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Tim Bradley – Ruslan Provodnikov finalized for March 16th at Home Depot Center, in Carson, California

Timothy BradleyBy Chris Williams: The talked about fight between WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KO’s) and 140 lb. contender Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO’s) has now been finalized for March 16th, at the Home Depot Center, in Carson, California, according to Steve Kim. Bradley’s promoter Bob Arum is saying the fight has been finalized.

If you’re a fan of watching the 29-year-old Russian Provodnikov fight on ESPN2 over the years, you’ll be happy that Arum has fought a light welterweight for Bradley to fight on March 16th. However, if you’ve been watching Provodnikov’s fights closely on ESPN, you’ll remember that he was dominated by Mauricio Herrera in a 12 round decision loss in 2011, and you’ll also have seen Provodnikov’s very, very questionable 12 round decision over journeyman DeMarcus Corley in December 2011.

If you saw both of those fights, you’re probably not going to be too excited about Bradley fighting Provodnikov, and you may see this as a title milking fight to keep him as the World Boxing Organization champion.

Bradley had an opportunity to take a couple of bigger fights against Lamont Peterson and Yuriorkis Gamboa, but they didn’t happen for various reasons. Having to settle for Provodnikov is a considerable step down from those two because he doesn’t have the same name that Peterson and Gamboa have.

Provodnikov, 5’6”, is the same height as Bradley, and is probably a little stronger. However, he’s not fast, he’s easy to hit, and he moves like a slower version of Miguel Cotto. Bradley should be able to easily beat him without any problems. Provodnikov tends to swell up around the eyes and cheekbones when he gets hit a lot, and I imagine Bradley should puff up fairly quickly.

Bradley is going to need to back off on the weight lifting because he looked slow and muscle bound in his controversial 12 round split decision win over Manny Pacquiao last June. Bradley was working out to build up more size and strength to compete with Pacquiao, but the extra muscle made him slow and his power was the same as before without any improvements.

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