A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
A nice little bout
Friday night on ESPN, welterweights Ruslan Provodnikov and Mauricio Herrera resembled an old Sugar Ray Robinson against a rugged Gene Fullmer match with Herrera playing Robinson against the hard charging Provodnikov resembling Fullmer.
The first round set the pace for the rest of the fight as Provodnikov pressured Herrera, with Herrera jabbing from the outside. Provodnikov came into the fight with a bruised eye from training camp.
But it didn’t stop him from attacking his opponent. Herrera’s pot shot from the outside with quick combination whereas Provodnikov’s punches appear to have more impact.
Coming into this fight, Provodnikov was undefeated and Herrera had only one loss to former WBO champion Mike Anchondo, so this was a match between two solid prospects with Provodnikov the favorite.
In the second round, Provodnikov pounded Herrera and by the end of the third round, his right hand had produced a swelling over Herrera’s left eye. He would spend the rest of the fight, viewing the fight through a slit and this made him vulnerable to Provodnikov’s right hand.
As the fifth round started, Herrera looked like he was slowing down but he still had his quick hands and he unleashed successful combinations that often hit their target. Provodnikov rarely jabbed and this allowed Herrera to escape from his pressure while countering.
The last minute of the seventh round showed the complexity of this fight as after being pressured for the first two minutes of the round, Herrera let loose a barrage of counters down the stretch of the round and this pattern was repeated in the eighth round.
In both rounds, both fighters gave judges something to like.
As the fight progressed, Herrera own combinations swelled Provodnikov right eye and Provodnikov’s face was bruised. Ruslan Provodnikov has one style move forward and this put him in range of Herrera’s own counters.
This was a fight showed statistical similarity as both fighters connected on almost the same number of punches and their work rate were similar as well. In a fight in which both fighters were busy, it was a hard fight to score.
There were times in the later rounds that referee considered stopping the fight as Herrera eye was swollen shut but every time the consideration of the fight being stopped, Herrera step up his pace.
Over the final two rounds, both fighters exchanged punches with both fighters connecting on solid shots. The feeling was that Provodnikov did enough to win but the judges gave the fight in close fashion to Herrera.
(Ted Atlas and I both had Provodnikov winning the fight eight rounds to four but Atlas observed that this was a fight, did you favor the boxer or the slugger?) Herrera was a close tense fight that showed both fighters at their best and two fighters with heart.
The opening bout featured Demetrius Andrade fighting Herrera’s younger brother, Albert. In what was suppose to be an easy night for Andrade turned into a competitive fight.
He had the advantage throughout the bout with his quicker hands but there was nothing in this fight to show that this prospect may move up boxing ladder. An Olympian with 200 amateur bouts, Andrade had fought mostly easy touches going into this fight and there was little growth from previous bouts.
After aggressive early rounds, Andrade seem willing to box and wait for his opponent to make a mistake. He allowed his opponent stayed in the fight and even occasionally to connect on solid combinations.
In the final round, Andrade came out fast as he threw quick combinations but despite winning an easy decision; Andrade looked like a fighter with much to learn.
For a fighter who has fought 200 amateur fights, Andrade lacked technical skills and looked more amateurish than one would expect after 12 fights.