Timothy Bradley defeats Ruslan Provodnikov by unanimous decision (114-113, 114-113, 115-112)
Timothy Bradley came into the ring against Ruslan Provodnikov with something to prove, looking to get past the bad taste of the Manny Pacquiao controversy. And he did indeed prove himself, winning an absolutely incredible 12 round war. The two men engaged in a fight for the ages, with a number of dramatic moments where both corners considered stopping the fight.
The big story of the fight was Provodnikov's power vs. Bradley's technique. For more than half of the fight, Bradley was in control, using his high volume punching to outwork and outbox Provodnikov. But when the Russian did get his hands on Bradley, he made it count. On multiple occasions it looked like he had the fight won, but Bradley gutted through it, showing the heart of a champion. Round 12 was particularly dramatic, as Provodnikov scored a knockdown in the dying seconds of the fight, but it wasn't enough for the win.
As seems to always be the case with boxing, there was some controversy here. In round 1, Bradley went down in an exchange, got back up, and went down again, yet it was not ruled an official knockdown. Had that been a knockdown, it would have led to a 10-8 round, making the official decision a majority draw. Perhaps that opens the door for Bradley vs. Provodnikov II down the road? If so, I certainly won't complain.
Despite those troubles, this is clearly a fight where everyone wins. Bradley wins new fans and takes a massive step past Pacquiao. Provodnikov makes an immediate name for himself in front of a new audience. Fans win for getting to watch this fight.
If you missed this fight, make sure you catch a replay - it's a must watch.