Sick as it sounds, long-faded former lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo is the front-runner to land a fight with former junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov on Nov. 28 in Moscow, Provodnikov manager Vadim Kornilov told ESPN.com.
Another of the possibilities is not much better -- former two-time lightweight titlist Julio Diaz.
Provodnikov, unable to secure an acceptable deal for a fall fight on HBO, is returning home for his first fight in Russia since 2011. While Provodnikov promoter Artie Pelullo and Kornilov have tried to secure several opponents, they say they have been unable to, despite mid-six-figure offers to the likes of former titleholder Zab Judah and current interim titlist Mauricio Herrera to travel to Russia.
Kornilov said they would have liked for Provodnikov, who lost his belt by controversial decision to Chris Algieri in June, to fight in the United States and face any of these opponents: Timothy Bradley Jr. in a rematch, Brandon Rios, titlist Jessie Vargas, Diego Chaves or junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia. But they couldn't make a deal with HBO and none of those opponents were available or interested anyway.
The 40-year-old Castillo (66-12-1, 57 KOs) hasn't been a remote factor since Ricky Hatton knocked him out in the fourth round in a 2007 junior welterweight world title fight. Castillo has been fighting at welterweight and junior middleweight for the past several years, and although he has won two fights in a row, they were against extremely low-level competition.
Diaz (40-10-1, 29 KOs), who turns 35 in December, has lost three fights in a row, most recently by third-round knockout to Keith Thurman in an April mismatch.
"If you have any other ideas let me know," Kornilov said regarding an opponent. "It has been tough to get somebody to go there to fight Ruslan."