. PROVODNIKOV PLAY-BY-PLAY RESULTS:
Lucas Matthysse vs. Ruslan Provodnikov
Round one: Matthysse to the body early. Provodnikov on the advance as expected. To the body once again. Left hook up top from Lucas. Ruslan lands a hook, eats a right straight. 3-2 from Matthysse. Overhand right connects for the Russian. One minute in. Matthysse using his jab. Clinch. Provo to the body, met by an uppercut. Lead right from Lucas. Ruslan takes him to the ropes, but eats a right hand. One minute to go. Three-punch combo from Lucas, then a hook to the body. Ruslan tries to rough him up inside. Lucas to the body again. Double left hook connects. Clinch. Ruslan lands a stepping left and then both land hooks at the bell. 10-9 Matthysse.
Round two: Left hook from Provo, right hands from both. Nice combination from Matthysse, who's already marked Provodnikov up. Nice right hand from Matthysse. Lead right connects. BRUTAL combinations from Matthysse. Two-punch combination, ending with the uppercut. Clinch. One minute in. Uppercut, straight right by Matthysse, then another uppercut inside. Provodnikov to the body. Ruslan to the body, eats another heavy uppercut. Again. Same sequence again. Ruslan with an uppercut. Right cross by Lucas, clinch. One minute to go. Another uppercut by Matthysse. Clinch. Another left uppercut, Ruslan goes to the body. Nice lefts from both. Lucas body shot and upeprcut. Body shot. Left hook by the Russian. Provodnikov opens up with a combination before the bell. 20-18 Matthysse.
Round three: That is a nasty cut over Provodnikov's right eye, which is from an unintentional headbutt.
Another hard combination from Matthysse. Ruslan with a lead right. Left hook from Ruslan. Right uppercut from Matthysse. Body shot lands for him, then a lead right. Ruslan trying to mug inside, lands well to the body. 1-2 form Lucas. Left hook, left uppercut. One minute in. Overhand right from Ruslan. Body shots from both. Good jabs from Matthysse. Clinch. 1-2 from Lucas, then yet another uppercut. One minute to go. Three-punch combo by Lucas. Clinch. Ruslan with a left on the exit, then another. 1-2-3, then a 1-2 by Lucas. Ruslan with a left hook upstairs. Provo to the body and the head with rights. Matthysse firing back off the ropes. Nice hook and overhand from Ruslan met by a 1-1-2 by the Argentinian. 30-27 Matthysse.
Round four: Good right cross from Lucas. Quadruple jab and cross from Matthysse. 1-2, Provo to the body and Lucas answers. Clinch. Provodnikov swinging inside. One minute in. Provo with a left hook, Lucas answers and eats a right. Combination from Ruslan, then a left hook. Straight right by Lucas and a body shot. Ruslan right, Lucas left hook. Another left hook from Ruslan. Ruslan left hook. 1-1-2 by Ruslan, who eats a big uppercut and lands a right hand. Provo left hook and overhand right. Clinch. 1-2-3 by Lucas. Clinch. Provo with a double left hook and overhand right. Provo lands a pair of heavy blows before the bell. 39-37 Matthysse.
Round five: 1-3 from Lucas. Uppercut by Lucas. 1-2 connects. Ruslan continuing to wade forward and land with a big overhand and left hook. Clinch. 1-2 by Lucas, then a body shot. Overhand right, body shot by Lucas. Ruslan to the body. One minute in. Lucas body shot, right straight. Straight right, uppercut, left hook. Body shot. 1-2 from Lucas. One minute to go. Another right hand by Lucas. Ruslan undeterred. Clubbing shots inside. Cross from Ruslan. Lucas catches him with a right coming in, then a sequence of jabs and a left hook at the bell. 49-46 Matthysse.
Round six: Left hook from Matthysse, then a combination capped by an uppercut. Brutal three-punch combo by The Machine. Straight right, uppercut. Provo firing inside. Lucas continuing to end combinations with hard uppercuts. Lead right lands, then a 1-2-3. One minute in. Overhand right from the Argentinian, then a right on the exit. Ruslan to the body, eats a 1-3. 1-2 from Lucas, right hook. Lucas with a double left hook. Straight right, uppercut. One minute to go. Lucas landing power shot after power shot to the head and body. Ruslan can take ludicrous punishment. Left hook from Ruslan, then another. 1-2 from Lucas. Straight right connects. 1-2, 1-2-3, he can't miss. 59-55 Matthysse.
Round seven: 1-2-3 from Lucas, then a two-punch combination. Matthysse continuing to eat Ruslan up with combinations to the head. Heavy body shot from Lucas and now Ruslan looks cowed. Hard right hand, 1-1-2. Ruslan with a heavy body shot. 1-2 from Lucas, then a left hook. One minute in. 1-2-3 from Lucas, then a four-punch combo. Ruslan with a combo inside. Clinch. Another right hand from Lucas. Provodnikov doubles up the left hook. One minute to go. 3-1-2 by Lucas. Ruslan whiffs on a hook, lands an overhand right. Clinch. Lead right by Lucas. 69-64 Matthysse.
Round eight: 1-2 lands clean for Lucas. Big right hand lands, uppercut misses. Overhand right by Provo, then a left hook. Counter right from Lucas. Overhand right from Ruslan lands. One minute in. 1-2 from Lucas after taking a left hook. Triple jab and a right. Provodinkov tries to open up. Body shot by the Russian. One minute to go. Lucas using his jab well. Provo backs him off and tries a flurry. Good right hand as Matthysse backs to the ropes. Lucas keeps up the jabs until the round ends. 79-73 Matthysse.
Round nine: Counter hook from Ruslan met by a combination from Lucas. More jabs landing for Lucas. Ruslan with a body shot. One minute in. Ruslan to the body. Two-piece from Ruslan. Lucas continuing to do work with his jab, snapping his foe's head back. One minute to go. Ruslan backs him to the corner, can't land anything big. 1-1-2 from Matthysse, flurry from Lucas. Lead right by Ruslan. Ruslan with a right. Lucas with a right downstairs amid the jab onslaught. Nice combination from the Russian. Ruslan lands a left hook, then they land at the same time. 89-82 Matthysse.
Round ten: Ruslan still coming forward. Lucas still working behind his jab. Combination from Ruslan hits glove. Left hook by Lucas. Lucas pressing forward into the clinch. One minute in. Left hook lands for Ruslan, then a right cross and uppercut. Counter left as Ruslan opens up. Ruslan left hook. Lead rights from Lucas, then a left hook to the body. Clinch. Good right inside from the Russian. One minute to go. Straight right from Lucas, combination from Ruslan. Nice left hook by the Russian. Clinch. Lead right from Lucas. Clinch. Overhand right by Ruslan before the bell. 99-91 Matthysse.
Round eleven: Provodnikov still pressing forward, looking for combinations. Right hand from Matthysse. 1-2 by Lucas. Body shot by Lucas connects, as does a left up top. Clinch. One minute in. Ruslan to the body, Lucas with a 1-2. Left uppercut form Lucas. The ref pauses the fight to cut some loose tape. Lucas's corner doesn't have scissors, so it takes way too long. Good combo from Ruslan. Nice uppercut by the Russian. Body shot, left hook, another left hook. Left hook from Provodnikov and Lucas clinches. One minute to go. Another left hook by Ruslan, than an overhand right. Ruslan rallying but now Lucas is firing back. Uppercut by the Argentinian. Left hook from Lucas, then a lead right. Right from Ruslan. 108-101 Matthysse.
Round twelve: Quick hug before we get to the violence. Right hand from Provo, left hook from Lucas. Lucas firing his jab. Clinch. Clinch. One minute in. Overhand right from Ruslan, then another met by a left hook. Ruslan with a right downstairs. One minute to go. Ruslan opening up. Both land right hands. Ruslan to the body. Left hook downstairs. There's the bell. 117-111 Matthysse.
Final result: Matthysse def. Provodnikov by majority decision
Terence Crawford vs. Thomas Dulorme
Round one: Dulorme pumping his jab. Overhand right blocked. Counter right by Crawford connects. Again as Dulorme presses forward. One minute in. Clinch, Dulorme chips away at the body. Dulorme left hook, Crawford right hand. Dulorme to the body, then misses a 3-2. One minute to go. Right to the body again from Dulorme, who eats a check hook. Somewhat slow round. 10-9 Dulorme on activity.
Round two: 1-3-2 from Dulorme, subsequent left hook connects. Dulorme the more active man, though neither is landing clean. Dulorme with a right to the body. Crawford methodical with his jab. Good counter right. Clinch. One minute in. Dulorme combination blocked. Counter uppercut by Crawford lands. Clinch. One minute to go. Dulorme with a right downstairs. Counter right straight from Crawford, Dulorme to the body. Crawford tries to go downstairs before the bell. 19-19.
Round three: Dulorme keeping up a steady salvo of power punches. Nice exchange at point-blank. Lead right by Dulorme. One minute in. Dulorme comes up short with body punches, eats a right upstairs. Counter uppercut connects for Crawford. Crawford's jab working well. Overhand right and uppercut by the Puerto Rican. One minute to go. Nice body shot by Crawford and Dulorme ties up. Dulorme with a hook downstairs. Clinch. 29-28 Crawford.
Round four: Dulorme still winging far more punches, though not landing many. Straight right lands for him, then they trade right hands. Combination from Dulorme. One minute in. 1-2 downstairs by Dulorme. Crawford's jab is sharp, but there's not much else coming from him. Good combo from Dulorme met by a low blow. Lead right from Crawford. One minute to go. Both land hooks. Body shots. Crawford clowning, doesn't land until a three-punch combo at the buzzer. 38-38.
Round five: Jabbing early. Body shots from Dulorme. One minute in. Crawford has barely thrown a power punch this round. Right hand by Dulorme. Body shots. One minute to go. Right hand by Crawford. Right to the body by Dulorme, Crawford misses a shovel hook and clowns a bit. 48-47 Dulorme.
Round six: Counter right by Crawford, then on the lead. Big 3-2 rattles Dulorme. He steps unsteadily to the ropes, taking a knee after a hard right hand. Crawford with a pair of right hands and now opening up on Dulorme in the corner. Dulorme goes down to a hard cross, but makes it to his feet. Crawford on the attack. Good combinations from Crawford, measured. Dulorme gets backed to the ropes and wilts under the onslaught, going down as the referee steps in to save him.
Final result: Crawford def. Dulorme by TKO