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Bradley in rebound fight against Provodnikov tomorrow night in Carson, California

Timothy BradleyBy Allan Fox: You hate to see this as a comeback/rebound fight for WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KO’s), but that’s the only way you can really see his fight tomorrow night against light welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO’s) at the Home Depot Center, in Carson, California, USA.

Bradley won a highly controversial 12 round split decision against Manny Pacquiao last year in June in a fight where pretty much the entire world saw Bradley losing convincingly.

Bradley has since done nothing, sitting around and waiting for Pacquiao to give him a rematch that never happened, while at the same time saying no to a rematch against Lamont Peterson that would have given Bradley a big payday of $2.3 million. Bradley won’t make anything close to that tomorrow night against the 140 pound Provodnikov.

Provodnikov, 5’6”, doesn’t have the track record to even be in this fight with Bradley, but given that he was seen as an easy mark and has a high ranked at light welterweight, he was selected out.

There’s not much about Provodnikov’s seven-year pro career that jumps out at you. He was beaten by Mauricio Herrera, and has a controversial win over journeyman DeMarcus Corley. Other than that, the high point of Provodnikov’s career is him being a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao.

Bradley will be getting a big fight in the future against Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez, Brandon Rios or Mike Alvarado. It’s going to be one of those guys, and he’ll likely face all of them before he retires unless he leaves Top Rank. By signing with Top Rank, Bradley guaranteed himself a big payday against Pacquiao, but he limited himself to fighting only a tiny handful of fighters because his promoter Bob Arum seem to prefer to have his fighters face each other than other guys from other stables.

Bradley is kind of in a no-win situation tomorrow night against Provodnikov. If he beats him badly like many boxing fans think he will, then he’ll get no credit because Corley and Herrera also dominated Provodnikov. If he struggles and barely beats him, then fans will see Bradley as little more than a paper champion, which is kind of how they already see him.

If Bradley loses to Provodnikov then that would be a huge blow to his career, and it’s hard to imagine Arum wanting to keep Bradley after a loss like that. How does Arum take a beaten Bradley and put him back in with Pacquiao? Losing to an ESPN fighter like Provodnikov would tell you all you need to know about Bradley, and Arum would be crazy to continue to work with him following a loss like that.

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