Found March 17, 2013 on
(Eds: Updates. With AP Photos.) By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer Timothy Bradley is a two-division world champion and an exemplary citizen. Yet he never sparked much passion in the boxing world.
Not until he finished his 30th fight with wobbly legs and glassy eyes Saturday night, barely staying upright to the final bell against Ruslan Provodnikov.
A classy boxer became a raw fighter for one thrilling bout. Once Bradley heals, he could reap the benefits for years.
''The warrior instinct started to come in,'' Bradley said in the ring, after guessing he had a concussion. ''Just heart and determination, the will to win. Even though I got rocked, I still fight hard. I still come back. That's just the warrior in me.''
Bruised and bloody, Bradley (30-0) narrowly kept his perfect record and his WBO welterweight belt, winning a unanimous decision by a tiny margin despite being on the verge of getting stopped in the first, second and 12th rounds, even taking a knee in the waning seconds.
Yet the crowd at the outdoor tennis stadium south of Los Angeles roared through chattering teeth for both fighters, cheering and booing Bradley with a passion he has rarely inspired in the ring.
After the most exciting performance of his career, Bradley is likely to receive much of the love he was denied after his unconvincing decision over Manny Pacquiao last year. Bradley also made himself exponentially more attractive for a rematch with Pacquiao if a fifth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez falls apart over money disputes.
Top Rank's Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao and Bradley, refused to speculate on Bradley's next bout immediately after the spectacle of his punishing win.
''Any time you plan something right after a fight, you screw up,'' Arum said. ''There are plenty of fights to do.''
Marquez and Pacquiao both haven't announced their next bouts, but Marquez is expected to make a decision in the next few weeks. Bradley has been a nightmare matchup for any big name in recent years because of his meager fame and low action potential, but his win over Provodnikov can't help altering his image for the better.
Freddie Roach, who trains both Pacquiao and Provodnikov, has scoffed at the idea Pacquiao would grant a rematch to Bradley in the past, saying Bradley can't sell a ticket and pointing at the first fight's unimpressive pay-per-view performance. With highlights from Bradley's win over Provodnikov on the ads for his next bout, it's tough to imagine Bradley would be an unattractive draw any more.
Roach even complimented Bradley - whose trainer, Joel Diaz, ripped Roach before the fight.
''He's a very tough guy,'' Roach said. ''He's a very good boxer. He's everything he's supposed to be. He fought a great fight also.''
Although the fight was close, with the three fighters separated by a total of five points on the three scorecards combined, the judges saw the fight nearly identically.
All three agreed on Provodnikov's victory in the first, second and sixth rounds, while giving the rest of the first 10 rounds to Bradley. Two judges gave the 11th to Provodnikov, while Raul Caiz Sr. favored Bradley. All three scored the 12th for Provodnikov 10-8, leaving the Russian agonizingly short of a decision.
''I didn't feel his punches at all,'' Provodnikov said through a translator, the area around his left eye bleeding and grotesquely swollen. ''He was feeling my punches the whole time. I was going after him all 12 rounds.''
The ''Siberian Rocky'' nearly closed out Bradley in the final minute, forcing the champion to take a knee under a withering assault that staggered backward into the ropes. But Provodnikov took enormous punishment of his own in the middle rounds, and trainer Freddie Roach strongly considered stopping the fight before Provodnikov started his final run in the 11th.
Provodnikov, a sparring partner for Pacquiao at Roach's Wild Card Gym, didn't get the belt he coveted, but still earned much more than his second career defeat. After spending most of his career fighting in rural American casinos and Russian outposts on ESPN and other second-tier boxing outlets, he has cemented a reputation as a ferocious, defense-deficient brawler in the mold of Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado or Marcos Maidana - the kind of fighter adored by fans and television networks.
The 29-year-old Provodnikov is likely to take a significant step up in money and matchups with his next bout. A rematch might even be a possibility if Bradley's performance scares off bigger names.
But both fighters earned time to heal from a bout that stretched their endurance even while burnishing their reputations.
Bradley thanked his supporters on Twitter shortly after the fight: ''Hope you enjoyed the show. It was a great night for boxing!''
BEST OF MAXIM
The gift and the curse of Timothy Bradley is this.
He has no power, but he has the heart of a brawler. Against most opponents, that has been enough to just overwhelm them. Bradley has won a lot of fights, just on sheer will power.
Against Provodnikov, he ran into someone, with as much heart as he had and a lot more power.
You mix in Bradley’s Heart and stubbornness to box, with...
Saturday night's HBO-televised Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov WBO Welterweight title fight turned into something much more than most fans expected. It became a memorable, back-and-forth brawl between two guys with tons of heart and absolutely zero give. Bradley ended up retaining his championship and his undefeated record with a decision win, and while he deserved the...
The official Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov weigh-ins were held this afternoon in advance of their Saturday night bout in Carson, California, to be televised in the main event of an HBO Boxing card. Right here, you'll find the Bradley vs. Provodnikov weigh-in results and photos.
Bradley vs. Provodnikov
Bradley: 146.6 lbs
Provodnikov: 146.6 lbs
Was this a weightlifting...
Earlier today in Manhattan Beach, Top Rank Boxing put on the weigh ins for March 16th’s title fight between Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov. It was not a packed house at the Marriott Hotel as with other weigh ins and we can only hope that this will not be true of The Home Depot Center tomorrow night.
Our crack photographer Freddy Sosa took some quick shots and you can see...
Timothy Bradley overcame an early beating and a 12th-round knockdown to win a narrow unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov on Saturday night, defending his WBO welterweight belt in dramatic style.
Bradley (30-0) barely survived a thriller with the unheralded Provodnikov (22-2) in the champion's first bout since beating Manny Pacquiao in a much-debated split decision last...
In the most exciting and brutal fight of 2013, Timothy Bradley survived and earned a narrow unanimous decision victory over the “Siberian Rocky” Ruslan Provodnikov to successfully defend the WBO light welterweight championship on a chilly Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Scrapping on wobbly legs and hitting the canvas at least once, Bradley (30-0...
A Good Loss for Ruslan Provodnikov
Much will be spoken and written about the scintillating action in the instant-classic bout between Timothy Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov Saturday night. Bradley walked away with a well-deserved win and an upgrade to his debated legacy, but, in such a surprisingly spirited and unexpectedly rigorous affair, could Provodnikov’s loss be considered...
Timothy Bradley overcame a knockdown and what he says was a concussion to beat Ruslan Provodnikov in one of the most exciting fights of the year.
Bradley, who was fighting for the first time since winning a controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao last June, was awarded a unanimous decision victory by the judges. Two judges had the fight 114-113, while the third had it 115-112...
In the most exciting and brutal fight of 2013, Timothy Bradley earned a unanimous decision victory over Russian Ruslan Provodnikov to successfully defend the WBO light welterweight championship on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Although hitting the canvas at least once, the 29-year-old Bradley (30-0-0-1, 12 KOs), also a former two-time light welterweight...
Timothy Bradley will successfully defend the WBO light welterweight championship against Russian Ruslan Provodnikov tomorrow night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. The 29-year-old Bradley (29-0-0-1, 12 KOs), also a former two-time light welterweight titlist who has trumped solid pugilists Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander, last fought on June 9 when he unwittingly...
Timothy Bradley may have been inspired by the first round of Jessie Vargas vs. Wale Omotoso as Bradley tried to go toe to toe with Provodnikov, this was not a good idea for Timothy Bradley. He would be dazed in the first two rounds taking a pounding from Ruslan Provodnikov. Bradley getting in a deeply [...]
Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov was a war, and while everyone was anticipating the surefire Fight of the Year candidacy of Brandon Rios vs. Mike Alvarado II in two weeks, Bradley vs. Provodnikov beat that bout to the punch. Tim Bradley survived a major scare in the 12th round -- and several others along the way -- to win a close, hard-earned Unanimous Decision victory.
Timothy Bradley could've fought intelligently against Ruslan Provodnikov Saturday night on HBO and secured a victory with relative ease, but instead, perhaps driven by the fan animosity toward him over the bunk Manny Pacquiao win, he fought like a much stupider, much more awesome version of himself. It nearly got him knocked out. Instead, he won a narrow unanimous decision. It...
Carson, Calif. -- Not even the Cold War was this violent.
In a do-or-die battle featuring swollen eyes, brutal exchanges, and multiple momentum swings, American Timothy Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) successfully defended his WBO welterweight title Saturday against Russia's Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KOs), winning a close, but unanimous decision by scores of 114-113, 114-113,...
On Monday, HBO announced they would no longer buy fights from Golden Boy Promotions.
“In order to achieve our goal of the best fighters in the most compelling matchups we’ve decided to focus our efforts and