The Year of the Welterweights: With Bradley, Mayweather, Ghost & Others

Boring is not the word to describe Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley’s firefight with Ruslan “Siberian Rocky” Provodnikov.

Mind-blowing is a better term.

Just when you think you have the crowded welterweight division figured out, here comes another batch of 147-pounders squeezing into the program. No doubt about it, the welterweights are the kings of professional boxing. In less than two weeks there may be another addition.

Welterweights have the speed and power to captivate even the most ADD-afflicted fight fan with their blend of concussive power and blinding movements. Bradley and Provodnikov’s clash (seen in above Al Applerose photo) epitomized it for 12 rounds at the Home Depot Center last Saturday.

Television doesn’t do a fight justice no matter how many cameras are placed throughout the arena. Sitting in person in the arena gives much more of a sense of what is actually going on. The eyes can miss what the ears actually hear.

The blows exchanged by both were loud and shocking to the ear. Each landed punch echoed throughout the Home Depot Center, which happens to be the best venue for boxing today. The only drawback is that it’s darn cold in the outdoor arena once the sun goes down. Can you imagine how it must feel to get hit in that cold?

Provodnikov punches like a human sledgehammer. Every time he connected I thought for sure that might be the blow to render Bradley unconscious, but the Palm Springs warrior kept on coming.

Bradley was winding up with telegraphed bombs that still managed to land. He looked like former pitching great Juan Marichal the way he was winding up to deliver some of those blows. The Russian merely frowned upon receiving them.

Many questioned Bradley’s abilities and few knew Provodnikov’s so now the talent-rich welterweight division has two big players smack in the middle.

“I wanted to give the fans action,” said Bradley.

It was mind-blowing action indeed.

Welterweight elite

In a little more than a month the top of the heap will be decided when Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero challenges Floyd “Money” Mayweather on May 4 in Las Vegas. The winner will no doubt be the king of the welterweights and the king of boxing, period.

“It’s not so much wanting this fight, it’s wanting to be the best,” said Guerrero, who is training in Las Vegas for his welterweight showdown with Mayweather. “I’m looking to fight the best.”

Guerrero erupted on the welterweight landscape out of nowhere. It was about two years ago that he was fighting as a 135-pound lightweight, then was injured before a clash with Marcos Maidana. After nearly two years on the injury and recovery shelf, the Ghost returned with a vengeance and defeated two feared welterweights in Selcuk Aydin and Andre Berto. Still, odds-makers doubt his ability and have him a shocking 9-1 underdog.

“Odds don’t mean nothing to me cause at the end of the day we still got to go in there and fight,” said Guerrero. “It’s great for people who bet on me cause they’re going to make a lot of money.”

Rios-Alvarado II

Next week, another firefight is expected to erupt when Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios and Mike “Mile High” Alvarado collide at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Their second junior welterweight meeting has boxing fans salivating. Can it match or exceed the first contest that took place at the Home Depot Center last year?

“I expect a war,” said Alvarado, who lost by technical knockout after seven turbulent rounds.

Should Rios win then he would move up to the welterweight division where his participation would be like adding a burning ember to a gasoline tank. Whoever he would fight would result in mayhem.

Should Alvarado win that would probably result in a third clash with Rios but at the welterweight level, not the junior welterweight limit. Both are growing pugilists.

Other welters

Juan Manuel Marquez, Manny Pacquiao, Devon Alexander, Paul Malignaggi, Andre Berto, Josesito Lopez, Victor Ortiz, and Amir Khan are some of those 147-pounders ready and waiting for someone to trip.

This is definitely the Year of the Welterweights.



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