WBO 140-pound beltholder Ruslan Provodnikov said Mauricio Herrera "exposed" Danny Garcia by giving THE RING champ all he could handle before losing a controversial majority decision on Saturday in Puerto Rico.
"I think that Garcia did not look his best in his last fight. Herrera deserved the decision in that fight," said Provodnikov (23-2, 16 knockouts), himself a loser of a disputed unanimous decision to Herrera in January 2011.
"Herrera is not a bad fighter and he keeps on proving it time after time. But in this fight, I think Herrera somewhat exposed Garcia. Maybe it was just not Danny's night because I was impressed with most of his previous performances."
Judges Carlos Colon and Alejandro Rochin scored the Showtime-televised fight for Garcia by scores of 116-112. The third official judge, Gustavo Padilla, scored it 114-114, as did Tim Smith, who covered the fight from ringside for RingTV.com. RingTV.com's Lem Satterfield scored it for Garcia, 115-113, although RingTV.com editor Doug Fischer scored it for Herrera, 116-112.
Showtime Sports boss Steven Espinoza, on his Twitter account, scored it for the champion, stating, "7-5 Garcia," while Showtime commentators Al Bernstein (116-113), Paulie Malignaggi (116-113), and Steve Farhood (116-112) saw the fight in favor of Herrera.
The showing by Garcia (28-0, 16 KOs) appears to be comparable to those of others in the division, given that Herrera has lost unanimous decisions to unbeaten Karim Mayfield and Mike Alvarado.
In his last fight in October, Alvarado was dropped twice and dethroned following a 10th-round stoppage loss to Provodnikov, whose promoter is Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions.
Provodnikov's manager, Vadim Kornilov, insists the Russian pressure fighter is "open to fighting anybody."
"We would love to fight Danny Garcia," said Kornilov. "It would be a great unification fight."
Kornilov said Garcia's father and trainer, Angel, has even mentioned a potential strategy for Provodnikov.
"I'm very anxious to see the 'bang-bang and step-over and grab-him' that Angel Garcia is proposing as the fight plan for Danny in that fight," Kornilov said.
"I think he had a similar plan for Herrerra, only the 'bang bang' was on Danny's head most of the night. So they will have to adjust some things for Ruslan, because Ruslan's 'bang' might just be a little too much compared to that of Herrera's."
But Garcia-Herrera could be a sticky proposition, given that Garcia is advised by Al Haymon and promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, two traditional rivals to Top Rank, which has close ties with Pelullo.
In addition, HBO has severed ties with Golden Boy, whose elite fighters are televised on Showtime. Provodnikov has fought mostly on HBO, including in his unanimous decision loss to WBO 147-pound beltholder Tim Bradley, whom he floored in the 12th round in march 2013.
"I'm not going to discuss all the details as far as the promoters and the networks, but we are not part of any feud, and we are actually available to fight anybody, don't forget, even though we try to be very loyal to those who have helped us," said Kornilov.
"But Ruslan Provodnikov is promoted by Banner Promotions, and we want to make sure he's fighting often, and only fighting the best. So far, it is pretty obvious that Marquez, Bradley, and maybe even Paquiao are staying away from Ruslan any way they can, which is causing a delay in getting Ruslan in the ring with a good opponent."
LIONELL THOMPSON FACES RODIVJE KALAJDZIK ON SERGEY KOVALEV-CEDRIC AGNEW CARD
Light heavyweight Lionell Thompson (15-2, 9 KOs) will fight Radivoje Kalajdzic (14-0, 10 KOs) on the undercard of a main event featuring WBO 175-pound titleholder Sergey Kovalev against Cedric Angnew at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Also in junior middleweight bout, Wilky Campfort will fight Khurshid Abdullaev, and Ismael Garcia takes on southpaw DuShane Crooks.