By Luis Sandoval
After making a successful comeback against Brandon Rios last November, Manny Pacquiao and his team needed to find his next opponent for his first big fight of the calendar year. While Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach expressed that they wanted their chance at revenge against Juan Manuel Marquez, Marquez made it very clear he had no intentions of facing his Filipino arch nemesis a fifth time.
Pacquiao’s options became more limited but he eventually agreed to fight WBO Welterweight champion Timothy Bradley to whom he had lost a controversial decision to back in June of 2012. His alternate option was Ruslan Provodnikov who is also trained by Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach. While the match up with Provodnikov was mouth watering to fans, there appeared to be an obvious conflict of interest.
When BoxingScene spoke to Pacquiao, he was asked if he would have a problem facing Provodnikov given the circumstances.
“You know, about that fight, it’s up to my promoter. I have no problems with my opponents. Whoever the promoter wants me to fight, I’ll fight [them]” Pacquiao would tell BoxingScene.
Friends fighting each other in boxing happens and fighters ultimately decide to put their friendship to the side for one night and treat it as business.
Trainer Freddie Roach was actually pleased with Bradley as an opponent as he didn’t want to lose one of his prized fighters in Provodnikov which would’ve complicated things.
“No, the thing is Ruslan was offered the fight and I didn’t want to lose one of my champions but obviously I would in that situation but finally the Bradley fight came through. If we would’ve fought Ruslan he would’ve had to get a new trainer, a whole new program and so forth. So it was really hard to make that fight and [Pacquiao and Ruslan] are friends” said Roach.
If Pacquiao is victorious in his rematch with Bradley, he will need to revisit his options again and while Marquez has since said he’d fight the winner since he’s after the WBO title, you have to imagine Provodnikov will eventually have to be considered an opponent again at some point down the line.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter & Instagram @Truewest007.