by David P. Greisman
Timothy Bradley’s trainer says he’s open to the idea of his fighter having a rematch with Ruslan Provodnikov — but that fans shouldn’t expect to see another war like that which happened this past Saturday on HBO.
“We'll be smarter and box more like what you saw in the middle rounds,” Joel Diaz said Wednesday in a chat on ESPN.com.
The game plan for Bradley wasn’t to stand in front of Provodnikov like he ended up doing from the get-go, he wrote.
“I knew he [Provodnikov] was a strong puncher. Our plan was to move, box him, work angles, a lot of footwork. We worked on jabbing him,” Diaz wrote. “My concern was Timothy coming into the ring, and after being attacked by the world after Pacquiao … him going off on his own. Timothy has told me, ‘Coach, when I do what you say, I do well. When I go on my own, I get into trouble.’ In this fight, he did the same thing. He steps up to the level of competition. He went in and got hurt. Ruslan is a tough kid. Timothy could have made it a boring fight, but he decided to exchange.
“I didn't expect the fight to go the way it went. After the first round, Timothy told me, ‘This guy is strong.’ I told him, ‘Then why are you standing in front of him?’ It's hard to stop a guy like that. He's strong, determined. After Timothy got hurt, it was hard to get his defenses back. He fought on will.”
Diaz is also open to Bradley returning to junior welterweight, where his last appearance was a November 2011 stoppage of Joel Casamayor, a bout that preceded last year’s highly controversial win for Bradley over Manny Pacquiao.
“Timothy going back to 140 is more of an advantage. He's a small fighter. He's compact. He should be at 140. I agree with him at 140 and not fighting those big guys. Coming into this last fight, you could tell the difference. But Timothy feels good at 147 and [it keeps] him active. Maybe in the future we go back to 140 again.”
Yet Bradley’s next opponent will be up to his promoter, Top Rank, Diaz wrote.
“I think Timothy proved enough in this fight that he can step up to another level, like a Marquez, a Mayweather, somebody like that,” he wrote. “But at the end of the day, I don't make the decisions.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]