By Jake Donovan
Timothy Bradley thought he hit the lottery when he was given a split decision win over Manny Pacquiao last June. The first to beat the sport’s most popular – and arguably best – fighter at the time in more than seven years, Bradley expected the accolades to immediately follow in the aftermath of just his second fight at welterweight since entering the title fray some four years prior.
What he instead received was the ire of an industry fed up with incompetent judges. He also found himself at odds with his promoter, Top Rank over the direction of his career. A rematch with Pacquiao was never aggressively pursued, as Bradley was instead offered fights that didn’t pique his interest.
Nine months later, the unbeaten welterweight titlist shakes ring rust to take on another fighter moving up in weight. Tonight’ fight is simply means for Bradley to stay active rather than grow stale on the sidelines, but it means the world to Ruslan Provodnikov, whose lone loss is a controversial decision to Mauricio Herrera. However, the one loss outweighs any of his wins, which explains the stacked deck against him.
How does the staff at Boxingscene.com see the action going down tonight at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California? Read on to find out.
PREDICTIONS – BRADLEY V. PROVODNIKOV
“Bradley to win.”
- Damien Acevedo (Bradley)
“Bradley KO11- I know this pick may surprise some people but Tim Bradley has. Said he will be agressive and I believe it. I think Provodnikov's straight forward style is tailor made for Bradley. I don't think Ruslan hits the canvas but the accumulation of punches landed will cause the fight to be stopped on cuts or Freddie Roach will throw in the towel to save his fighter.”
- Ryan Burton (Bradley)
“If Bradley comes in with the same chip on his shoulder as he’s had with the media and even his own promoter, then a knockout is not only possible but the expected outcome. The unbeaten titlist knows this is a statement fight more so than any other. The guess here is that he fails short of scoring a stoppage, but tries like hell for all 12 rounds. Bradley UD.”
– Jake Donovan (Bradley)
“I think it will be closer than the scores will indicate (8-4ish) and some may even think Provodnikov may have won but in the end Bradley's conditioning experience and skill will prevail. Bradley UD.”
– Ernest Gabion (Bradley)
“Bradley probably won't win much respect or accolades from winning this fight, but his official record, one of his best assets, will look better, going from 29-0 into a new 10's column - 30-0. Provodnikov is moving up in weight and has previously been outboxed by Mauricio Herrera; I don't see him causing too many problems for Bradley, who is an exceptional boxer still adjusting to the welterweight division himself. Perhaps after this UD victory, Bradley will give himself a test worthy of one of the P4P top boxers in the world.”
- Richard Najdowski (Bradley)
“I like Tim Bradley to win a tough 12-round decision over Provodnikov. I think Bradley is motivated by the disappointment from the Pacquiao fight and I expect him to control the action with a few rough spots along the way.”
- Chris Robinson (Bradley)
“Bradley Dec. Provodnikov: Ruslan will make this fun. He makes just about every fight fun. Bradley's better boxing skills, and sharper punches, will allow him to stay a step ahead and take a firm points nod.”
– Cliff Rold (Bradley)
“I like Ruslan much. A true down-to-Earth fellow, a nice man who turns beast when he enters the ring. What can you dislike about him? Nothing. However, in a fight of good guys, one, who is more skilled and polished, will win. If Bradley will be Bradley of old, he will just outbox Ruslan and overwhelm him with his workrate. If not, and he chooses to take the fight to the Russian... well, it can be more interesting but Tim's skills will dominate Ruslan. I feel scores like 117-111 can be in place for the fight, which will look like another Abregu fight for the champion. I wish to be wrong though.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Bradley)
Total – Timothy Bradley 8, Ruslan Provodnikov 0
Timothy Bradley defends his welterweight title against Ruslan Provodnikov in his first fight since his upset points win over Manny Pacquiao last June. The show airs live from the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif (Sat, HBO 10:15PM ET)
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: