It's a split site doubleheader tonight on HBO Boxing After Dark, with fights coming your way from Verona, New York, and Arlington, Texas. And it's a must-see main event for all fight fans.
Live coverage begins at 9:45 pm EST, with HBO televising the fights, of course, along with BoxNation in the UK.
In the main event from New York, junior welterweight sluggers Lucas Matthysse (36-3, 34 KO) and Ruslan Provodnikov (24-3, 17 KO) are ready for what promises to be a true all action war. Matthysse, 32, rebounded from a 2013 loss to Danny Garcia to smash John Molina and Roberto Ortiz last year. Provodnikov, 31, lost his junior welterweight title to Chris Algieri last June before a November return and win over faded Jose Luis Castillo.
Opening the broadcast from Texas, it'll be the world's best lightweight, Terence Crawford (25-0, 17 KO), moving up to 140 pounds to face Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14 KO) for the vacant WBO title, which was stripped from Algieri late last year. Crawford, 27, was more or less universally recognized as the 2014 Fighter of the Year for wins over Ricky Burns, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Ray Beltran. Dulorme, 25, has found some success after moving down to 140 following a 2012 loss to Luis Carlos Abregu, and isn't a pushover opponent by any means.
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Lucas Matthysse defeats Ruslan Provodnikov by majority decision (115-113, 115-113, 114-114)
Terence Crawford defeats Thomas Dulorme by TKO (1:51 of round 6)
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ROUND BY ROUND
LUCAS MATTHYSSE vs RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV
Round 1: Well, here we go. Matthysse throws a left to the body and a right upstairs to start. Matthysse unloading with four shots, nothing landing clean. Provodnikov with little hooks, Matthysse with a heavier one upstairs. Left-right combo from Matthysse. Lucas misses a wild left hook. Provodnikov misses a right. The crowd is hyped up for sure. Provodnikov's face already reddening. Tying up now. Matthysse with an uppercut, then a right hand. Provodnikov just standing in front of Matthysse, stalking but not throwing much. Matthysse with the edge at mid-ring, and he digs to the body with lefts. Provodnikov with a flurry, mostly blocked. Right hand glances for Matthysse. Back to the hook to the body. Matthysse more or less dominant this round, but nothing big. And Provodnikov is not backing down at all, either. Provodnikov caught with a counter right. Matthysse 10-9
Round 2: Both throw hooks early, Matthysse with a 1-2 and a hook. Provodnikov not getting off and he's cut now, too. Right hand from Matthysse to the head after a shot to the body. Right hand again. Lucas is targeting the cut, which is just outside of Provodnikov's left eye. Matthysse totally dominating so far. Right hand, left hand. Matthysse tearing him up right now. Uppercut lands clean. Provodnikov just can't get going. There's two body shots from Provodnikov, but he gets his chin jacked with another uppercut. And there's another from range. A minute left in the round and Provodnikov is still badly struggling, but there's a body shot and a left hand upstairs. Another clean uppercut from Matthysse. Dominant round statistically for Matthysse, outlanding Provodnikov 34-10 on power shots according to HBO graphic. Provodnikov coming alive with hooks late in the round and Matthysse wobbles just a bit! Matthysse 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: Replay shows a clash of heads caused cut on Provodnikov. Matthysse leads off in round three, too, but Provodnikov shoots a right hand back. Uppercut again from Lucas. Jabs and then gets close and ties up, then moves back again. Left hook from Matthysse up top. Provodnikov with a left upstairs. Uppercut again for Matthysse. Right hand from Ruslan scrapes Matthysse's jaw. Provodnikov starting to let his hands go more, and not getting hit as much. Matthysse poking his jab out and moving. Ruslan misses a wild hook. Right hand from Matthysse, totally clean shot. Provodnikov with a hook upstairs, throws more, and then hits to the body. Matthysse with a right hand, Provodnikov just keeps going forward. Right to the body from Provodnikov, and now he's got Matthysse on the ropes. Right hand upstairs, clubbing shot from Provodnikov. Right hand down the pipe clips Provodnikov. Provodnikov 10-9, Matthysse 29-28
Round 4: Provodnikov continues marching straight to Matthysse. Matthysse continues to jab and move. Left hand from Provodnikov lands upstairs. Matthysse digs at the body, Provodnikov lands upstairs with a right. Matthysse zinging Provodnikov now, sharpshooting, as Bernard Hopkins just said. Provodnikov with a left hook. Provodnikov's coming on, though, even though he just ate yet another uppercut. The man won't back down. Provodnikov with a hook and then a right hand! Matthysse clinches up and may have gotten stung there. Vicious 1-2 from Matthysse, but Provodnikov again just eats it and keeps moving forward. He's a brick wall in there. Provodnikov with a body shot, then a right hand. Left hook from Ruslan. Big left hook from Ruslan! Provodnikov 10-9, 38-38
Round 5: Matthysse comes right out and sticks in a jab. Combo from Matthysse. Provodnikov continues to move forward and just won't back off. He's hammering Matthysse with both hands now, and Matthysse is clearly feeling it. Matthysse with a right upstairs and then a hook to the body. Right upstairs from Provodnikov, glancing blow. Lucas with a couple shots to the head, then another. Provodnikov not landing now, as Matthysse is slipping shots a little better. Matthysse sticking and moving, feet get tangled as he lands a shot. Matthysse recovering pretty well from an iffy first minute of this round. Right hand from Provodnikov lands upstairs. This is a close round with 30 seconds to go. Right hand from both get in. Matthysse snaps his head back with a jab. Matthysse 10-9, 48-47
Round 6: Uppercut again from Matthysse, with the left hand. VICIOUS trio of shots from Matthysse! Provodnikov eats those, too, and then clubs away in return. Uppercut (right hand) from Matthysse. Right hand to the forehead from Matthysse. He's taking over again with accurate shots, including a left hook, but Ruslan still refuses to take a step back. Right hand from Matthysse smashes Provodnikov. Jabs and right hands from Matthysse as Provodnikov stalks and eats shots yet again. Matthysse picking him apart with shots, but if he can't actually prevent Provodnikov from doing what he wants, how long can he keep that up? 40-7 advantage this round for Matthysse, and it looks it. He's blowing him out again in this round, but Provodnikov just won't budge. Matthysse 10-9, 58-56
Round 7: Trainer Marvin Somodio threatened to stop the fight if it continued like the sixth round, and rightly so. Tougher than a $2 steak but took some obscene shots in that round. Matthysse continues to pick and peck away in the first minute of round seven. Jab again from Matthysse, long right, a hook, and Provodnikov fires back with a flurry. Hopkins compares Ruslan to Gatti, and for once, it's really a fitting comparison. Matthysse is just chopping him up now. Right hand lands again. Ruslan's face looks like hamburger, and he's not stalking forward quite the way he did earlier. Matthysse 10-9, 68-65
Round 8: Ruslan throwing bombs now, but Matthysse moving and making him miss. There's a right upstairs from Ruslan that slips in. Jab, jab, jab. Just flicking it out there and keeping Provodnikov away, even with Ruslan getting Matthysse to the ropes, where he wants him to be. Jab, jab, right hand. Provodnikov fires back, and then goes to the body, but again Matthysse snaps him back with a jab. Matthysse misses a long right, and Provodnikov nails him as a result. Matthysse just got himself in trouble there. Provodnikov 10-9, Matthysse 77-75
Round 9: Provodnikov's body language is amazingly better than it was a few rounds back, and this is closer than it seems despite a couple of miserably one-sided rounds against Ruslan. Provodnikov going to the body, Matthysse strikes back with a right to the head. Jabs from Matthysse. Nice combo late from Provodnikov. Then a couple more good shots. Matthysse 10-9, Matthysse 87-84
Round 10: Provodnikov continues to go forward and throw his hands, and Matthysse's output has dropped pretty noticeably, it appears. Matthysse in the corner, but gets himself out. Left hook from Provodnikov! Matthysse getting what he wants for the most part this round, though. Jabbing and staying away, and taking away Provodnikov's chances to land big shots. Right hand from Provodnikov. He landed the two best shots of the round, but I don't think he won the round. Matthysse 10-9, 97-93
Round 11: Matthysse with a hook to the body. Matthysse gets into the corner, but gets right back out. Still flicking the jab out there to dictate the tempo. Right to the body from Ruslan. Time called to fix a loose wrap on Matthysse's glove. Matthysse's corner taking forever and giving their guy time to rest. Provodnikov comes out of that with big shots, and an uppercut really rocks Lucas' head back. Body shots and a hook from Provodnikov. That break got him some air and he's using it. Left hook and Matthysse is hurt! Provodnikov looking for the rally and just coming forward. Matthysse moving back and is hurt again! Right hand again! Matthysse trying to jab his way out of this, now ties him up. Big round for Provodnikov! Provodnikov 10-9, Matthysse 106-103
Round 12: Does Provodnikov have a miracle rally in him? We'll find out. Provodnikov going right to him. Matthysse tying him up. Matthysse with long jabs and lateral movement. Matthysse on his bike a bit here, as his corner did tell him he was up eight points. Right hand Provodnikov, left hook Matthysse. Half a round left. Ruslan doesn't seem to have the energy he did just a round ago -- he might have spent himself there. 30 seconds to go and Matthysse is playing some keepaway. Hell of a fight. Provodnikov 10-9, Matthysse 115-113
TERENCE CRAWFORD vs THOMAS DULORME
Round 1: Crawford's hand speed on display early, even with misses on a right hand counter a couple of times. Dulorme throws a big right hand from outside but it's blocked. Crawford jabs as Dulorme throws a left hand, cutting him off. Feeling out sort of round, as you usually see from Crawford, as he looks to gauge what his opponent can do. Botht throwing big shots and missing here and there. Dulorme looking to jab in. Dulorme touches Crawford with a jab before the bell. Dulorme 10-9
Round 2: Right hand counter from Crawford, but Dulorme still outworking him here. Crawford may just be getting the timing still, though. He's a calm, patient guy, and explodes when he's comfortable. Crawford flicking his jab out. Left hook just misses. Dulorme with two jabs, Crawford ducks it and ties him up. Dulorme jabbing again. Right to the body from Dulorme. Dulorme on activity again. Crawford very passive so far. Dulorme 10-9, 20-18
Round 3: There's a trade about 40 seconds in and Crawford appears to get the better of it, but Dulorme was right there with the trigger to throw back, too. Dulorme lands a couple right hands, too. Crawford pecking with a jab with a minute left, but Dulorme scrapes him with a right hand, and then sticks in a clean jab. Left hook from Dulorme, but Crawford caught him to the body at the same time. Crawford's reflexes are really quick. Straight right from Crawford. Jab from Crawford. Crawford 10-9, Dulorme 29-28
Round 4: Dulorme jabbing to the body and head to start the fourth. Dulorme jabs and throws to the body in combination. Crawford waiting again, doing more of Roy's Boxing Things. Double jab from Dulorme. Dulorme is outworking him again in this round and doesn't seem bothered by being given rounds. Dulorme slipping jabs, too. Crawford misses a right, too. Crawford does land a lead right to end the round, but it was Dulorme's again for me. Dulorme 10-9, 39-37
Round 5: Dulorme still more active. Crawford slips in a right hand as Dulorme jabs. Dulorme up top with a right hand. Crawford jawing away at the center of the ring, talking a little trash. Or maybe just talking to himself. Or maybe quoting "The Bridges of Madison County." Crawford really isn't doing anything in this round, either. Dulorme takes another round that Crawford essentially gives him. Crawford needs to make an adjustment because we're officially on upset watch now. Dulorme 10-9, 49-46
Round 6: BIG right stings Dulorme, and he is down! Just like THAT! He's up but there's 2:15 left in this round. Crawford corners him and starts unloading with both hands. Crawford just RIPPING him and Dulorme down again! 1:40 left in the round. Lots of time. Dulorme looking to land something big back now, and that could be a mistake. Crawford staying patient but throwing. Lands a right upstairs. And another. And another. Flurrying and Dulorme is down again, and THIS IS OVER! Terence Crawford TKO-6