Bryan Altman

On Saturday night beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT in Verona, New York at Turning Stone Resort & Casino, junior welterweight fighters Ruslan Provodnikov and John Molina Jr. will square off in what many are billing as a potential fight of the year candidate for 2016 live on Showtime.

The Russian-born Provodnikov (25-4, 18 KOs), a 32-year-old former WBO junior welterweight champion who’s known as a whirling dervish of a fighter with a relentless motor, is looking to continue his winning ways after his 4th round TKO victory over Jesus Alvarez Rodriguez in his last fight on Nov. 7 of last year. 

In Molina Jr., he faces a fighter that’s also not afraid to go toe-to-toe, something Provodnikov is looking forward to. 

“I definitely like the guys that come to fight,” Provodnikov said at his media workout in May. “For me that is a better, more enjoyable fight. I like to fight a guy that wants to brawl I’m expecting him to come to fight. No doubt (Molina’s) a fighter, he’s a warrior. For somebody to defeat me is a big motivation and I know he’ll be coming to win. No matter what, he’s going to do anything possible to win this fight. That’s what I expect from people that take a fight with me – that they’ll die in the ring to defeat me because it would be a great accomplishment. So I’m expecting a real war, a real fight.”

Molina Jr. (28-6, 23 KOs), the 33-year-old American, is trending in the opposite direction after three consecutive losses but is looking to get back on the winning track with a big win over Provodnikov. 

“Every fight is important,” Molina Jr. said at his media workout in May. “Fortunately and unfortunately, boxing is a ‘what have you done for me lately’ type of sport. For me, I didn’t have an extensive amateur career so the pros were, in essence, my amateur career. But I believe I’m at the right spot right now, where I need to be to hit my stride.”

While Molina Jr. knows anything can happen in the ring, there are at least a few attributes he believes he has in his corner that will help him overcome the hard-hitting Russian. 

“I am really excited. Ruslan is a hell of a fighter and competitor. I think it’s a can’t-miss, all-action fight when you have someone like myself and Ruslan in there. Stylistically, I think there are things that I have to my advantage. Stature-wise: my height, my reach. But with that being said, when the fight starts, all of that is going to go out the window and we’re going to fight.”

The main event between Provodnikov and Molina as well as the rest of the fight card featuring Demetrius Andrade vs. Willie Nelson, Dejan Zlaticanin vs Franklin Mamani, Willie Monroe Jr vs John Thompson and Andrey Fedosov vs Miguel Heredia, can be seen on Showtime beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. ET.

Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for any of his other three teams.

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