HBO Preview: Bradley To Make a Statement, Vargas-Omotoso Winner In Line For Bigger Things


Tomorrow boxing fans will be entertained by the only person, at the time, to “technically” beat Manny Pacquiao since 2005. HBO will be presenting a Championship bout for the 2nd straight week as Timothy Bradley steps back into the ring for the 1st time to face the Russian, Ruslan Provodnikov for Bradley’s WBO Welterweight title at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Also on the undercard, in another battle of 2 good, solid Welterweights, when Jessie Vargas will be squaring off against Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso.

The undefeated, 29 year old, California native, Tim Bradley (29-0 with 12 KOs) disappeared off the face of the earth after his win in the books over Pacquiao. Because of no one thinking he actually won, he got no respect for the win. He wasn’t able to parlay it into a rematch and because of the lack of legitimate 147 lb guys on Top Rank’s roster, the win that was supposed to be the biggest of his life, may have been his most detrimental. Bradley at 140 lbs was actually 1 of the best in the world. He was never a hard puncher, but he has good technical boxing skills. Some of his top wins at 140 include Miguel Vazquez, Junior Witter, Kendall Holt, Lamont Peterson, and Devon Alexander. Those guys are some of the who’s who in the 135, 140, and 147lb weight classes today.

However, because his biggest “show” fight was a fight that he got the best of a decision that he shouldn’t have gotten, people look at him differently than what he should be, and he isn’t named when people think of some of the top fighters in the world. Tomorrow, he will try to show everyone that he’s still as good as ever and hopefully it will help him re-climb a ladder that he is already on top of.

Bradley’s opponent on Saturday’s card, Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1 with 15 KOs), is a 29 year old Russian fighter that doesn’t have any “signature” wins yet on his resume. He has solid power and will be looking to get a big upset on Saturday against Bradley. His 2 best opponents to date was a loss to Mauricio Herrera at the start of 2011 and a unanimous decision win against a 36 year old DeMarcus Corley at the end of 2011. He has not fought at 147 since May of 2005 and that was the only time he has fought at that heavy of a weight since the 1st 2 fights of his career in 2006. He does at least have numerous fights in the US, so it will not be unusual surroundings for him. In a division that  is known as the glamour division that has big money fights available, a win here from Provodnikov could point his career path in the right direction

Even though I do not think Bradley won the fight against Pacquiao, I do have a lot of respect for his boxing skills. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves because of the judges screwing up. I think he will completely outbox Provodnikov and win by unanimous decision. Who knows, maybe he will even surprise people and get a KO. That would be the best case scenario for Bradley as he needs to once again show fans how good he is and showing an extra uptick of power would definitely leave a lasting impression.

On the undercard, as mentioned, we have 2 undefeated fighters both looking to make a name for themselves in the Welterweight division as Jessie Vargas (21-0 with 9 KOs) will face Wale Omotoso (23-0 with 19 KOs). The winner of this fight will be on their way to a title shot, probably against the winner of the main event fight between Bradley and Provodnikov. I feel Vargas is the better, more skilled boxer, but Omotoso has a big power advantage. This will be a very interesting fight to see if Vargas will be able to box his way to a unanimous decision or if ‘Lucky Boy’ will land enough effective power punches to sway the rounds his way. This is a tough one to pick, but I just feel that Vargas will be able to stay away from Omotoso’s power and get the decision. Top rank got Vargas from Mayweather Promotions and they may have big plans for him. Either way, this fight and this card is a must watch for boxing fans. There will be no lack of boxing skill displayed on St. Patrick’s Day weekend, en