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Ruslan Provodnikov considering boxing comeback

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Provodnikov has not fought since a 2016 loss to John Molina Jr.

Boxing show in Chelyabinsk, Russia Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images

Despite boxing being dead in the water at the moment, 2020 seems to be the year of the comeback. Marcos Maidana was set to return earlier this month, Sergio Martinez wants a crack at Kerman Lejarraga, and now manager Vadim Kornilov says Russian slugger Ruslan Provodnikov is considering a return to action after four years away.

“We had a proposal [to resume boxing career] and this proposal is considered as a potential fight in the end of the year,” Kornilov stated. “However, we are not ready yet to give details about it.”

Provodnikov (25-5, 18 KO), whose only major fight at the time was a loss to Mauricio Herrera, hit the mainstream in a big way with his wholly unexpected 2013 Fight of the Year candidate against Tim Bradley. A subsequent beatdown of Mike Alvarado further cemented “The Siberian Rocky” as must-see TV, but his technical limitations revealed themselves in an upset loss to Chris Algieri.

He would go 2-2 in his next four, beating what was left of Jose Luis Castillo and pushover Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez amid losses to Lucas Matthysse and John Molina Jr. Following the latter defeat, which saw him defused and outboxed by the generally brawl-happy Molina, he announced his retirement.

Side note: writing that paragraph reminded me of his post-Matthysse urine sample, which is never a good thing.

This is a bad idea, but I’ll admit I’m not as viscerally opposed to it as I am Martinez’s comeback. Provodnikov’s fall seemed less a product of physical decline than a gritty but one-note fighter getting figured out and hitting his ceiling. If he’s set on doing this, all we can hope is that they don’t pit him against some up-and-coming knockout artist looking for a noteworthy scalp.