by David P. Greisman
The best fights for the fans are not always the best fights for the fighters themselves. And so while Timothy Bradley might have gained many more fans after his brutal war this past Saturday with Ruslan Provodnikov, the bout didn’t at all follow the strategy that had been planned.
“I learned that I am my own worst enemy. Standing there and trading with a big puncher was an idiotic move,” Bradley wrote Wednesday in a chat hosted on ESPN.com. “I really don't know [why] I did it, I really don't. I guess I had to do what I had to do. The game plan was to box him, but I didn't do it. I wasn't listening to my corner. I have to work on my defense a little more, and I'm my own worst enemy. I’ve always said I’m going out swinging.”
Yet he had started out swinging, too, which left him more vulnerable to getting hit early and often, hurting him and dragging him into an extended battle with a heavy-punching Provodnikov.
“Every time he hit me, he rattled me,” Bradley wrote at one point.
“It was an unbelievable fight, man,” he wrote at another point. “A lot of the things that happened, I don’t even remember.”
Bradley demonstrated as much in a post-fight interview with Max Kellerman on Saturday night, when he told Kellerman that he couldn’t remember what he had said to the HBO analyst just seconds earlier.
With a few days to recover, Bradley, who improved to 30-0 with 12 knockouts and 1 no contest, said he has watched video of the bout perhaps nine times.
“It was an easy fight that I made hard for himself,” he said. “[D]efinitely the hardest fight of my career. I’ve never taken this much punishment in my life.”
He was able to win by a very close unanimous decision, with scores that very easily could have instead been a draw or a win for Provodnikov had the referee ruled a couple moments in the first round (when Bradley went to the canvas) and second round (when Bradley appeared to be held up by the ropes) as knockdowns — or had the judges opted to score those rounds 10-8 for Provodnikov even without official knockdowns.
“I never thought I had it won, ever,” Bradley wrote. “There was not one point in the fight I thought I had it won. When you're concussed or damaged, you just don't know. I lost track of how many rounds I won and how many I didn't win. That's why I asked my corner if I was winning the fight, so I knew if I had to step it up. I never felt I was winning, I felt I was losing the fight.”
He noted that he received a negative CT scan at the hospital and said he will fight again this year — and will preferably fight twice more in 2013. He left the door open for a second meeting with Provodnikov, though he said that decision depended on what his handlers thought.
“I'll fight a rematch every day of the week,” Bradley wrote. “But I focus on my team, my promoters and manager. If they say they want a rematch, then I'll do it.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org