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Bradley-Provodnikov set for March 16th

Timothy BradleyBy Allan Fox: WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KO’s) will be facing #2 WBO 140 pound contender Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO’s) on March 16th. This is a fight that Bradley’s promoter Bob Arum liked, and HBO also liked the match-up as well, which is they agreed to televising the fight.

Bradley turned down a fight against Lamont Peterson last December that reportedly would have given him much more than he’s receiving for the Provodnikov bout. Bradley also had a fight against super featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa slip through his fingers due a catchweight problem.

Going from those guys to Provodnikov is a considerable step down for Bradley, and hopefully he can stay busy after this fight because he really should have said yes to the Peterson fight instead of waiting and this fight. It’s a business decision.

The Provodnikov-Bradley fight will have the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association overseeing the testing for performance enhancing drugs. Whether this will be something Bradley will have for all of his future fights is unclear. Fellow Top Rank fighter WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire is having testing for his fights, and it’s possible Manny Pacquiao may have testing for his fifth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez next September.

Arum said to Dan Rafael at ESPN “We talked to HBO and we thought this was the most fan friendly fight we could make for Bradley. Provodnikov is a guy who will press Bradley and a guy Bradley hasn’t fought before.”

Peterson was someone that Bradley had beaten previously in 2009, and that’s one of the reasons for Bradley’s lack of interest in facing him again.

It would be interesting to know what other possible opponents Arum was looking at for Bradley with HBO. Some boxing fans think Arum chose Provodnikov for Bradley because he doesn’t have any popular welterweights or light welterweights to put in with him. As such, he’s settling for putting Bradley in with Provodnikov, a fighter that has fought a number of times on ESPN and has looked mediocre against fringe level opposition.

The good news with the Bradley-Provodnikov fight is Bradley will probably win, but the bad is it’s going to lack any suspense because Provodnikiov was already exposed by Mauricio Herrera and DeMarcus Corley.

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