'Warrior' Bradley paid the price vs Provodnikov
MANILA, Philippines – Unbeaten American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. likely earned new fans after his courageous win against tough challenger Ruslan Provodnikov, but the welterweight champion also paid a heavy price.
Bradley, a huge favorite over the unheralded Provodnikov, was on the brink of defeat in the first couple of rounds and had to take a knee in the 12th round.
He went on to win a unanimous decision, but it was a costly victory as he sustained heavy damage from Provodnikov’s relentless assault.
In an interview with ESPN, Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz said his fighter wanted to make a statement by going toe-to-toe against Provodnikov.
“Tim was hurt in every round because he decided to trade with him, and he paid the price,” Diaz said. “He wanted a knockout win, and he paid the price for it by taking a lot of shots.”
“I think I got a concussion. I know I do,” Bradley said in the post-fight interview.
Bradley said he “wanted to jump on” Provodnikov and thus came out firing in the first round, but the strategy backfired on him.
Provodnikov had the champion in trouble in the first round, and in the second round, Bradley was nearly out on his feet and barely managed to survive.
“The warrior instinct starts to come out, and it’s just heart, determination and the will to win,” Bradley said. “Even though I got rocked, I still fight hard.”
But Bradley admitted that he was “dizzy” following the fight and had already sustained a concussion during the early rounds.
“One of the punches in one of those rounds concussed me,” said Bradley, who was fighting for the first time since beating Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao in a controversial match last June 2012.
Provodnikov also sustained terrible damage, and was cut above his left eye by the second half of the fight. After trainer Freddie Roach threatened to stop the fight, however, Provodnikov rallied and nearly put Bradley away for good in the final round.
“This guy is a power puncher, a great warrior,” Bradley said of Provodnikov. “I take my hat off to him. He’ll beat any 140- or 147-pounder out there. He’s the real deal.”