Bradley-Provodnikov: Why Both Fighters Won and Lost
By Andrew Garewal: If you tuned in to watch the Tim Bradley – Ruslan Provodnikov bout this past Saturday night, you witnessed quite a battle ending in a unanimous decision for Timothy Bradley. Both fighters engaged in exciting flurries and dangerous exchanges which had the crowd on their feet throughout the fight.
Provodnikov landed the more significant punches, but Bradley managed to box his way to victory while Provodnikov was refueling his gas tank.
Provodnikov showed us that he truly is the “Siberian Rocky”, able to withstand brutal punishment and fight back with heart and ferocity. All the while Bradley was playing the role of “Desert Apollo Creed”, electing to abandon his outside game and over-confidently enter Rocky’s wheelhouse only to encounter a Russian bombardment. No one can deny the fight was exciting, but Bradley clearly made it out of the bout the victor. Though he did so badly beaten and “concussed”, as he told Max Kellerman in the post fight interview.
Provodnikov came into the bout virtually unknown and outside the realm of relevance within the division. Provodnikov put on display an arsenal of punching power and offensive grittiness that has come to be expected from Freddie Roach’s Wild Card camp. Provodnikov may have lost the fight, but he won many fans and gained a lot of recognition in the process. It is not unthinkable to place Provodnikov within the upper-to-mid ranks of the division right now based on his performance, power and resilience. We will see more of Provodnikov here in future.
Bradley came into this bout after a long lay-off following his controversial decision over Pacquiao. He didn’t appear his normal athletic and energetic self for the first few rounds. The 40 lbs he reported to have gained and lost since the last fight may have added to his ring rust. Regardless of the lay-off or weight issue, Bradley has been exposed in this fight. Provodnikov has shown the rest of the boxing world the proper formula to defeat the WBO champion. There are positives for Bradley which can be taken from this fight. Bradley has the heart of a champion, nobody can deny that. He battled back from being extremely hurt, and at times out on his feet to defend and retain his championship. But Bradley has been exposed, and his days as champ could be nearing an end.
Next up as his mandatory challenger is Keith Thurman. Dan Ambrose recently wrote that should Bradley face Thurman, “it’s all over for Bradley”. While I don’t always agree with Ambrose, I feel many share his thoughts on that prediction.
What’s next for Bradley? Allow me to humor the reader for a moment. Since talks between Pacquiao and Marquez appear to have fallen out for Arum and Top Rank. Wouldn’t an ideal match-up for Marquez be the seemingly exposed Bradley? Nearing the twilight of his career, Marquez could possess a Welterweight championship and possibly bring in a PPV opportunity for Top Rank to cash in. Given this bout, I could see Marquez having enough power and skill to expose Bradley as Provodnikov has. Top Rank and Golden Boy won’t work together to bring the Thurman match-up. And wouldn’t it be great to see Marquez go out on top and retire as a Welterweight champion?