It wasn't a pure slugfest as many expected, but it was a good fight nonetheless. John Molina employed a good mix of both boxing and brawling to beat Ruslan Provodnikov tonight by unanimous decision. The real difference in tonight's fight was Molina's jab, which he used early and often to disrupt Provodnikov's timing and forward momentum.
At several times during the fight, Provodnikov's trainer Joel Diaz urged Provodnikov to throw more punches, but he had a hard time getting off amidst Molina's combination punching. About halfway through the fight, Provodnikov was cut over his left eye which was caused by an accidental headbutt. There was blood, as I expected, but what I didn't expect was for Molina to be able to box so effectively. When pushed to the ropes, Molina managed to get back to center ring without taking much damage, and on the outside he peppered Provodnikov with jabs.
Late in the fight Provodnikov's hard punching appear to start taking a toll. Because of this I started giving Provodnikov some of the later rounds, although Molina continued to maintain his composure and throw back punches which impressed the judges. Molina isn't as shot as he looked in his last couple outings, but perhaps Provodnikov is, which is an interesting role reversal.
In the post-fight interview, Provodnikov admitted that the decision was the correct one, saying that perhaps he doesn't have the same hunger he used to. And it looks like John Molina will find himself back in the mix once again.