Arum: Bradley to face winner of Pacquiao-Marquez 5 in 2014
By Chris Williams: If you’re wondering why WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KO’s) is taking a soft first defense of his WBO welterweight title against light welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO’s) on March 16th at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, it’s because Bradley’s promoter Bob Arum at Top Rank plans on matching Bradley against the winner of the September bout between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, according to Dan Rafael.
I can’t say I’m surprised about this news because I figured Bradley would get another shot at Pacquiao if for no other reason that he’s one of the few fighters Arum has in his Top Rank stable at welterweight. Arum doesn’t have much t 147, and since he likes to keep his fights in house, I just knew Bradley would get another shot against Pacquiao really soon.
I’m not sure why Arum doesn’t want to have Brandon Rios skip in front of Bradley so that he could have a turn, but I guess it’s maybe more important for Arum to try and have the Filipino redeem himself by beating Marquez – likely by another controversial decision – and then look to try and beat Bradley without controversy. If Pacquiao wins both of those fights then he’ll be back to where he was previously before he suffered defeats to Bradley and Marquez in his last two fights.
If Bradley gets past Provodnikov, Arum wants to match Bradley against a top contender later on in the year, and then after that against the winner of the Pacquiao-Marquez 5th fight.
As far as the Bradley-Provodnikov fight goes, it looks like Arum isn’t taking any chances with Bradley by matching him against anyone good. I’ve seen Provodnikov on ESPN2 for a couple of years now, and I think he’s perfect for the network, but I don’t see him as HBO level fighter. Provodnikov took a beating in losing to Mauricio Herrera, and in his highly controversial 12 round decision over journeyman DeMarcos Corley.
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