By Robert Morales
It's only been eight months since Timothy Bradley's highly controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao in a welterweight title fight on June 9 in Las Vegas. Everyone - except two of the so-called judges - had Pacquiao winning. Handily, even.
It was therefore no surprise that there was a bit of smack- talk at this week's Los Angeles news conference formally announcing Bradley's March 16 defense against Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia at Home Depot Center (on HBO).
While talking about this fight, Bradley brought Freddie Roach into the picture. Roach trains Pacquiao and Provodnikov.
"I already beat Freddie Roach's top dog, so I don't know how much Freddie can help this guy," said Bradley, of Palm Springs.
To which Roach had a fitting reply.
"Only Bradley and two other guys believe that," he said, referring to judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross, both of whom somehow had Bradley winning 115-113. "I think Bradley's been out in the desert sun too long."
Bob Arum promotes Pacquiao and Bradley. Obviously, Pacquiao has been Arum's cash cow and he was not happy with the ridiculous decision that night. He was asked Thursday what he thought about Bradley's comment.
"Bradley had his hand raised," Arum said. "If he had his hand raised, I guess he believes he won it, you know? Two judges believe he won it. In the absence of any hint of corruption, he technically won the fight, so you cant blame him for trumpeting that."
Bradley sustained injuries to his feet in the Pacquiao fight, and has declared himself healthy and ready to resume his career.
"I want to fight three or four times this year," said Bradley, 29. "I have the hunger back."
Provodnikov, also 29, is 22-1 with 15 knockouts. He most recently fought at an outdoor venue at Omega Products International in Corona, where he knocked out Jose Reynoso in the second round of their junior welterweight bout.
Provodnikov is moving up in weight for this challenge at Bradley's title, the one he's lucky to have.
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.