By Ryan Maquiñana
Welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley is close to finalizing a March 16th bout with Ruslan Provodnikov, sources have advised BoxingScene.com. A venue has not been determined, although Southern California is in play in terms of a locale. HBO will televise.
Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs), a former junior welterweight champion from Palm Springs, Calif., is coming off a controversial split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao where he suffered ligament damage in both feet. Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KOs), a native of Beryozovo, Russia, served as Pacquiao’s sparring partner for the Bradley clash and is on a five-bout winning streak.
Provodnikov, currently ranked at junior welterweight, was one of the original candidates to face Bradley on Dec. 15 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden Theater. However, the matchup never came to fruition, and neither man has fought since last June.
MaxBoxing.com’s Steve Kim revealed on Twitter that Bradley would submit to random drug testing administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). BoxingScene.com has been informed that in the event that Provodnikov secures the fight, he will also sign up for VADA testing.
Ryan Maquiñana was the boxing producer for NBCOlympics.com during London 2012 and writes a weekly column for CSNBayArea.com. He is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the Ratings Panel for Ring Magazine. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at Norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.