By Robert Morales
CARSON - Timothy Bradley (30-0, 12KOs) won a highly controversial split-decision over Manny Pacquiao to win a welterweight championship this past June 9 in Las Vegas. But Bradley did not get one bit of enjoyment out of the victory.
For the past couple of months Bradley has talked about how badly he wanted to get back in the ring to get that nasty taste out of his mouth. He got his wish Saturday when he defended his belt against Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2, 15KOs) of Russia at Home Depot Center.
Bradley, of Palm Springs, almost did not get the result he wanted, though. He was hurt in the first round, hurt badly in the second and sixth and decked in the 12 th. But Bradley came away with a unanimous decision in an absolute thriller in front of about 3,000. Judges Jerry Cantu and Marty Denkin both had Bradley winning 114-113, Raul Caiz Sr. gave it to Bradley by a 115-112 count.
Bradley's trainer, Joel Diaz, said Bradley was trying to make a point in this fight by going toe-to-toe with Provodnikov.
"And he (Bradley) paid the price for it," Diaz said. "He was hurt in every round."
Arum was excited about the exhilarating nature of the brutal bout that had Provodnikov's face looking like hamburger. He was cut over the left eye. His left eye also had a huge lump under it.
"You guys just saw a classic," Arum said. "You used to see fights like that all the time in the '50 s and '60 s. You have to be an attraction. You have to give the fans something to get excited about."
Robert Morales covers boxing for BoxingScene.com and the Los Angeles Daily News.