Bradley wins a thriller
After surviving a ferocious beating in the first two rounds and a knockdown in the final seconds of the fight, Timothy Bradley hung on to win a unanimous decision against Ruslan Provodnikov and retain his WBO welterweight title on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
In what was a thriller, both came out firing in the opening round. Provodnikov (22-2) caught Bradley (30-0) with a heavy right that put the champion down but the referee Pat Russell ruled it a slip, even though replays showed that Bradley clearly got caught by the punch. The Russian challenger continued to pound a unsteady Bradley who found himself deep in trouble again in the second after mutiple rights. A left hook also sent him reeling but Bradley survived the round.
The WBO holder recovered by the third and begin fighting with strategy and caution, steadily taking over the fight, winning round after round, that was until the final minute of the sixth when the two were locked in a non-stop flenzy of exchanging punches. Bradley took so much of a pounding that his trainer Joel Diaz threatened to stop the fight in the corner. Provodnikov attempted to force the action but Bradley backpedaled and picked him apart, opening a bad cut on his left eyelid after landing one of his numerous right hands.
Provodnikov, with his face now swelling, rallied for one last assault in the 12th round, Bradley repeatedly staggered backwards, took a knee while the clapper sounded for the final 10 seconds of the fight, barely making it to the bell.
The judges had Bradley winning by scores of 115-112, 114-113, and 114-113. It was every bit that close of a fight.
Bradley feeling the affects of the fight said "I think I got a concussion, I know I do. This guy is a power puncher, a great warrior. I take my hat off to him. He'll beat any 140 or 147 pounder out there. He is the real deal."
Provodnikov, who moved up to welterweight for this fight, thought he did enough to get the verdict. "Everybody saw what I did in the ring, It's up to the judges but I think I did everything in there to prove myself. I did not feel his punches. I was going after him all 12 rounds. I deserved to win." He said through a translator after the fight.
On the undercard, Jessie Vargas (22-0) got off the floor in the second round to win a unanimous decision against Wale Omotoso (23-1) over 10 rounds in a welterweight contest. Super bantamweight prospect Jesse Magdaleno (14-0) beat Carlos Fulgencio (19-10-1) inside three rounds and Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz Jr (18-0) stopped Matthew Greer (15-10) in a round.