Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report

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Bradley Survives Provodnikov In an Early Candidate For Fight of the Year For 2013

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Ruslan Provodnikov (right) lands a right hand on Timothy Bradley (left) during their 12 round war Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Bradley retained the WBO Welterweight title by unanimous decision. Photo by Jae C. Hong (AP)

By. BrotherJR|Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report

3/17/2013

In talking about the Timothy Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov earlier this week, I honesty wasn’t expecting much.  To me Provodnikov was a decent, but not a great test for Bradley and that Bradley would win by a pretty comfortable decision.  Boy was I wrong as Bradley, coming off a nine month layoff following his controversial decision won over Manny Pacquiao last June,  and Provodnikov staged twelve rounds of all out war Saturday night in Carson, California as Bradley won by narrow unanimous decision (114-113 twice, 115-112) to retain the WBO Welterweight Title.  This is clearly the early candidate for fight of the year for 2013.

The fireworks got started early in round one as Bradley, instead of using his hand and foot speed to box Provodnikov  , elected to stand toe to toe and trade.  He paid for that decision as Provodnikov hurt Bradley, (30-0, 12 KOs), with a right hand that put Bradley down on the canvas.  What looked like and should have been ruled a knockdown was instead ruled a slip by referee Pat Russell.  Bradley got up on wobbly legs and Provodnikov pounced on Bradley who was saved by the bell.  The punishment continued in round two as Provodnikov, (22-2, 15 KOs), staggered Bradley again with a right hand and further hurt him with a left hook with twenty seconds left in the round.

However, Bradley showed all the heart in the world during fight.  He regained his bearings in round three and began to take some semblance of control, returning to boxing and landing solid combinations to the head and body of the Serbian Provodnikov.  He took advantage of Provodnikov, possibly tired from going all out to finish Bradley, to sweep rounds three through.

In the round six Provodnikov struck once again, hurting Bradley with a big left hook with 35 seconds to go in the round.  Though hurt, Bradley fought lived up to his nickname of the “Desert Storm” and fought back hard. As the round was ending, both fighters were trading viscous shots along the ropes and the crowd at the Home Depot Center showed their appreciation cheering both fighters at the end of what was the best round of the fight.  Provodnikov, though moving up from Jr. Welterweight, showed himself to be physically the stronger fighter and hurt Bradley every time he seemed to land a hard shot.

At the end of round 6 Joel Diaz, trainer of Bradley, threatened to stop the fight because Bradley wasn’t following the game plan and due the punishment that Bradley was taking.  However, the defending champ responded in round seven by gritting his teeth and regaining control of the action.  This proved to be the most successful moments of the fight for Bradley as he began moving around the ring, pumping his jab, and handing heavy combinations to the head and body.  At this point of the fight, the heavy punishment dished out by both fighters had taken its toll.  Both fighters were swollen, with Bradley producing swelling around his right eye while Provodnikov had heavy swelling around both eyes, particularly the left eye.  In round nine Provodnikov’s left eye was cut by way of a Bradley right hand and at the end of the round Provodnikov’s trainer, Freddie Roach, was considering stopping the fight because of the facial damage and the punishment that his fighter was receiving.  Bradley took control and gained a points lead on the scorecards based on his work from round seven through eleven, though Provodnikov was dangerous throughout.

Heading into the last round, Bradley was ahead on the scorecards.  What was already a corker of a fight got even more exciting and turned this bout into a classic.  Bradley seemed in control, when all of a sudden with 50 seconds to go in the round, Provodnikov landed a heavy left hook that badly hurt Bradley and knocked him all the way across the ring.  A follow-up assault in the form of a right had staggered the champ, forcing him to hold.  Two more right hand from Provodnikov put Bradley down with 10 seconds to go in the round.  Bradley got up, and before Provodnikov could follow-up, the bell sounded, ending the round and what was an outstanding battle.

In the aftermath there are a few observations.  First off, Bradley was a little off in this fight.  He seemed to lack the spark and fire of previous fights.  The backlash that he received from his win over Pacquiao has seemingly affected him and it showed in this fight.  With that being said, Bradley is all heart and a true warrior with the fighting spirit of a true champ.  Timothy Bradley is our modern-day Evander Holyfield.  All of the folks complaining about how Provodnikov was robbed on social media, I disagree.  Despite of the many times that Bradley was hurt throughout the bout, I felt he deserved the victory.  He simply outworked Provodnikov and landed his fair share of hard and punishing shots himself.  With that being said, Provodnikov put on the performance of his life and proved to be a real player in the Jr. Welterweight/Welterweight divisions.  Against a fighter with lesser desire and will, Provodnikov would have knocked that fighter out and left the ring as champion of the world.  There will be future big fights for Provodnikov.  He made a name for himself.

As for the future of both fighters, I would suggest that both Bradley and Provodnikov take a long rest.  This fight was brutal and punishing.  Bradley may have suffered a concussion and Provodnikov wasn’t in the greatest shape either.  Assuming that both fighters turn out OK after a few months of rest, I would love a rematch.  It only seems natural.  At this point, it looks as if Bradley will not get a rematch with Pacquiao.  A fight with Floyd Mayweather is not in the preeminent future as “Money” Mayweather will be fighting Robert Guerrero in May and hopefully Canelo Alverez in September.  A rematch against IBF Welterweight Champ Devon Alexander doesn’t doesn’t draw interest, neither does a match against Juan Manuel Marquez.  As for Provodnikov, who at Jr. Welterweight is eager to fighter him following his showing against Bradley?  And there will not be too many Welterweights willing to call him out either.  Plus, he is not exactly a big draw that brings a lot of money to the table.  In short, Provodnikov is a low reward, pretty high risk fighter.   As much as boxing fans enjoyed what they watched Saturday night, they would love it even more if the two fighters would get in the ring and get it on again.

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March 18, 2013 - Posted by | Blog, Boxing | , , , , ,

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