March 16, 1013

Home Depot Center - Carson California - HBO

WBO welterweight title fight

Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1-15 KO's) 

vs Timothy Bradley (20-0-12 KO's) 

The Iceman Cometh! 

The icy chill of Siberia, Russia, is about to fall over Southern California’s Home Depot Center in Carson on March 16th as Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1-15 KO’s) challenges Timothy Bradley (29-0-12 KO’s) for the WBO welterweight title. Bradley won the title from Manny Pacquiao by split decision in a bout whose scoring many people consider totally incompetent, if not criminal. Provodnikhov is taking no chances and is determined to not let this fight go to the scorecards.

Provodnikov will send a chill over Bradley with his determined and aggressive style. He is a non-stop fighter who has thrilled his fans over the years and has gathered a strong following through his many television appearances.

Siberia is no place for wimps and Provodnikov started learning his craft in a cold wooden gym with a freezing concrete floor in his hometown of Beryozovo on the Severnaya Sosoa River. During the winter, roadwork was often done over snow banks in complete darkness as temperatures dropped to minus 47 degrees.

Some critics wonder if this step is too soon for Provodnikov. He has been susceptible to lefts and he often stands up straight, rather than backing away without moving, when he gets into trouble. Freddy Roach, his trainer, will have corrected those problems by now.

People who think he is in over his head have apparently not been watching his fights. Jose Reynoso (16-3-1) lasted just three rounds and tough David Torres (21-2-2) was lucky to get away with his life. Provodnikov dropped Torres in the first, chopped him up and left him bleeding in the 5th, and put him down twice in the 6th  before the fight was stopped. He also beat former champion DeMarcus Corley by unanimous decision, former champion Javier Jaurequi by TKO, and handed Ivan Popoca his first defeat.

Although every fight is a gambol, Provodnikov feels he has the chips to play. His aggressive style should give Bradley fits and he is a tremendous body puncher, something that will slow down the faster Bradley. Stepping up in weight for the fight does not concern him and he promises a great bout if Bradley decides to fight rather than run.

Bradley has his own axe to grind. Suffering the taunts and jeers from fans after the Pacquiao fight he feels he has something to prove. He thinks he can walk over Provodnikov and bring the fans back to his side. He has the skills, if not the flash. In boxing it’s the flash fans want to see.

In his last 7 fights, not only has he beaten Pacquiao, but he has defeated Joel Casamayor, Devon Alexander, Luis Carlos Abregu, Lamont Peterson, Nate Campbell, and Kendall Holt. It’s just that no one remembers.

Putting up a real fight against Provodnikov should make an impression. He just needs to remember one thing: Provodnikov’s hometown of Beryozovo is the site of the first big gold strike in Siberia. Provodnikov may well be the second. Bradley needs to prove that all that glitters is not gold.


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