By Jackie Kallen
When Timothy Bradley got the win over Manny Pacquaio last June in Las Vegas, few regarded him as the “real” champion. The decision was so highly-controversial that fans were actually angry at Bradley for accepting the belt. Most believed that he clearly lost and was given a huge gift.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Now, nine months later, Bradley will climb back into the ring Saturday night in Carson, CA against Russian welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov. This is an interesting fight for me because Provodnikov’s only loss was to Mauricio Herrera, who was awarded a controversial win over my fighter Michael Dallas back in 2011.
If the judging had been more accurate, Bradley would not be the champion now and Dallas would have gotten the win against Herrera. Hopefully the judges will be on top of their game Saturday night.
Provodnikov is the heavier hitter of the two so he will be looking for any chance he can get to catch Bradley. Both boxers fight in the orthodox style and they are the same height. They are both 29 years old, but their levels of experience vary greatly.
A look at the two boxer’s records tells the story. Besides beating Edner Cherry back in 2008, which started Bradley on a dynamic roll, he went on to beat Kendall Holt seven months later. Both wins were unanimous decisions. A few months later, Bradley and Nate Campbell’s fight ended up as a NC when Campbell got cut in the 3rd round and could not continue.
Bradley then beat Lamont Peterson in 2009 and Luis Carlos Abregu in 2010. In 2011, he beat both Devon Alexander (who was undefeated at the time) and Joel Casamayor. Then came the fateful Pacman fight.
On the other hand, Povodnikov hasn’t really fought anyone close to that caliber. Back in 2010, he stopped previously undefeated Ivan Popoca and several months later he beat journeyman DeMarcus Corley in a unanimous decision. He stopped David Torres in 2012, but Torres had already been beaten by Julio Diaz and Ray Beltran. He finished 2012 by stopping Jose Reynoso in the 2nd round.
On paper, the Russian is in deep water here. Bradley will fight his heart out to show the world that the Pacquaio win was not a fluke. I believe Provodnikov will put up a solid battle for the WBO belt. Whether or not he can pull it off will be up to Bradley and his game plan. It is a given that Provodnikov’s trainer Freddie Roach will have him ready and armed with a good game plan of his own.
This one is personal for Freddie Roach. When Bradley got the nod over his protege Pacquaio, he was livid. Rightfully so. A win on Saturday night will definitely assuage Roach’s feelings.
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen