Some fights of the years can be predicted, some are done off excellent matchmaking, and some just happen. On March 16th of the year in Carson, California at The Stub Hub Center where magic usually happens, the fight of the year happened. Going into the fight between Ruslan Provodnikov and Timothy Bradley, many felt it was going to be a lopsided decision victory for Bradley, some thought it would be a tough fight, but no one could have predicted the beautiful violence that took place that evening.
Tim Bradley was coming off a highly controversial decision victory over super star Manny Pacquiao where Bradley received death threats following the fight in 2012. Bradley was on our show last year and described the drama him and his family went through and how it affected his training as he ballooned in weight, something he normally doesn’t do. Top that with Bradley feeling he had something to prove to the people, that night in March, you could say we saw a different Bradley.
Provodnikov himself had something to prove as well. Before this Ruslan was best known as Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partner and for his performances on ESPN 2 and most felt that was his ceiling. Provodnikov, an all action fighter who you can say has never lost the second half in a fight; even in his loss to Mauricio Herrera was ready.
The stage was set, the first bell rung and then it happened. Bradley-Provodnikov was fierce action after round 1 where Bradley was doing well, moving, and volume punching. That volume punching however gave the Siberian Rocky openings while pressuring Bradley. Provodnikov had Bradley clocked and nearly out in the second round of the fight, but Bradley notoriously known for his conditioning, stayed up because of it.
The early rounds proved to be the start of something amazing as Bradley went on to say he felt concussed after the third round. Round 6 was one of the rounds of the year contenders as Provodnikov again had Bradley nearly out on his feet but Bradley fighting of heart and instinct stayed up fired back off the ropes as both traded punches right until the bell ended.
Joel Diaz, Bradley’s trainer was telling Tim that if he didn’t box and fight like he was trained to, he was going to stop the fight. Some say Bradley chose to fight that way but I’ll say after being concussed he had to fight that way and in part because Provodnikov was making him fight like that.
The carnage ensued in the later rounds. Bradley’s volume punching had damaged Provodikov’s face to a point where Roach was almost about to stop the fight. Then came the 12th, where another round of the year candidate took place. The pressure Provodnikov was able to sustain for 12 rounds and the punches landed, forced Bradley to take a knee. Had Bradley not taken the knee, there was a possibility that Bradley might have lost via stoppage, but he survived winning a decision on the cards.
Both men’s stock rose with the fight and both proved their worth once again when in back to back week in October, Provodnikov defeated Mike Alvarado as the underdog in Alvarado’s home state in Colorado and Bradley followed that up with a decision victory over hall of famer Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas. Both men are rumored to be in the running to fight Manny Pacquiao and I bet the public wouldn’t mind a rematch to try and recreate the magic happened on March 16th.
Rios-Alvarado 2: Not as good as the first but great action where Alvarado came back from a tough second round nearly being out from a jab to outbox Rios to a decision victory. Expect the rubber match in 2014, right?
Figueroa-Arakawa: carnage in Texas for 12 rounds where both men proved their hearts and showed it by massive exchanges through 12 and let the blood and guts all hang out.
Jones-Lebedev: another fight not expected to be that good in action. Jones is having a nice run at cruiserweight and Lebedev fought through massive lumps on his face, mainly his left eye in a fight that some say should have been stopped earlier, but was a hell of a fight.
Broner-Maidana: A fight where we saw a little of everything, 2 knockdowns, 2 humping motions, and an upset victory for Marcos Maidana.
Marquez-Segura: This had fight of the year written on it and it certainly delivered. Segura continues coming back.