By Cliff Rold
Winning a fight one doesn’t deserve is unfair. Sometimes, it’s even unfair to the winner. It can overshadow other things done in a fine career. Such has been the fate for Timothy Bradley, a very good prizefighter who committed no sin in the ring versus Manny Pacquiao.
Now, finally, he can put that behind him. While hardcore boxing heads stay basking in the glow of another turn back the clock win by Bernard Hopkins, Bradley goes back to work. He’s not the only man with work in front of him
These are the picks of the week.
Pick It: #3 Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov (Saturday, HBO, 10:15 PM EST/PST)
Before Pacquiao, Bradley (29-0, 12 KO) was almost universally recognized as the best Jr. Welterweight in the world. He had the wins to back the claim. Regardless of the perceptions of the outcome of the Pacquiao fight, the WBO Welterweight belt is now his. He can make of it what he will. After a long layoff, his first defense comes against a rough guy who worked hard to get a crack at a strap. Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO) isn’t pretty but he’s tough and he never, ever, makes for bad television. This fight could be a sleeper, a solid that most don’t see coming. Undefeated Jessie Vargas fills out the undercard of this interesting, if not sensational, edition of Boxing After Dark.
Pick GBP: Pablo Cesar Cano & Jorge Linares (Saturday, Fox Deportes, 10 PM EST)
This is a show with some redemption storylines. Cano (25-2-1, 19 KO) had a chance to bounce back from a loss to Erik Morales with a Welterweight title shot versus Paulie Malignaggi. He blew weight, showed up in less than great shape, and still nearly pulled off the win. Can he retrack his career against Manuel Perez (19-8-1, 4 KO)? Also on the show, Jorge Linares (32-3, 20 KO) tries to keep his ship righted with a fight against chinny journeyman David Rodela (16-7-3, 7 KO). Linares is like a sports car with all the right parts that just isn’t quite reliable. Can he ever make the run he has looked capable of? The former Featherweight and Kr. Lightweight champ can’t afford anymore setbacks.
Pick Solo: Robert Marroquin vs. Antonio Escalante (Saturday, UniMas, 11 PM EST/PST)
Marroquin (22-2, 15 KO) took a learning loss in a challenge for a 122 lb. belt last time out against Guillermo Rigondeaux. Did the lessons sink in? Escalante (28-5, 19 KO) was stopped in his last fight versus veteran Rocky Juarez in what was a fun fight. He’s been stopped four times over the years and will be a good gauge of the power of Marroquin, who managed to buzz Rogindeaux a couple times in their scrap.
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Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene and a member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]