Bradley vs Provodnikov Time
Saturday, 10:15 PM ET
(live ET/tape-delayed PT)
United Kingdom Time:
Bradley vs Provodnikov Broadcast:
HBO (USA); BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin. Ch. 546)
Tiltle: WBO Welterweight (Bradley's first defense)
Bradley vs Provodnikov Undercard:
Welterweights - Jessie Vargas (21-0, 9 KOs) vs Wale Omotoso (23-0, 19 KOs)
* Actual fight time for the Bradley fight may be closer to 11PM ET/8PM PT/4 AM UK
Bradley vs Provodnikov will mark the first time Timothy Bradley will have stepped into the since June 2012 when he upset Manny Pacquiao, receiving what might have been the most disputed verdict in the last 20 years.
After winning a hotly controversial decision over PacMan, one of the most popular athletes in sports, Timothy Bradley may be the most disliked fighter in boxing.
Known only to hardcore fans a year ago, Timothy Bradley has leaped into the public consciousness after his now-infamous fight with the Filipino legend.
Saturday night, Bradley will look to impress his naysayers and prove once and for all his name should be mentioned along side the Mayweathers, Pacquiaos and Marquezes.
Rated in the Top 10 in nearly all reputable pound-for-pound Lists, Bradley is ranked higher than Floyd Mayweather's next opponent, Robert Guerrero, and Brandon Rios, a potential Manny Pacquiao prospect.
Moreover, prior to his disputed win over Manny Pacquiao, Bradley had defeated highy-rated Luis Carlos Abregu (who was 29-0 at the time), Kendall Holt, Lamont Peterson, Miguel Vazquez and Devon Alexander.
Nevertheless, many fans seemingly view Timothy Bradley with disdain instead of respect.
Will Bradley do something over-the-top against Provodnikov to gain the favor of fans or at least regain some of his lost respect?
“I wouldn’t be surprised if I knock the guy out,” Timothy Bradley said. “I want to beat him down, beat him up, and if the knockout comes, that’s fine."
"Everything’s flowing for me now. My shots are more solid, I’m more composed. I’m hitting as hard as hell, I’m bruising, and I can’t wait to hit this dude on the button and finish him."
Who Is Ruslan Provodnikov?
A volume-punching brawler from Russia, the relatively unknown Ruslan Provodnikov has had hardcore fight critics buzzing for sometime and has even served as a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao.
His sole loss came via a controversial decision at the hands of Mauricio Herrera on Friday Night Fights' season opener on January 7th, 2011. Since then, Rulan has gone 5-0, 4 KOs, including a spectacular 6th Round stoppage of David Torres (then 21-3-2, 13 KOs) on ESPN Friday Night Fights in January 2012.
Trained by Freddie Roach, Ruslan doesn't have any major names on his ledger but he did orchestrate a decision win over a tough and gritty veteran in DeMarcus Corley (then 37-18-1) in 2011 .
“I’m going to use my power to the full,” Provodnikov said Wednesday at L.A. Live’s Conga Room news conference with Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs). “That’s the plan, and once I hit him, my punches will be stronger and stronger.”
“My style is what I was born with. I got it with my mother’s milk,” he said. “I don’t try to take punches on purpose. Some are saying he punches harder. We’ll see."
Ruslan Provodnikov is entertaining in the ring and will take some shots to land his own. But will his style play right into the hands of Timothy Bradley Saturday night?
A big underdog, the Russian has everything to gain and little to lose.
From a strategic standpoint, Bradley must use his superior skills, athleticism and ring guile to set traps and befuddle the onrushing Russian. The American must be hard to find and punch from angles where Rulan can't fire back - something Bradley is very good at.
Moreover, look for Bradley to try to catch the pressuring Provodnikov coming in with his right hand. Known for being a boxer-brawler, Timothy will likely adopt the role of slick boxer Saturday night.
And lastly for Bradley, he wants showdowns with Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez so it would behoove to do something extraordinary. A plain ol' 12 round decision probably won't mesmerize the masses or move him any closer to a major PPV showdown.
Since many believe Pacquiao, an aggressor like Ruslan, defeated Bradley, expect the Russian to attempt to engineer a similar gameplan against Bradley. But unlike PacMan, Provodnikov's technical capabilities, speed and footwork pale in comparison to Manny's.
Provodnikov's onrushing style worked against lesser fighters but he'll need more than that to beat Bradley. The Russian must try to corner Bradley on the ropes to take away, or at least impede, the American's movement. His goal should be to lure Bradley into to toe-to-toe exchanges and make Bradley vs Provodnikov an all-out war.
Bradley vs Provodnikov.... Saturday night.