Tim Bradley exploded on the radar screens of even casual boxing fans when he beat Manny Pacquiao on June 9, 2012 in Las Vegas. He's fallen off the screen a bit since, by not seizing the momentum from the split decision upset, but Bradley will seek to remind fight fans of his skills when he gets in the ring on March 16 in California, against Ruslan Provodnikov.
Provodnikov, a 29-year-old Russian with a 22-1 mark, is known to regular watchers of ESPN's Friday Night Fights, but has to be seen as something of a surprise dance partner to Bradley after such a buzzworthy occasion as the win–or “win,” if you believe the judges dropped the ball on that night–over the Filipino icon. A signature win for Provodnikov doesn't leap off the page at you when you check his Boxrec, but the kid is a willing banger, a worker bee who will make for a good fight, I think. There will be a healthy contingent of critics who wonder how and why Bradley will fight the Russian, after being on big stages against names like Pacquiao, Joel Casamayor, Devon Alexander and Lamont Peterson, but we shall see, if perhaps Provodnikov can channel that energy of skepticism in a useful manner, and channel some Bradley-against-Pacquiao magic on March 16.
The 29-year-old Bradley holds a 29-0 record and will look for his 30th win on a Top Rank card at The Home Depot Center in a bout to be seen live on HBO World Championship Boxing.