Provodnikov eyes Pacquiao, Matthysse

Former junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov could be a back plan for Manny Pacquiao. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Former junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov is weighing his options, according to manager Vadim Kornilov.

Russia’s Provodnikov (24-3, 17 KOs), who lost his belt by questionable split decision to Chris Algieri in June, rebounded to stop long-faded former lightweight titleholder Jose Luis Castillo in Moscow in November with an eye toward a bigger fight next.

Now the waiting game is on. There is a chance Provodnikov could face fellow big puncher Lucas Matthysse, of Argentina, in what would surely be an explosive fight. Matthysse promoter Oscar De La Hoya talked quite a bit about trying to make that match last week while in Las Vegas promoting the Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne heavyweight title bout. It’s also a fight Provodnikov would be very interested in, Kornilov said.

Of course, there is also the chance that Provodnikov could land a fight with welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao, who would need an opponent should the talks for a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight fail again -- which most in the boxing industry suspect will.

Pacquiao and Provodnikov have trained together under the tutelage of Freddie Roach, making for an interesting storyline for a fight that would be another likely exciting match.

“Ruslan is planning to come in for training camp in about a week,” Kornilov told ESPN.com. “We are open to fighting Manny. There have been some discussions about that. Manny has mentioned that he is afraid that Mayweather will run from him. Well, Ruslan will definitely not run from anybody and that's why I think it will be a fan-friendly fight.

“If not, then we are glad that Matthysse actually is interested in fighting Ruslan. He is one of only a couple of guys that ever mentioned that they actually want to fight Ruslan, which is great. So I think that fight will have to happen in case the Manny situation doesn't come to a deal.”

One of Kornilov’s other clients is junior welterweight contender Viktor Postol, who is the mandatory challenger for champion Danny Garcia. However, they cut a financial deal to allow Garcia to avoid the mandatory fight for the time being. Garcia will face titleholder Lamont Peterson on April 11 in a nontitle bout at 143 pounds and is not likely to defend his 140-pound crown again, meaning Postol would be in line to fight for one of his vacant belts.

However, when they made the step-aside deal, part of it included the promise that Postol (26-0, 11 KOs), of Ukraine, would get a fight on Garcia’s next undercard. Kornilov said Postol “most likely” will appear on the April 11 card.

“We are working on that already,” Kornilov said.