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Tim Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov on March 16th

Timothy BradleyBy Chris Williams: WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KO’s) will be facing light welterweight contender Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO’s) on March 16th at a still to be determined venue in the United States, according to

This isn’t the big name that the 29-year-old Bradley was hoping to get, as he wanted to take on Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao. But it looks like Bradley’s promoters at Top Rank aren’t taking any chances with him getting beaten by a contender from the welterweight division, so he’s being matched against 140 pound contender.

Bradley’s promoter Bob Arum had been saying that there’s a possibility of Bradley facing a big name on March 16th. I hope Provodnikov isn’t Arum’s idea of a big name because I see him as an ESPN2 type fighter.

The fight will be under the auspices of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), which means both guys will be getting tested throughout their training camp for any signs of performance enhancing drugs or other banned drugs.

Bradley turned down a chance at fighting Lamont Peterson in a rematch that would have given Bradley $2.3 million, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN. Bradley also was in discussions with super featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa, but that fight fell apart over their inability to agree on a catchweight.

Gamboa reportedly wanted a catchweight of 143 lbs. That’s a fight that would have been far more interesting than seeing Bradley face Provodnikov, but it also would have been a dangerous one for Bradley because Gamboa is fast and can punch. In that end that might be one of the reasons why the fight didn’t happen. Gamboa would have had a real chance of beating Bradley.

Provodnikov, 29, is ranked #2 WBO at 140, he was beaten by Mauricio Herrera by a 12 round unanimous decision in January 2011, and he has a questionable win over DeMarcus Corley in December 2011. I saw the Corley-Provodnikov fight, and I had Corley winning the fight by four rounds.

Provodnikov looked terrible in that fight, and was just walking into big shots all night long without blocking anything. How Provodnikov was given the decision in that fight is beyond me. Provodnikov isn’t an impressive fighter and it’ll be disappointing if this fight happens.

It looks like Bradley is going to take it easy with his WBO title until he gets a big fight, but it’s not as if he really has anyone dangerous to fight, though, considering his #1 WBO 147 contender is Jan Zaveck. Bradley might as well have fought him or one of his top 15 contenders instead of looking to fight at light welterweight in Provodnikov.

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