Facing an aged and downright washed-up opponent, Ruslan Provodnikov didn't exactly impress by winning the first four rounds, but at least he got the job done early, stopping Jose Luis Castillo on a pair of fifth round knockdowns in Moscow.
The 40-year-old Castillo (66-13-1, 57 KO) hasn't been a relevant contender in seven years now, and wasn't expected to challenge Provodnikov (24-3, 17 KO), who was trying to rebound from a loss to Chris Algieri in June. Provodnikov was able to do that, beating a guy who got the fight not because he was relevant, but because among Russian boxing fans, he does still have a little name value, or to put it more bluntly, a lot more name value than a lot of more dangerous fighters might have had. He was also willing to fight in Russia against Provodnikov, because six figure paydays aren't going to come Castillo's way too often these days.
The fight was at least more credible than the Mickey Rourke farce before it, so that's something nice we can say. Provodnikov, 30, will surely look to return to the United States next with a bigger fight.