Tim Bradley proves his chin, but ultimately fails to improve his status
It was like watching two separates fights at the same time on Saturday night as WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley seemed intent on trying to get himself knocked out with some highly strange tactics.
In rounds one, two, six and twelve against Ruslan Provodnikov at the Home Depot Center in California, ‘Desert Storm’ looked far from a world champion as he persistently fought inside against the hard-hitting Russian.
Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz must have been pulling what’s left of his hair out as the American was rocked and almost put down on several occasions during those sessions, in stark contrast to looking a pound for pound star in seven of the other eight rounds.
Provodnikov’s astute trainer Freddie Roach made the case for his fighter to have been given three 10-8 rounds in the aftermath, with the second certainly one of those, along with the twelfth with counting the knockdown. Round six could also come into that category and would have been enough to hand Provodnikov the victory, although Bradley has shown that he has a chin of granite and heart in abundance with the performance.
Whether the win is enough to propel Bradley further into the WBN P4P Top 10, I would say no based on the poor discipline shown by the two-weight world title holder – who should have stuck to his hit and move tactics for the whole contest and soundly beat Provodnikov without any debate.
The challenger could make a huge case for a rematch, but I fear it may never happen – even with the early ‘Fight of the Year’ calls by some knowledgable names in the sport. A return would almost certainly see Bradley stick to his boxing and avoid a war, failing to live up to what was a hugely entertaining first fight and Bob Arum will definitely be aware of that when scouting his next move.
Instead, I can see the shrewd promoter attempting to pit Bradley against one of the bigger names at 147 to capitalise on his extended publicity following the weekend’s win and whether Juan Manuel Marquez would come into play remains to be seen.
I just can’t see Arum giving up on a fifth fight with Manny Pacquiao for the Mexican, although Bradley would certainly be in the shake-up to meet the winner in the future if he can throw out the suicidal tactics deployed against Provodnikov and remain undefeated.