Former WBO welterweight champion, Ruslan Provodnikov is looking to have a big 2015 and he is getting the year started with a highly anticipated match against Lucas Matthysse. I had a chance to speak with Provodnikov during the 230th edition of “On The Ropes” boxing radio to get his thoughts on his upcoming bout and what he thinks winning it will do for his career. I also talk to Ruslan about his decision to do Olympic drug testing and why he thinks more fighters should do what he’s doing. Additionally Provodnikov shared his views on Mayweather-Pacquiao and what type of a fighter Manny Pacquiao is today. Here is what Ruslan Provodnikov had to say.
Jenna J: News recently came out that you’ll be taking on Lucas Matthysse on April 18th, how do you feel about this particular fight?
Ruslan Provodnikov: I am very glad that we were able to make the fight so quickly and I am glad that both sides wanted the fight and it didn’t create a lot of difficulties in making the fight, so that makes me happy. Now I can’t wait for the fight.
Jenna J: Ruslan, fans are very excited for this fight due to the crowd pleasing style that both you and Matthysse have, what kind of fights can fans expect?
Ruslan Provodnikov: If you’ve seen my previous fights, I promise a very exciting and great fight for the fans, that’s why this fight was being made, because our style are that way, so I think the fight is going to be great. And know that I will not take a step back in this fight.
Jenna J: Next question here I have is actually for you Vadim. Vadim, what did it take to make this fight with Lucas Mathysee. What went into it?
Vadim Kornilov: The promoters have made an agreement and it was pretty simple, which made me happy because usually the other side doesn’t want to fight Ruslan, so usually it’s very difficult to actually get the deal done because the other fighter doesn’t even want to fight. In this case this was different, so that makes me very happy that it was easy but we’re still-finalizing some small details.
We’re finalizing a deal with our promoter and Ruslan is always tested by VADA. We’ve been doing VADA testing for every one of our fights starting with Bradley fight and we want to do it for this fight and we made offer to Golden Boy to do VADA testing, which initially they said they were totally fine with but right now they are saying that we would do it only if Ruslan’s side paid for all the testing.
That makes me a little uncomfortable, because it’s good for both fighters and it’s good for the sport when both sides are testing but fighters are always trying to make our side pay for the testing and it makes it seem like they are not really that tempted to be tested, but I’m hoping we can make a deal on that in the next couple of days.
Jenna J: Ruslan, you’re one of the fighters that like to be tested so people know that you are a clean fighter when you step into the ring, why is it that you want fans to know this?
Ruslan Provodnikov: In recent history there’s been a lot of situations in boxing where it’s becoming more of a business than a sport. There are fighters being caught taking substances and drinking things before the fight. There are fighters being caught with plaster in their wraps. All kinds of things are happening because this is a big business now, it’s not a sport anymore, as much as it’s a business.
A lot of fighters are taking advantage of the financial ability to make it a dirty fight in there, they’re taking advantage of technology in doping, gloves and wraps that are giving them advantages in the fight instead of trying to be better in the ring athletically.
I want to be the first, I want to be one of the guys that fights this whole scenario and I want to make sure that the fans see a fair shake and see a fair fight and the fighter that wins be the fighter that is more prepared and that gave it all in the training camp. For me that’s very important and I really don’t support dirty tactics in the sport and I want to show that to the fans, and I really think the fans do appreciate that.
Jenna J: The last time we saw you in the ring, you took on former champion Jose Luis Castillo, you took him out in five rounds. How did you feet getting back in the ring for that fight?
Ruslan Provodnikov: I didn’t make any big statements about the fight, I knew what kind of a fight it was. It was a comeback fight for me, and there was an opportunity for me to go back to Russia and give my fans in Russia the ability to come see me live and I’ve been wanting to that. I haven’t fought there in three years so I wanted to give that opportunity to my fans.
I know I had a lot of fans and the arena was sold out, it was a big arena, it was a great show. The world of boxing and Mr. Radinsky put on a great promotion over there and it was great. I just want to say that Jose Luis Castillo is a real warrior, he’s a real fighter and I’m not just saying that because I fought him. He actually made this fight tougher for me than I though it was going to be.
Considering Castillo’s age, he came in there 100% ready. Considering what he was able to do, I think he did everything. He actually came to Russia to win this fight and that’s very respectable, because a lot of guys there just come there for a pay day. I can’t say that about this fighter. Jose Luis Castillo is real warrior and I have a lot of respect for him, and he put up a great fight and he made it an interesting night for me and for all my fans over there. I want to say thank you to him for that.
Jenna J: Being the fact that your last two opponents weren’t as well known, how good do you feel that now you’re facing a well known fighter in Lucas Matthysse?
Ruslan Provodnikov: As I said before, this means everything because this is the type of fight that I’m in boxing for. Fighting another guy and we can make history together in this fight, and that’s why I’m here, because I want to leave a history behind me and I can’t do that with certain guys and I can’t do that by not fighting certain guys.
That’s why I’m always open to any fight, I am not afraid of anybody, and I’m ready to fight the best top guys in the division at 140lbs or 147lbs. This is what makes me exciting, this is the fight I’ve been waiting for.
Jenna J: Ruslan, I want to get your thoughts on Mayweather vs Pacquiao now that it’s official. You have trained with Pacquiao in the past, you work with Freddie Roach. I’m curious, what do you think of that fight? Who do you think is going to win it and why?
Ruslan Provodnikov: You know as always I won’t make predictions for fights. This is not one of those fights you can make a prediction for, but if I can just say one thing, I will be rooting for Manny as always. He is my friend and I hope he wins this fight and I hope he does everything in the ring he can to win the fight and hopefully I’ll be celebrating with him if he wins.
Jenna J: Speaking of Manny Pacquiao, what type of fighter is he today compared to the fighter he was a few years ago? People say he’s changed as a fighter, that he likes to box more. What do you see?
Ruslan Provodnikov: Maybe Manny is a little bit older, maybe he is not as hungry as he was before but I think he still has the speed and agility. He still has a lot of the qualities he’s had before, and that’s why I think this is going to be a great fight, comparable to Ali-Frazier. It’s going to be one of those great fights no matter what.
I think Manny is going to give it all in this fight and that’s what it’s going to make it a real exciting fight. I’ll try to make sure that I’m actually present at the fight to root for Manny. It’s one of those fights where you got to say that I was there.
Jenna J: Back to your fight with Lucas Matthysse, what are you expecting from him? He’s shown that he has the ability to box, he’s also shown he has the ability to slug. Do you think he would risk slugging out with you trying to win that fight?
Ruslan Provodnikov: He might try to box or he might try to move but I already know which way I’ll be fighting, and most of my fans know which way I’ll fight. I think that no matter how much he thinks he can move or box, sooner or later he’ll have to take the risk and he’ll have to engage and that will happen sooner or later and that’s when whatever boxing is going to turn into a brawl anyway. I think it will happen and we’ll see, we’ll see how he wants to make the fight.
Jenna J: Do you think winning this fight leads to another title shot?
Ruslan Provodnikov: I’m positive that after this fight I’ll get another shot at a title. For me that’s not that important for me it’s a just a belt and it doesn’t cost much. We represent ourselves not the belts that we have. Definitely this is the road to a title shot and one of those fights that should be a title fight anyway but it will lead to a title fight for one of us. I’ll get that belt and I won’t do it for me, I’ll do it for the fans that think that I can be a champion.
Jenna J: In closing is there any message you want to pass a long to your fans
Ruslan Provodnikov: I just want to say thank you to all my fans that are still supporting me and know that it’s not over for me, and you know this is just another beginning and everybody will support me on April 18th. You won’t regret it, you will see that I’m there to give them another fight that everybody wants to see. Everybody is going to get goosebumps and everybody is going to be glad they were there on April 18th at the arena watching the fight. This is going to be one of those fights to remember.