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Provodnikov to be used as Bradley clone for Pacquiao sparring

Manny Pacquiao Timothy BradleyBy Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao will be using light welterweight contender Ruslan Provodnikov (21-1, 14 KO’s) as the Bradley-like clone to get the 33-year-old Pacquiao ready for his June 9th fight against unbeaten Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KO’s) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Having seen Provodnikov fight on a number of occasions, I have to say that he is nothing like Bradley at all. They might as well have brought in Buboy at act as the Bradley clone for Pacquiao to bat around the ring because he’s probably a better choice than Provodnikov. The Russian fighter is nothing like Bradley, and I see this as wasted sparring time. Provodnikov is a lot slower than Bradley, not as skilled and not nearly as powerful. I’ve never been impressed in the least with Provodnikov.

From day one, I knew he was going to get beat the first time he steps up and sure enough, Provodnikov was beaten by Mauricio Herrera by a 12 round decision last year in January. And in his fight last December against DeMarcus Corley, I thought Provodnikov deserved to lose that one as well. I didn’t agree with the scores in that fight at all.

Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach are concerned with Bradley sometimes clashing heads. However, they have nothing to worry about because Bradley rarely clashes heads with his opponents. Sometimes he’ll bump heads with an opponent that has a style clash with his, but for the most part it rarely happens. If Pacquiao is going to be worrying his head about head-butts he’s going to waste all that time he should be using to try and get in shape. He needs to do something so he stops getting leg cramps and wearing down in the second half of his fights. If Pacquiao fades or develops leg craps against Bradley, he’ll take a beating and lose the fight.

Instead of using Provodnikov, Pacquiao and Roach need a better slugger than that. They need to search the 140 to 147 pound ranks to see if they can find a better fighter with a style more similar to Bradley, because Provodnikov is the last fighter I would choose to mimic Bradley. Pacquiao might as well be sparring Amir Khan, because that’s how much Provodnikov and Bradley have in common.

At the end of the day it probably doesn’t matter who Roach picks out as Pacquiao’s sparring partner because the fight could come down to whichever fighter has the better stamina and inside game. Right now that would have to be Bradley because of his superior inside game, better stamina and youth. He has less miles on him than Pacquiao and that could be a telling factor in the fight. The only question is whether the judges will give Bradley the win if beats Pacquiao. I’m not sure that they will. We’ve seen Pacquiao win fights against Juan Manuel Marquez where Pacquiao appeared to lose, so it might not matter that Bradley dominates Pacquiao. He could still lose by decision.

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