I'm hoping Timothy Bradley will be buoyed by my choice of his fight with Ruslan Provodnikov as TSS Fight of the Year, should he be rendered weepy that I chose Floyd Mayweather, and not the 30-year-old California-based boxer, for TSS Fighter of the Year award.
Again, a quick explanation of my criteria. First, the fight has to offer an excess of drama, and this one did. I often choose a fight of the year which features a stunning about face of momentum, and this March 16 welterweight Top Rank/HBO tangle at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA did, indeed. Then, I often like in a Fight of the Year a come-from-behind performance which proves that a participant has the sort of nuts and guts which the rest of us can merely marvel at. And I will often award some extra credit if one or both of the fighters involved rise above on fight night, exceed expectations, lift themselves out of their station in life to a better place.
Many expected that Bradley would have little to no problem with Provodnikov, one of those guys who you expect to never rise above Friday Night Fights level status. If you did think that, you really couldn't be blamed that much, considering the Siberian Rocky--which is one of those nicknames that just comes off as forced if a boxer doesn't rise above mediocre perforamnces, which of course Ruslan did--had lost to Mauricio Herrera back in 2011, and hadn't faced anyone even close to Bradley in terms of talent or renown. But that guy wasn't in the ring with Bradley, who hit the deck in round one, though it was ruled a slip.
The eventual winner was out on his feet in round two, half of which he fought on instinct alone, but showed the sort of resolve that us sideline stalwarts marvel at, and soldiered on. That resolve came in handy in a wow-filled 12th round, which Bradley just managed to finish.
The judges saw it 114-113, 114-113 and 115-112, and I saw a bout which will live on in my memory for the duration, and for the record as the 2013 TSS Fight of the Year.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV