By Ryan Burton
WBO junior welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov has openly campaigned for a fight against Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez ever since he picked up his title by stopping Mike Alvarado this past October. Talks for such a fight stalled because Marquez said that he was more interested in facing Tim Bradley while Provodnikov and Bradley became finalists to be Pacquiao's next opponent.
Pacquiao ultimately decided to face Bradley in a rematch of their controversial June 2012 fight which leaves Marquez and Provodnikov without dance partners for their next fight. Provodnikov said that he absolutely wants to face Marquez next and went as far as to say that if the four division champion turns down the fight it is because he is scared of facing the hard charging Russian.
"I think that the Pacquiao versus Bradley rematch will be interesting but it might be very similar to their first fight. Unless Manny decides to be more aggressive and take risks, it will be hard for him to defeat Tim Bradley on the scorecards. I am very relieved that the fight for Manny is finally finalized. I am glad that in my next fight I will have my trainer Freddie Roach and the rest of my team in my corner, that is very, very important to me.
"Marquez now knows that Bradley is not fighting him until maybe the end of the year, and Marquez is not getting any younger, so I know that the only possible pay-per-view fight for Marquez that will draw is against me, and if he doesn't agree to the fight now I am sure he is just afraid of me," Provodnikov told BoxingScene.com.
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