By Steve Kim
On June 11th from the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona, New York, former WBO junior welterweight world champion Ruslan Provodnikov takes on John Molina in what will be his debut on Showtime, after making numerous appearances on rival HBO the past several years.
The deal was engineered by Artie Pelullo, the head of Banner Promotions, who says he's not surprised that his client is now at Showtime.
"No, not at all, I've been trying to bring Ruslan to Showtime for over 15, 16 months. [Showtime Sports head] Stephen Espinoza wanted him," said Pelullo on Tuesday afternoon at the Fortune Gym where an open workout was held for this event.
When asked if he was disappointed or surprised that HBO didn't show more interest in 'the Siberian Rocky', Pelullo answered:
"Listen, I don't understand why HBO didn't find more fights for Ruslan Provodnikov. His lowest rating was 1.089 million viewers, he was always consistently in the top two or three. So they had nothing for us, they offered us nothing and it was the right move to make and I've been working with Stephen to bring him to Showtime two years go."
Pelullo continued,"When Showtime bid on the (Lucas) Matthysse fight two Christmas' ago they bid $2 million and HBO matched it for that fight. So he was interested two years ago even though we weren't on Showtime for that fight. We were on HBO - because they had a right to match it - (Ruslan) became a free agent because of the first-and-last was no longer involved and then we were able to make a deal and walk across the street."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.