By Leighton Ginn, USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES — If Timothy Bradley was disappointed that he didn’t get a big-name fighter as his next opponent, he didn’t show it Wednesday during his press conference at the Millennium Biltmore.
Bradley, who signed his contract just before the noon press conference, will face Russian boxer Ruslan Provodnikov at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on March 16. It will be Bradley’s first fight since winning the WBO welterweight title against Manny Pacquiao in June, scoring the split decision victory despite injuries to both feet during the fight.
Hoping to get a big name fight to capitalize on his huge and controversial upset, Bradley couldn’t find any takers. So he’s fighting Provodnikov, a rough, offensive fighter who is No. 3 in the WBO rankings.
“I’m not mad, I’m just glad to be back. It’s been eight months, that’s a lot of time. It gave me time to gather my thoughts, get control of my career and let my feet heal up,” Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) said. “I’m happy to be back. I’m happy Ruslan took the fight. It’s kind of short notice. Normally you need eight weeks to get ready, but he looks like he stays in really good shape. He looks pretty low in weight right now, he’s probably 152 or something like that.”
They will fight for Bradley’s WBO welterweight (147 pounds) title.
Bradley, 29, from Palm Springs, Calif., said he’s walking around at 165 pounds right now, but isn’t concerned about losing the weight and being ready to defend his title.
Bradley expects this to be a busy year. After fighting only once in 2012, he said he would like to fight three or four times this year.