By Andrew L. John, MYDESERT.COM
Some were already calling it the fight of the year. Now that the television ratings are in, perhaps there’s even more validity to that claim.
Timothy Bradley Jr.’s live 12-round slugfest with Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov drew 1.4 million HBO viewers at its peak Saturday, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Bradley, the world welterweight champion from Cathedral City, endured a dangerously difficult first two rounds and a flurry of punches to hold on to win by unanimous decision.
Likely spurred by the immense post-fight social media stir, another 274,000 viewers caught the HBO encore replay Sunday morning.
In terms of ratings, the fight ranks as one of the top four televised boxing events of the year. The ratings matched the much-anticipated Bernard Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud fight for the IBF light heavyweight title a week earlier in Brooklyn, N.Y.
But not nearly as many watched the encore replay of the Hopkins-Tavoris fight. In fact, 57 percent more caught the replay of the Bradley fight.
By Stephen “Breadman” Edwards , BOXINGTALK.COM
Very seldom does a performance or topic in boxing motivate me enough to write a story. In fact I don’t consider myself a writer, I consider myself a “boxing guy” nothing more. But the place that Tim Bradley went on Saturday night needs to be talked about. The Dark Place.
The backlash that Bradley received following his controversial decision win against icon Manny Pacquiao put him in a dark place. But that’s not the dark place I’m referring to in this piece. I’m talking about that place where you are dog tired and the lactic acid in your muscles is so great you wish your limbs were cut off. That place where you are being hurt every time you are being hit and your legs look like flat tires on a pick up truck. That place where the glory outweighs ALL repercussions because your pride tells you so. The Dark Place.
Bradley is most often compared to Marvelous Marvin Hagler because of their similar physiques and bald heads. But most don’t consider him the prize fighter Hagler is, at least not yet anyway. But for as great as Hagler was and Hagler was truly great, Bradley went in an exclusive club with his performance against Ruslan Providnikov that Hagler is not a member of. I assume Hagler could go to that place, but because his chin was so impenetrable he never had to go there.
Very few fighters in the history of boxing and even fewer over the last 30 years were able to succeed under the duress and violent discomfort Bradley endured. Bradley was severely hurt and almost knocked out in the first and second rounds. I personally believed he was concussed that early in the fight. I say this because simple jabs would knock Bradley around the ring and you could see him fighting to stay conscious, like the tired husband on a movie date.
But Bradley pressed on. To a point where he threw 1000 punches. That’s an insane amount considering the incoming punishment. Tim Bradley was simply “tired”. And I’m not talking about physical fatigue that was obvious. He was tired of people blaming him for the decision he got against Manny Pacquiao. Bradley didn’t judge the fight. Nevertheless he received death threats about a freaking boxing match…
LOS ANGELES (March 6, 2013) — Bradley vs. Provodnikov takes place on Saturday, March 16, under the stars at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and is promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Banner Promotions and Tecate. Timothy Bradley has been a world champion since 2008, first as a junior welterweight, where he twice unified the titles, and now as a welterweight. Timothy will be making the first defense of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title he won by beating Manny Pacquiao last summer. The bout will be broadcast live on HBO World Championship Boxing®, beginning at 10:15 P.M. ET / PT.
TODD DuBOEF: This is exciting getting Timothy back in the ring and I know he has the fire. When we first met with Timmy and got his career going under Top Rank we knew we had a special person who had a special sparkle and had an incredible ability to fight. I think he has delivered. This fight is in southern California, where Tim has not fought in a while and The Home Depot Center is a special arena. On March 16 it is going to be electric.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: I want to thank Top Rank, Cameron Dunkin, my wife and my team, The Home Dept Center and HBO. Training camp has been going well and I am 100%. I can’t wait to get into the ring on the 16th. It is a big challenge and I am excited about it. I know Ruslan Provodnikov is a tough guy and is going to bring the fight to me. I am confident I am going to get the job done and I am going to be victorious once again.
JOEL DIAZ: Camp is going great. Sparring days — Tim has not had a bad day – he has been looking really good. As far as getting ready for the fight, Tim could fight this weekend, that’s how ready he is. We don’t take anyone light, no matter who it is or what style he has. Ruslan has his style and I know he is training really hard because this is a great opportunity for him. I watch Provodnikov fights every night and know what he is and he’s not going to change very much. I know he has power in both hands, but to catch Tim Bradley is going to be very hard. Tim is really smart and now his punching power has now increased because we made some adjustments. You are going to see a different Tim Bradley on the 16th and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t go the distance.
Is this a statement fight for you?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: Every fight from here on out is a statement fight, especially coming after the Pacquiao fight. I am looking to make a statement in this fight and I am looking to damage this guy. I am looking to put this guy out. I don’t want to go 12 rounds with this guy. The longer he stays around the more confident he will get so I want to get him out of there as soon as possible.
Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion TIMOTHY “Desert Storm” BRADLEY, JR. (29-0, 12 KOs), of Palm Springs, Calif., his trainer Joel Diaz, promoter Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank, and Bradley’s manager, Cameron Dunkin, will host a Los Angeles Media Workout, Tomorrow! February 26, beginning at12:30 p.m. PT. The Media Workout will take place at Fortune Gym (7574 B Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90046).
Interviews with Bradley and his team will take place before he begins his workout.
Bradley is in his final weeks of training for his first defense of the title he won when he defeated Manny Pacquiao last May. Bradley will face top-rated contender RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV (22-1, 15 KOs), of Siberia, Russia, Saturday, March 16, at The Home Deport Center in Carson, Calif. The fight will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Banner Promotions and Tecate, remaining tickets to the Bradley-Provodnikov world welterweight championship event, priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25, can be purchased online at AXS.com or by phone at 888-929-7849 as well as The Home Depot Center Box Office (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Suites are available by calling 1-877-604-8777. For information of group discounts, please call 1-877-234-8425.
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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.
Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion TIMOTHY BRADLEY, JR. top-rated contender RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV, former two-time Méxican Olympian ÓSCAR VALDEZ and Hall of Fame promoter BOB ARUM will host a Los Angeles news conference luncheon, This Wednesday! February 6, beginning at Noon PT, in the Emerald Room at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel (506 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles, Calif. 90071-2607).
They will be announcing a spectacular event, headlined by Bradley’s first defense of the title he won last year off Manny Pacquiao, against the No. 2-rated contender Provodnikov. Valdez will highlight the undercard in a four-round featherweight bout.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Banner Promotions and Tecate, Bradley-Provodnikov will take place Saturday, March 16, at The Home Depot Center and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®.