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Matthysse vs Provodnikov: Lucas Matthysse wins grueling brawl by majority decision

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Ruslan Provodnikov wouldn't go away, but took a big beating in a loss to Lucas Matthysse tonight on HBO.

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Lucas Matthysse and Ruslan Provodnikov may not have put on the knock-down, drag-out, high drama brawl that we hoped and dreamed, but the two junior welterweight sluggers didn't disappoint, either, and after 12 rounds of grueling physicality, Matthysse emerged the winner by majority decision.

Official scores were 115-113, 115-113, and 114-114. BLH had it 115-113 for Matthysse, who survived a rally in the 11th and 12th rounds from Provodnikov, which proved too little, too late.

Provodnikov (24-4, 17 KO) was at a disadvantage early in the fight. After a dominant first round for Matthysse (37-3, 34 KO), Provodnikov was cut just outside the left eye when the two fighters clashed heads early in the second frame. Matthysse kept up the assault that round, but Provodnikov bulled his way back into the fight in the third and fourth rounds. Matthysse came back in the fifth, which was a close round that could have gone either way, but it was the sixth that seemed -- seemed -- to turn the tide.

In the sixth, you could have argued a 10-8 round for Matthysse, who was totally dominant, reminiscent of the first two rounds. He thrashed Provodnikov with clean shots, continued busting his face up, and the round was so one-sided that Provodnikov's lead corner man, Marvin Somodio, threatened to stop the fight if it continued the way that round went for his fighter.

Provodnikov did better in the seventh, though, and Somodio wasn't given a reason to throw a towel. Late in the eight, Matthysse clumsily missed a long right hand, which momentarily got him in trouble and wobbled just a bit by Provodnikov. Matthysse went back to work in the ninth and 10th rounds, but Provodnikov did land two thunderous blows in the ninth, and could have arguably stolen that round.

In the end, Matthysse did just enough for two of three judges, and that's how we saw the fight, too. He gave Provodnikov every bit of a beating that he could have, more or less, but the "Siberian Rocky" would not go away. He continuously marched forward, eating the sort of vicious shots that may have knocked out anyone else in the world at 140 pounds. Provodnikov may have lost this fight, but certainly has nothing to hang his head over. And Matthysse survived an opponent that simply wouldn't go away, no matter what he hit him with. It was a hell of a fight.