Bradley looking to show Provodnikov does not belong
By Nick Bellafatto
Carson, CA (March 15th, 2013)– Live from the Home Depot Center in Carson, California on HBO World Championship Boxing this Saturday night, currently undefeated Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (29-0, 12 KO’s) of Palm Springs, California is set to return to the ring in the first ever defense of his WBO welterweight crown.
In doing so he will take on yet another Freddie Roach protégé in the form of #3 ranked Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO’s) of Beryozovo, Russia who says this moment has been a long time in coming. “This fight can change my life and the people I represent in Russia. This is something I’ve waited for all my life. It’s gonna be a real war,” stated Ruslan.
And despite being out of action and laying low since his controversial win over Filipino icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao last June, the highly skilled and versatile Tim Bradley is ready to exude the same type of blue-collar attitude in the ring that’s garnered him many a boxing aficionado over the past few years.
Said Bradley, “the determination is still there, the will to win is still there,”and “I’m firing on all cylinders this time baby. I can’t wait to showcase my talent this coming Saturday.”
Claiming his first world title in 2008 by crossing the pond to dethrone the then WBC 140 pound champion Junior Witter, an ambitious Tim Bradley would shortly thereafter further unify the division by decisioning hard punching WBO titlist Kendall Holt.
Seemingly on his way towards fulfilling even loftier aspirations, the prospect of facing WBA junior welterweight champion at the time Amir Khan in yet another unification match would be on the table, only to have that bout fall through purportedly due to Bradley’s dissatisfaction with the purse share.
Understandable from a monetary point of view although somewhat of a head scratcher in that CampBradley would never vigorously pursue a meeting with Khan to determine the division’s top dog.
However, bigger and better things would come Bradley’s way in the form of taking on pound-for-pound prizefighter Manny Pacquiao. But if Bradley in not finding a way to have it out with Amir Khan wasn’t enough to leave you wondering, Tim seems delusional in that he’s convinced he defeated the Filipino fighter, a circumstance which has seemingly caused “Desert Storm” to lose standing amongst more than a few.
Not only in the eyes of millions would “Pacman” land the cleaner more significant shots throughout in their 2012 showdown, but a WBO panel convened to review the controversial decision would in fact unofficially find that the verdict awarded Timothy Bradley was unfounded.
To Tim’s credit though he would seek a rematch with Pacquiao in an attempt to clear the air, only to see the Filipino fighter opt instead to fight Juan Manuel Marquez stating he had nothing to prove after in his estimation he had defeated Bradley quite handily.
That brings us ironically to Ruslan Providnikov, Manny Pacquiao’s latest chief sparring partner. By way of Timothy bypassing on a much more lucrative rematch with IBF champion Lamont Peterson, yet another bewildering move, as well as having Cuban sensation Yuriorkis Gamboa elect not contest him due to apprehension over a disparity in weight, in steps Provodnikov.
A recent fixture on Friday Night Fights, the untested challenger will be delving into uncharted waters when he takes on an elite level fighter for the first time. With Ruslan’s most notable wins coming against faded fighters DeMarcus Corley and Emanuel Augustus, while at the same time he would come up short against a gatekeeper type in Mauricio Herrera, this doesn’t bode well for Provodnikov who will likely find the going difficult.
To land on the elusive and fleet footed Bradley in a significant way is simply a tall order for Ruslan. The Russian by all outward appearances looks to be in over his head from a technical as well as athletic standpoint. However, in trying to get to the defending champion Provodnikov seems to have a plan as regards those fleet feet. “Every one knows he’s [Bradley] got some huge feet so I’m going to step on his feet and beat him up,” commented the challenger.
A strategy which may prove beneficial except for the fact that Provodnikov is going to have to deal with the quick fists of Bradley first, perhaps rendering such an endeavor inadvisable. But undeterred in his mission the challenger is quite confident coming in.
“I know my fans have seen me on ESPN Friday Night Fights fighting a certain way, but on March 16th they will see a different Ruslan inside the ring. My work with conditioning coach Gavin MacMillan has made me stronger and faster and my endurance is tremendous. I have never felt so good,” concluded Provodnikov.
In the end I see this as a learning experience for Ruslan while perhaps more interestingly I’m anxious to see if Bradley’s latest training sessions prove to be fruitful. Specifically Tim feels that he has added power through technical development, so that in looking to make a statement he’s intent on stopping his once defeated opponent.
“Every fight from here on out is a statement fight, especially coming off the Pacquiao fight. I’m looking to make a statement in this fight and I’m looking to damage this guy. I do not want to go twelve rounds. The longer he stays around the more confident he will get so I want to get him out of there a soon as possible,” said “Desert Storm.”
We shall see what’s in store but with the quicker more agile Bradley also alluding to out boxing the challenger, a wide margin points victory seems more likely. Especially relevant considering that Ruslan is quite sturdy, while his straight-ahead style is likely to play into the hands of the champion.
All told Bradley is out to prove his opponent is not on his level, especially to Juan Manuel Marquez who will be seated ringside. Commented Timothy, “I’ve always wanted to fight Marquez. I’m gonna prove Ruslan Provodnikof don’t belong in the ring with me. Hopefully Marquez will sit there and watch and want to get in the ring with me to prove he’s the king. Will it happen? I don’t know, but we shall see.”
Also to appear in the co-main event 23 year old Las Vegas welterweight Jessie Vargas (21-0, 9 KO’s) will face off with Nigerian born Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso (23-0, 19 KO’s) 27 in a battle of undefeated’s, the winner to potentially garner a date with Tim Bradley should the main event fighter take care of business.
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