Timothy Bradley has finally agreed on an opponent and will be seen back in action soon enough. Bradley will have been 9 months removed from the ring when he steps into the ring on March 16th, defending his WBO welterweight title against Ruslan Provodnikov at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
Bradley is no stranger to inactivity, something it seems his career has been plagued with, whether by promotional issues, lack of opponents, or just plain and simply playing hardball for financial and economic gain. Now, if he were a Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao it would be understandable to see him only fight one or two times a year, but a champion in his prime shouldn’t be wasting his career with so few fights.
The beginning of this trend would start after Bradley’s win over now current IBF champion Lamont Peterson. “The Desert Storm” would be sidelined for nearly a year before we would see him making his HBO debut and his debut at welterweight against Luis Carlos Abregu. Bradley went on to win by wide unanimous decision. This fight would be followed by a six month side lining before facing and defeating Devon Alexander.
More of the same would continue, his next dance partner Joel Casamayor would take place ten months later also becoming his debut as a Top Rank Promotions fighter. Bradley would sit out seven-months in anticipation for what would be known as the biggest fight of the young champion’s career; he would square off and controversially defeat Manny Pacquiao.
Bradley believing a rematch would be on the horizon sat out of the boxing game until now. Pacquiao moved on from Bradley, saying he had nothing to prove against a fighter that the consensuses say he beat, and instead took a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.
This incident was possibly the wakeup call Bradley needed, negotiations commenced and rumors would fly of possible opponents Bradley would turn down to the sum of $2.3 million. Opponents such as current IBF champion Lamont Peterson — a fighter Bradley had already beaten — something that now has become impossible due to Peterson signing with Golden Boy. A possible fight, in which many saw as a ridiculous one, was the negotiations for Bradley versus Gamboa, but these negotiations would also fall apart due to 4 pounds. Bradley would decline the catch weight of 143 pounds. This is something that made no sense to me as Bradley has been a career junior welterweight and unified champion at that division. He’s only one fight removed from the junior welterweight division, to face a man moving up nearly 3 weight classes would seem like the obvious choice for any fighter, as Bradley would have all the advantages in that fight.
Due to politics in boxing corruption, favoritism and just plain greed we are forced to see Ruslan Provodnikov go up against Bradley, no disrespect to Provodnikov, but a few months ago he wasn’t good enough in the eyes of Top Rank to face Brandon Rios, but he’s good enough now? So Provodnikov all of sudden becomes a creditable opponent even if he’s moving up in weight to face Bradley. One thing you can be sure of is it will be a fun fight, but Provodnikov was out boxed by Maurico Herrera and neither man combined can equal a Timothy “The Desert Storm” Bradley.
Manny Pacquiao has no interest in a Bradley rematch and after that knockout who knows when he will be back, and Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado are lined up for a March 30 rematch. Bradley has been forced to become a champion bottom feeder, taking what scraps he can get.