SAN DIEGO, March 13, 2013 - Even before his stunning split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao last June, Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley Jr. touted their “rematch” bout.
To call Bradley’s win controversial is as big an understatement as you get in boxing. The debate over the shocker may have quieted down, but has never been reconciled. Experts, fans, and even politicians remain unsatisfied and conspiracy theorists continue to grumble. Reviews of the fight by the World Boxing Organization and the Nevada State Attorney General resulted in no action.
Meanwhile, Bradley beat the biggest name in the sport of boxing, and all it got him was grief. He couldn’t get a rematch with Pacquiao. He turned down other offers from lesser fighters while holding out for bigger names and a bigger payday.
When those big name opponents failed to come through, Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) finally booked Saturday’s bout with Russian boxer Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KOs). It won’t be a pay per view under the bright lights of Las Vegas. It will be just a few miles down the road from Bradley’s home in Palm Springs at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
Bradley’s opponent Provodnikov may be best known as one of Pacquiao’s sparring partners at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym. Provodnikov helped Pacquiao prep for his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
Bradley is well trained, with an unquestioned drive and work ethic. He is a vegan, a family man, and no fighter is more determined. He is personally engaging; you can’t help but like what Bradley stands for as a man.
And yet Bradley hasn’t captured a fan following, not the way he should. Let’s bear in mind he is undefeated as a professional, the Pacquiao fight aside. In the ring, he is a boxer and a technician, not a knockout threat. Fans might forgive Bradley’s questionable victory over Pacquiao if he brought the action, but he doesn’t.
Provodnikov is an intriguing opponent for Bradley. The powerful Russian has been a difficult sparring partner for Pacquiao at the Wild Card gym under the guidance of their mutual trainer, Freddie Roach. For the first time, the Hall of Fame trainer will be in the Russian’s corner on fight night. Conflicts have prevented him from being on hand for previous bouts. Roach needs the win more than his fighter does. It was a rough 2012 for Roach, with losses by Amir Khan, Julio Caesar Chavez, Jr., and Pacquiao.
Both fighters made weight at 146.6 pound Friday night. The pair demonstrated good sportsmanship. No trash talk and no posturing, just a congenial pose and face off, and wishes of good luck all around.
On the undercard, two undefeated welterweight fighters will put their records on the line. Jessie Vargas of Las Vegas via Mexico (21-0, 9 KOs) will face Wale Omotoso (23-0, 19 KOs) of Nigeria. Along with maintaining a perfect record, the winner should get a shot at a bigger name figher later this year. It’s a battle of styles. Vargas is more skilled, but Omotoso has one punch knockout potential. Can Vargas do enough damage and stay away from a power shot that could end things early? Vargas is the better, more skilled boxer, but Omotoso has a big power advantage. Both fighters made weight without any trouble at the weigh-in Friday.
Before you get your St. Patrick’s Day weekend festivities started, check out a worthwhile evening of boxing entertainment.
Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov and Jesse Vargas vs. Wale Omotoso airs on HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” from the Home Depot Center in Carson, California at 10:15 p.m. Eastern/Pacific Time.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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