Unbeaten Bradley narrowly avoids loss
LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
Timothy Bradley (R) greets Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia after their World Boxing Organization welterweight title boxing match in Carson. AP photoUnbeaten champion Tim Bradley captured a unanimous but narrow decision March 16 over Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov to keep his welterweight title despite being knocked down in the fight’s final seconds.
In his first defense of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) crown that he took from Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao in a shock split decision last June, Bradley won by judges’ scores of 115-112, 114-113 and 114-113.
“I think I’ve got a concussion,” Bradley said. “I know I do. No doubt. This guy is a power puncher. One of them punches in one of those rounds (concussed me). I’m dizzy right now. At some point, that warrior instinct kicks in, the determination, the will to win, and that’s what I counted on.”
Bradley took punishment in the first and second rounds, going to the canvas in each. But in both cases, referee Pat Russell ruled that Bradley had slipped and so no knockdown points were awarded to the Russian challenger.
Had even one of those been ruled a knockdown, Provodnikov would have earned a draw. Instead, American Bradley improved to 30-0 while Provodnikov fell to 22-2 but impressed by nearly taking the title with a late knockout.
Provodnikov connected with a left hook that sent the champion staggering backwards with 55 seconds remaining in the fight and landed a hard right to stun Bradley again 30 seconds before the finish. Another left hook sent Bradley into the ropes and he stumbled forward then fell to his right knee with 10 seconds remaining. Russell counted but Bradley rose well before the referee reached 10, was pronounced ready to fight and then came the final bell.
“It’s up to the judges but I think I did everything in there to prove myself,” said Provodnikov, who fought the last four rounds with a bloody gash opened over his left eye.
“I did not feel his punches at all. I went after him the whole 12 rounds.”