by David P. Greisman
Timothy Bradley’s fight with Ruslan Provodnikov last year did painful things to him physically, but it also did magnificent things for his career.
Their war, which Bradley won by close unanimous decision, has picked up “Fight of the Year” honors from the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Bradley spoke with BoxingScene.com on Jan. 29, talking about whether he’d go back in time to fight the Provodnikov bout any differently if he could, and discussing how that battle both hurt him and benefitted him.
BoxingScene.com: Occasionally we hear some boxers say, “Yeah, this fight I’m about to have could end up being a Fight of the Year,” but for other boxes, you don’t really want to be in the kind of fight that ends up being a Fight of the Year, do you?
Bradley: “You know, sometimes things just happen, man. We expect certain things to happen, and they don’t ever turn out like you wanted to. You see certain matchups in boxing where you’re like, ‘Oh my god, it’s going to be a tremendous fight, I can’t wait,’ and it’s a dull fight. And there are some instances where you have matchups where you don’t expect anything to happen, and then all of a sudden something happens and it’s big and it’s huge and it’s Fight of the Year, it’s unbelievable, and no one expected it.
“This was one of those moments in boxing where no one expected myself and Ruslan Provodnikov to fight the way we fought that night, to put it all on the line for boxing fans and for everybody, man. Ruslan caught me at a bad time, a bad time which was a good time for him, because after that fight he blew up and everybody recognized who Ruslan Provodnikov is, knows what he’s made of.
“And he went on like I said he was going to do, went on and won a championship. He came up short the night with me, but he went on and won a championship at 140, and I went on and won another great victory, one of the best victories of my career, against [Juan Manuel] Marquez, and now we’re here. But like I said, man, Fights of the Year, we can’t predict them. They just happen.”
BoxingScene.com: But in an ideal world, you’d be happy to win by easy knockout or easy decision as opposed to getting in a knock-down, drag-out fight, right?
Bradley: “Right. That’s my style. My style is basically hit and not get hit. But like I said, it was just a bad time in my career, a bad time in my life. I was basically looking to prove to myself and prove to all the fans around the world watching that I am a true fighter, a true champion, and that I belong at the top of boxing, by fighting the way I fought that night. It was for the fans. It was for my career, man, because after that fight, the green light was on and brought a lot more life into my career.”
BoxingScene.com: Now that you and Provodnikov are sharing this award, and given what happened, would you go back and fight any differently than you did?
Bradley: “I always say you learn from the past, and whatever happens that time, it just happens. There’s nothing you can do about it. So if I can go back in time and fight differently, but I can’t do that. So the reality of things is I’ve got to deal with it. I’ve dealt with it very well, and I’m pleased that I fought that way, because it really showed everybody what I’m made of, so I have no regrets whatsoever.”
BoxingScene.com: Say you did have that Marty McFly time machine — why would you go back and fight that bout differently if you could?
Bradley: “Because of the damage that I received in that fight. It was the first time I pissed blood. You hear a lot of guys say they piss blood when they’re in tough situations or tough fights, and it’s brutal, and guys are beating the crap out of each other, and it’s brutal, it’s just going back and forth. That was the first time I ever pissed blood in my life, man. It was a brutal fight, and I got a concussion. I suffered a concussion in the first round of the fight.
“I don’t want to receive that type of damage, man. I know I’m in the hurt business, but I’m in the business of doing the hurting, not to take shots. It really affected me months after the fight.”
Pick up a copy of David’s new book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsamazon or internationally at http://bit.ly/fightingwordsworldwide . Send questions/comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org Tags: Timothy Bradley , Manny Pacquiao , Pacquiao-Bradley Rematch , Pacquiao vs Bradley Rematch