WBO Welterweight Champion Timothy Bradley of Palm Springs will be defending his title for the first time when he takes on Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia on Saturday March 16 at Los Angeles’ Home Depot Center. Bradley won the title belt last time out with a highly controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao.
The 29-year-old Bradley is undefeated in his pro career and will enter the ring at 29-0 with 12 Kos. The 29-year-old Provodnikov has a record of 22-1 with 15 Kos. This is Bradley’s first bout in nine months and he may be a little rusty over the first couple of rounds. Provodnikov hasn’t fought since June either, so the first few rounds could be none eventful as they both try to find their timing. The Russian is also moving up in weight to challenge Bradley and he’s quite small for a welterweight at just 5-feet-6-inches tall. However, it shouldn’t be a disadvantage since Bradley’s the same height.
Provodnikov isn’t the big-name opponent most boxing fans had hoped for Bradley to face in his first title defence, but he’s a solid boxer. He turned pro back in 2006 and has fought the likes of Mauricio Herrera, Emanuel Augustus, Victor Castro, Demarcus Corley, and David Torres. His only loss came at the hands of Herrera who beat him by a 12-round unanimous decision in 2011. Provodnikov doesn’t mind getting into brawls and he’ll give it everything he has in the ring. His defence isn’t the greatest though and that means an accurate puncher like Bradley won’t have a problem finding him.
Bradley, who turned pro in 2004 and has faced the much tougher opponents, has to be careful that he doesn’t underestimate the Russian slugger though. If he’s not in excellent condition and isn’t well prepared he could be in for some trouble. Provodnikov can take a punch as well as he can dish one out and Bradley isn’t really known for his power. Bradley’s chin will be tested and he better have a good one if he hopes to retain his title.
The problem with Provodnikov though, is that he’s so easy to hit and this could lead to Bradley gaining a huge points lead on the scorecards. This will force the challenger to look for a knockout and that’s going to be hard to achieve. Bradley will be anxious to prove to the world that he wasn’t given a gift when he beat Pacquiao. He should be motivated and he’ll need to be to keep the Russian at bay.
Bradley is a far better boxer than Provodnikov as he has more natural skills and athleticism. The challenger may be hungrier and have more determination, but he’s probably going to have to stop Bradley to take away his title. This is going to be a difficult task for him to pull off and in the end Bradley’s superior skills should see him retain his title by a unanimous decision.