Jae C. Hong/Associated Press
This was Timothy Bradley’s first fight after his controversial split-decision win over Manny Pacquiao in June 2012. Due to the backlash against his victory, he entered this fight as if he had something to prove.
I interviewed Bradley the week before this fight, and he told me that he had been working in camp to sit down on his punches better and deliver more power. In the first two rounds against Ruslan Provodnikov, Bradley was clearly looking to load up and land a big punch.
It proved to be a disastrous strategy, as Provodnikov rocked him badly in both of those rounds. Bradley appeared out on his feet as he fired back desperately, attempting to hang on.
Bradley was able to control much of this fight, battling at a distance and giving the Siberian Rocky bad cuts to his eyes. But Provodnikov routinely managed to land big punches and force Bradley into electrifying exchanges.
Provodnikov’s trainer, Freddie Roach, threatened to stop the bout before Round 11, and Provodnikov responded by fighting like a savage in the final two frames. In Round 12, he knocked Bradley down and nearly managed to score a stoppage.