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Arum better keep Bradley away from Keith Thurman

Keith Thurman Timothy BradleyBy Dan Ambrose: All I can say after watching WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (30-0, 12 KO’s) go life and death with light welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KO’s) tonight is Bradley’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank better make sure that he has Bradley put off facing his mandatory challenger Keith Thurman for as long as possible to further milk his title because once Bradley faces Thurman, it’s going to be pretty much all over for Bradley.

Had that been Keith Thurman in the ring with Bradley tonight, Bradley wouldn’t have seen the 6th round. Thurman would have finished Bradley off quickly. As it was, Provodnikov had Bradley out on his feet in the 1st, 2nd, 6th and 12th rounds.

Bradley was dropped in the 12th round from three straight right hands from Provodnikov. It was pretty brutal to watch. I give Bradley a ton of credit for fighting through the moments where he was hurt and really upping the pace of the fight from rounds 4 through 10. Bradley was throwing over 100 punches per round, and looked to be on cruise control before Provodnikov came back to get the better of him in the 11th and then hurt him in the 12 to score a knockdown.

Although this was technically an optional title defense for Bradley because he fought a guy that’s not even ranked in the top 15 in the welterweight division, you’ve got to figure that Bradley will be given permission to bypass his mandatory challenger Keith Thurman for his next fight; you just know that’s going to happen. Arum is not going to let Bradley fight Thurman. What we’ll see is Bradley facing one of the following Top Rank fighters: Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, Brandon Rios or Mike Alvarado.

By the time Thurman gets a shot against the WBO welterweight champion, I highly doubt it’ll be against Bradley or any of the other Top Rank fighters. I see one of them vacating the strap because to face Thurman would be too risky.

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