By Jake Donovan
Ruslan Provodnikov picked up his fifth straight win with a 2nd round knockout of Jose Reynoso in their ESPN2-televised main event Friday night in Corona, California.
A right hand put an end to matters at 1:35 of round two.
On paper, the fight suggested a potential recipe for disaster, but would be entirely up to Provodnikov in order to make that happen. Reynoso was hoping for his Riverside (CA) hometown to boast its second straight televised major upset, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
A three month training camp for Provodnikov included a considerable amount of time in the presence of a certain pound-for-pound king (hint, the one not in prison). The strenuous gym sessions allowed Provodnikov to make it look easy the moment the opening bell ring.
“This is the payoff of a very long training camp,” Provodnikov acknowledged afterward. “I was in training camp with Manny Pacquiao for two months and then another month afterward to get ready for this fight.”
Provodnikov was indeed ready for this fight. Reynoso, it appeared, did not look like a man who knew what he was getting himself into when accepting this assignment.
With that, came the massacre. Provodniknov quickly made his presence felt. The right hand was landing with alarming regularity well before the knockout blow landed. The body work put in by the Russian laid the foundation for the eventual explosive ending.
“It was part of the plan,” Provodnikov stated of his right hand success and the means in which it was delivered. “The priority was to go to the body because I didn’t want to let him off the hook. The plan was to go to the body and then come back up top with the right hand.”
The formula worked out to a tee. The action remained all one way heading into the second round before Provodnikov decided to end matters. The Russian prospect connected with a right hand which drove Reynoso to the ropes and eventually to the canvas.
Referee Raul Caiz Jr is the type of official who gives the fighter every chance to fight back. The third man tried as much in this fight, but there’s little that a referee can do to allow a fight to continue once reaching the count of ten. There’s also little that a fighter can do at that point, though Reynose tried to sell it as if he wanted to continue just as Caiz finished his count.
Provodnikov improves to 22-1 (15KO), scoring his 5th straight win since his disputed points loss to Mauricio Herrera early last year.
Reynoso falls to 16-4-2 (13KO), snapping a seven-fight unbeaten streak in the process.
Christopher Martin’s career appeared to hit a wall in the past couple of years. The former standout prospect punched his way back to relevance in a big way after scoring a 6th round knockout over Roberto Castaneda in the televised co-feature.
The latest televised appearance for Martin came on the heels of a three-fight winless streak, a far cry from his red-hot prospect status in 2010. His 2012 campaign consisted of a draw versus Teon Kennedy and a lopsided points loss to Luis del Valle in a fight that also included the first knockdown of Martin’s career.
Friday night’s showing against Castaneda was a return to his prominent rise. With the exception of a rough patch in the fourth round, Martin proved to be the superior boxer and ultimately the stronger fighter as well. The puncher’s advantage appeared to be with Castaneda, but knockdowns by Martin in rounds five and six changed that perspective.
The first knockdown came courtesy of a perfectly placed right uppercut to the midsection. Castaneda lost his breath before falling to the canvas. How he beat the count is a mystery, but Martin refused to rest on his laurels. The San Diegan went right to work in the sixth, once again flooring Castaneda, this time for good as the referee saw no need to allow the fight to continue.
Martin improves to 24-2-3 (7KO) with the win. The knockout was his first since Sept. ’10 and by far the most significant of his still promising career.
Castaneda falls to 20-2-1 (15KO). Both losses have come by knockout and within his past four fights.
The opening bout saw Aaron Acevedo and Daniel Martinez engage in a spirited four-round battle which ended in a majority draw. Acevedo (1-0-1, 1KO) jumped out to a big start in the opening round, but struggled to maintain his lead. Martinez (0-0-1, 0KO) rallied back hard to fight to a draw. Scores were 38-38 twice, while the third judge had it 39-37 in favor of Martinez.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox