Tonight live from the Carson Center in California, WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley will step into the ring against Ruslan Provodnikov for the first time since his globally discussed and controversial split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao last June. But before the world title bout commences and Bradley has the chance to show the boxing world that he is a legitimate belt holder, undefeated welterweights Jessie Vargas and Wale Omotoso will get the action started.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s protégé Vargas (21-0, 11 KO) has been rolling through the early part of his career; since turning pro in 2008, the 23-year-old power puncher has dominated his opponents, yet by this point in his career he was expected to have the stature of at very least a world title contender, and quite possibly a belt holder. But the young fighter has seemed to hit a road block in recent years. Despite staying active inside the squared circle, fighting a minimum of four times the past three years, he has yet to really step up against a big name and be tested to see where he sits in one of the most stacked divisions in boxing.
What he needs against the undefeated Omotoso (23-0, 19 KO) is not only a victory, but one in impressive fashion to show the fight world that he is ready to make a title run and fight the bigger welterweight dogs. Being televised on the Bradley/Provodnikov undercard is the opportunity he has been waiting for. Millions around the world will be tuning in to watch Bradley defend his title, and will have the chance to see what the young welterweight is all about.
Across the ring Omotoso too holds an impressive record, though outside of the journeymen he has laid out, he has yet to really prove what he brings into the ring. A large underdog coming into this showdown of undefeated welterweights, he has everything to gain with if he is able to pull off the upset against Vargas.
This fight is more about defining who Vargas is and where he stands in the division than determining who the better fighter is. There has been big talk about the young prospect, and fans and critics around the world are awaiting his emergence to the next level to show he is ready to battle the elite.
Undoubtedly both undefeated warriors will be looking to shine on HBO and put on a performance for the fans around the world.