By: Guillermo Rojo for www.itrboxing.com
March 16th, 2013 Home Depot Center Carson, California, Timothy Bradley (30-0,12 KOs) showed why he is a three-time and two division World Champion defending his WBO Welterweight Championship for the first time since dethroning then pound for pound champion Manny Pacquiao against a tough as nails contender in Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2,15Kos) . In an event where not just the fans but boxing experts alike had written off the fight before it even occurred, both fighters showed up to put on the show of a lifetime, where Bradley escaped with another controversial but fair unanimous decision with the scores of 114-113,114-113, and 115-112, against his hammer fisted opponent, who made Bradley taste the canvas on several occasions and made him work every single minute of the fight to pull out the victory.
In a fight that can be considered as a candidate for fight of the year, Bradley was seriously hurt in round one, almost stopped in round two, on wobbly legs in round five, and almost gone in round twelve yet showed the courage and determination that is expected from a champion of his caliber and was able to withstand the Russians relentless pressure and attack on just great stamina and the heart of a champion.
In what was supposed to be somewhat of a tune-up fight for Bradley, and a fight to showcase his talent against an opponent that seemed tailor made for the boxer-puncher style of Bradley, Provodnikov came ready to prove he was not a tune-up fighter for anybody and was determined to put the first blemish in Bradley’s otherwise perfect boxing record. In the first round , both fighters came out aggressively and wasted no time in getting into a middle of the ring brawl, Bradley had something to prove after his last fight and Provodnikov was ready to show he could compete at the elite level, in the first few exchanges it seemed like Bradley’s speed was going to be the determining factor in the fight until a perfect right hand thrown by Provodnikov landed on Bradley’s chin and though it was ruled a slip by referee Pat Russell, the champion was clearly hurt by the punch and instead of staying on the outside and fighting carefully, he decided to go back in and exchange with his opponent one more time giving fans what they crave and want a real fight. The second round proved not to be any easier for Bradley as Provodnikov applied constant pressure and landed powerful shots along with good timing and it looked as if the underdog would be scoring an early round knockout but Bradley’s heart, courage, and determination allowed him to finish the round. What happened next was Bradley’s come back of a lifetime something similar to his come from behind win of Junior Witter in 2008 after being knocked down, rounds three to eleven Bradley out boxed Provodnikov by increasing his work rate and staying on the outside, using his jab and uppercuts to tag his opponent all night, yet Provodnikov still found an opening from time to time and when he would catch Bradley it seemed like any punch could turn the momentum of the fight or end it like in the fifth round where Bradley was once again clearly hurt, and in the last round where Provodnikov dropped Bradley who had to dig deep in his soul to find that extra amount of energy that allowed him to finish the fight. It was amazing to see Bradley take some of the powerful shots he took and not go down and not only that but come back and continue to exchange in a sport where a controversial and unpopular decision can put a halt on your career Bradley showed that a gutsy performance and the sheer will power to win can also resurrect your career and win back the support and fans of the sweet science.
In Conclusion the judges had a razor-thin unanimous decision (114-113, 114-113, 115-112) that allowed Bradley to walk away with his perfect record intact while Provodnikov showed he can compete at this level of competition and is sure to have won fans as well as respect from the boxing community. One can argue that both fighters as well as the fans came out victorious in this action packed and wildly entertaining fight. Stay tune for a full ringside report.
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