Tag Archives: Ruslan Provodnikov

Timothy Bradley vs Brandon Rios @ Crossroads

Current WBO welter champ Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley, 32-1-1, 12 KO, and former titlist Brandon Rios, 33-2-1, 23 KO, will tee it up Saturday, November 7, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas in what is being marketed as something of a war.

Desert Storm vs Bam Bam

Desert Storm vs Bam Bam

Unfortunately, this may well turn out to be a track meet by Bradley who continues to suffer from serious blows to his noggin that seem to have diminished his former capacity to fight at the highest level. In his last outing, the light hitting prospect Jessie Vargas had enough in him to knockout Bradley had they been officiated in a fair fight. Unfortunately, California has it’s own pitiful referees to match Vegas, so after a big punch slumped Bradley badly to the ropes with just enough time to finish him off as Vargas flurried furiously in the waning seconds of the fight, referee Pat Russell waived off the fight to stop the punishment, a clear TKO victory for Vargas.

But wait, wait, this is boxing we’re talkin’ about. Boxing reserves the right to reverse any decision in a moments notice regardless of merit with no deference to the existing rules or to the resulting controversy.

The ridiculous Russell seemingly heard ding-dongs chiming in his noggin, claiming to have heard the final bell, which is quite loud and distinctive so as to be heard over the din of sound created by the crowd suddenly lurched to their feet by the impending upset after what had been a sure lopsided decision for Bradley. Russell’s TKO verdict was promptly overruled by, ahem, himself, and, whew, close call that one. The easily bruised, sacrificial lamb in waiting, Bradley, was successfully delivered up somewhat lopsided to this date for yet another banana skin slip’em up.

Sadly, Top Rank has been propping up Bradley past his sell date after Manny beat his legs and confidence out of him in their first fight only to lose the Robbery of the Century in Vegas. Bradley wasn’t a draw back then, but the controversy made him more marketable to other fighters and fans who saw the damaged goods as I saw him. It didn’t help Bradley that the public turned on him like rabid dogs complete with death threats and a dearth of hate mail that put him in a depressive funk as anyone would suffer, he has my sympathies in that regard, after all, the decision was rendered by the typical suspect boxing judges, not by him in an otherwise courageous fight just to survive on two injured legs.

Ruslan Provodnikov was next in line after Pacquiao to get robbed, yupsir, by the same goof Pat Russell who can’t ever seem to figure what the hell is ever going on the ring. Ruslan caught Bradley in the opening round with a shotgun blast that sent Bradley to his knees clutching at Ruslan in a futile effort to stay up. Incredibly, Russell ruled a slip, and no sooner had Bradley gotten up from his “slip” than he fell into the best drunken chicken break dance since Zab Judah got one punched by Kostya Tzyzu a several years back and went down again. That’d be two knockdowns by Ruslan with one punch if boxing ever kept score that way, but he never got credit for even the single knockdown for thanks to Russell’s boner that would’ve made Ruslan the victor, not Bradley.

Most reputable refs would have stopped the bout for a Ruslan KO win right then and there, but sadly reputable and referees and boxing seldom meet in this current boxing climate.

No siree, no commie Ruskie is gonna take down an American in Russell’s court of law, so then equally blind judges awarded the “close” bout to Bradley who mostly ran around to avoid getting creamed further until his legs finally gave out and he was caught again in the last round. In his next bout Bradley got the best of a very close exchange early on with the 40 year Juan Manuel Marquez, yet then chose to run for the rest of the incredibly boring, non-participatory bout by Bradley who used to relish the good fight, but no more. Marquez was disgusted at the tactics and the decision, but then again, why should Bradley take any unnecessary chances against this new BALCO trained monstrous version of Marquez?

I can sort of see his point of view for that, but then he lost the rematch to Pacquiao where he looked utterly clueless again, almost club fighter like, and then on to a draw against an awkwardly strong club fighter, Diego Gabriel Chaves. In spite of his stellar record on paper, he lost his Ring P4P ranking in their recent staff shakeup and has further dropped down to 15th in Boxrec. Bradley used to be the alpha dog in the ring, dictating the pace and the style, but no more. His destiny now seems hellbent to cultivating the beta side of him as his physical advantages over opponents slowly decline.

So here he is against Rios who is a big, strong, powerful, pressure fighter with reasonably quick feet when on pursuit. Bradley has to run to maybe survive since he can no longer handle this kind of punching power or pressure, but now he has to worry if his legs can carry him for all 12 rounds. I’d sure like to see a fair decision out of boxing once in a blue moon, but we might as well be baying at a lunar eclipse while praying for the winning lotto ticket. Rios has had some training issues of missing weight during his lower weight classes in the past that have made him a big target of critics, but since Robert Garcia has trained him, Rios has successfully moved up in weight and been drilled into better shape with better discipline and game plan.

Rios still has to make weight at 147, so can he do it first try? That may well prove to be the key in this matchup. Can Bradley survive the guaranteed onslaught? His new trainer, the loonytunes buffo Uncle Teddy, can he even make it out of training camp without blowing everyone’s head gasket? Bradley’s damaged legs aren’t saying much yet, but we’ll be finding out soon enough.

 

Sluggathon of the Year~Lucas Matthysse vs Ruslan Provodnikov~((BooM))

Lucas Martin Matthysse will have to be very careful when he goes in against Ruslan Provodnikov in this clash of two very under appreciated sluggers at the Turning Stone in Verona, New York this Saturday, April 18th. I don’t care to see hard working, game slugger types as these two are pitted against each other after each being consistently robbed by “Boxing.” Sluggers have historically been deprecated  when they can’t knock out boxer types even when they beat up those running, spoiling, defensive types, so now the loser of this bout will be further financially depreciated no matter how bravely and gamely he performs.

Matthysse vs Provodnikov

Matthysse vs Provodnikov

We never see boxer types being robbed when they happen to score one of their rare KOs, but such is the silly way boxing has always done business with their Three Blind Mice scoring system. Imagine how 3 competing scores tallied for baseball, football, basketball or soccer would play out with the fans? Unleashed madness would be the result, but of course those sports are more intelligently organized so as to use the sheer mass of players as distractions to pull out strategic referee and umpiring decisions that affect the scores. Somehow boxing gets away with highly disparate tallies and obvious referee interference as a matter of routine that are so obvious in one on one situations. As HL Menckan was fond of noting, no businessman ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Americans, and he might add especially boxing fans.

These are two foreign nationals out of Argentina and Siberia respectively are being used by American boxing to prop up their dying sport now consisting of the few faint hearted American boxers left in the sport. At least this is a throwback of sorts, the qualifier being that Matthysse will likely box and pick his punches more carefully. He has to respect the top of the heap power that Freddie Roach trained Provodikov has shown when he utterly brutalized and emasculated a very strong Timothy Bradley and game Chris Algieri respectively only to “lose” the decision.

Things that go ((BooM)) in the night, Matthysse vs Provodnikov.

Amateur Legend Vasyl Lomachenko Fights 2nd WBO Challenge vs Gary Russell Jr

Ukrainian amateur legend Vasyl Lomachenko battles American Gary Russell Jr for the vacant WBO Featherweight belt at the Stubbhub Center in Carson, California Saturday, June 21st. This is the 2nd consecutive such WBO challenge for Lomachenko who lost his first challenge by split decision against the shamelessly fouling and grossly overweight beltholder Orlando Salido only a few months before.

This will be only Lomachenko’s 3rd pro fight, his official record being 1-1, 1 KO, yet somehow Boxrec’s incomprehensible rankings system pegs him at 19th best featherweight compared to 5 year pro Russell’s 24-0, 14 KO ranking of 28th. Never mind that they probably got it right, how on God’s green earth did they ever come up with the mathematical equations to luck into that result without tweaking the system? Well, it happens that Russell’s last opponent currently only has a rating of 300+ with precious few of his other TBA opponents rated much better, so there you go. This will be a huge step up in class for him, yet for Lomachenko it will be a step down after he beat up and otherwise made the powerful Orlando Salido very uncomfortable in their battle. Salido was also quite fortunate to last the distance thanks to his proven chin and experience, something that Russell will likely wish for the first time he gets hit clean by Lomachenko.

This fight action is likely the physical reversal of the recent Ruslan Provodnikov/Chris Algieri fight and controversial result. Russell is a very short fighter, only listed at 5-4 and probably shorter, and incredibly his reach considerably shorter than that. Lomachenko is listed in the 5-7 range and will be the more powerful hunter looking to track down the fast retreating Russel who has shown no evidence any power at the elite level because he never fought at that level. As such matches go, too often the lessor “home” fighter cops the decision and most assuredly Lomachenko is the threatening outsider that “boxing” abhors. Fortunately for now he has Top Rank on his side, but unfortunately this is a Golden Boy card in California, the fight coming about only because of WBO orders that left opportunities that neither party could turn down.

Lomachenko is likely be the betting favorite, but if it goes the distance with Russell taking a very controversial decision, well, it’s gonna be another mess boxing created for itself. Of course if Russell turns out to be brilliant, most fans will warm to him, but he needs to improve in leaps and bounds over his previous efforts for that to happen. He’s never been tested and what a shame a fighter with a 1-1 record will be the one to test the ever livin’ hell out of him.

It’s a more interesting fight because of the boxing politics than it will be in the ring, not that it couldn’t turn out to be a ring classic. Gotta fight first for that to happen, so let it be…

 

 

 

Finally~Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley~The Rematch

Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley finally have a their big rematch come Saturday, April 12th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as they look to assauge their wounded pride from their fateful encounter almost two years before. Then n’er do well boxing gods, ring officials, and fans conspired against both of them in one of the biggest controversies of the new millennium.

Grrls In Support

Grrls In Support

Unfortunately, big boxing controversies are becoming a dime a dozen these days to be quickly buried under a never ending avalanche of new controversies, yet some of us still remember. Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum called for an investigation of himself to wash away the stench as the WBO reviewed the fight and concluded that Pacquiao had won a wide decision, not that it mattered one whit to the Nevada honchos who run Vegas boxing events.

This time around there is a new commish and new director in Nevada courtesy of yet another controversy over the scoring of the Saul Alvarez/Floyd Mayweather fight that didn’t even affect the final result for the fighters. Their “new and improved” mantra is that they will no longer be “rubber stamping” fights as they admitted to in the past.

Golly gee, and who to thank now?

Whatever. We know leopards don’t change their spots and boxing remains the only pro sport I can think of where the outcome is so uncertain and irregular than nobody in authority can make a good case as to who deserves to win in many of the matches because the rules are so poorly enforced and subjectively written. Just fill in some blabber with a jigger of opinion and a shot of balderdash before staggering on to the next round of controversial fights.

Boxing as currently scored has about 90% useless padded points added that make the results read like a typical basketball shootout of 100+ goals being scored, yet is actually ass backward one spare point at the time penalty oriented that defines the loser rather than the winner. Sometimes scores are even recalculated after the announced results PO some Big Shot who pulls rank.

Add on all the even rounds that boxing ignores by insisting judges pick the loser of every round no matter how poor the fighters looked or how mightily contested the round was, and it doesn’t matter how many think a fighter may have won or not. Boxing can fill in the result to fit their hidden agenda any time they want just like contract terms of the ring conditions such as ring size, surface, gloves, rehydration limits, ect are almost always hidden from the public view like a pea in a 3 shell monte game.

In that respect, I must applaud the WBC requirements for open scoring where ongoing scores are revealed in the 4th and 8th rounds of championship fights before final results are announced. That recently helped keep the hometown judging of Tony Thompson vs Odlanier Solis on a leash as compared to previously announced results of an undercard split decision where the scores were never revealed at all. The scoring and the judges may still be questionable as in the recent Danny Garcia/Mauricio Herrera controversy, but at least the fighters and fans have a sense of transparency that they never had before.

That’s a better start than incomprehensible half point nonsense or placing judges on pretentious pedestals looking down their noses on the fighters that boxing has been making noises about implementing. Yeah, right, and how about let’s put the ref in a clown suit and the judges in black robes and powdered wigs too while the promoter grinds his organ for their monkey dances?

Of course Bradley was rightly miffed at the official snub of his hard fought victory and grabbed all his marbles to go home to nurse his injuries while pondering the misanthropic death threats against him for the rest of the year and into the new year. He was finally coaxed out by Top Rank into fighting Ruslan Provodnikov and then baited by Freddie Roach into fighting toe to toe with the vicious punching Siberian Bear, almost a fatal mistake since Bradley got rung up hard and often, barely scraping himself off the canvas in the first and 12th rounds to hear the final bell for yet another disputed though exciting win. That fight was chosen as Ring Fight of the Year and led to the match against Juan Manuel Marquez, a weepingly dreary fight as Bradley put his defense on the back foot to make the 40 year old plodding counterpuncher trail him around the ring trying to force the action. The close split decision resulted in yet another dispute where Marquez claimed to have been robbed, his own personal mantra these days since nobody has yet been able to knock him out, not that knockouts have any more credibility than scoring these days either, but I regress.

All the while Manny Pacquiao was taking a well earned rest at home after a long boxing career and new congressional duties have left him in a precarious state, a state of recovery after being KTFO by Marquez in their fourth installment of what will be known as the greatest modern boxing series of the millennium for many long decades me thinks. Top Rank honcho Bob Arum has been trying to build up their frenzied 5th fight by making noises about staging it in the biggest Mexican bullring in the country with more than 100,000 spectators. There’s also the fallback to trusty MGM Grand or the vast Cowboy Stadium as capable of staging such a lucrative spectacle so as to lure the reluctant Marquez back into the breech of boxing history.

Crazed Filipino Media In Manny Heaven

Crazed Filipino Media In Manny Heaven

The unvarnished truth going into this upcoming bout is that both the 30 year old Bradley and 35 year old Pacquiao have been damaged and are not the same fighters as before. Bradley is no longer that awkward, leg driven irrepressible energizer bunny and Pacquiao is no longer the invincible Pacman gobbling up all who stand before him, but they can still both fight if need be and fight hard they surely will for the respect and acclaim both have lost through no fault of their own. Their first fight was an intense conflict of physical styles and test of mental wills with matching speed for at least the first 9 rounds, but then they ran out of steam. They ended up posing their way to the final bell before relying upon the unreliable crap shoot of judging.

Bradley reportedly fractured his left foot and sprained his right foot in that fight before being brought into the post fight presser in a wheelchair. He has since moved to a more traditional upright defensive style to cover for those leg injuries. After finally returning to the ring at end of 2013, Pacquiao scored a lopsided win over Brandon Rios in Macao, but he was definitely a bit gun shy and chose to box mostly. Bradley doesn’t hit as hard as Rios and Marquez and has his own chin issues with no best use of his legs as backup this time around, so I expect more overall offensive action as Pacquiao should be able to press him to force a fight instead of having to chase him around.

This may well be the best bout by the official rankings as can be made this year and could end up a shootout given the contrasting strengths and vulnerabilities of the fighters. Major props for the combatants in putting aside wounded pride and getting the rematch made. There were mixed announcements as to whether the drug testing was to be by the competing VADA or USADA cartels, but you can be certain results are all funneled through the NSAC.

Can “boxing” can keep it’s sticky fingers from lousing up the results again? We’re watching and we don’t forget.

Timothy Bradley Returns Against Freddie Roach & Ruslan Provodnikov

Timothy Bradley is getting his desired rematch of sorts, the rematch against Manny Pacquiao trainer, Freddie Roach, who will be administering the corner of his charge, the  mauling Siberian bear, Ruslan Provodnikov. The anticipated fire fight will take place Saturday, March 16th at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

Mr. Desert Storm

Bradley has regrettably been missing in action since his mega dustup last June at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against Manny Pacquiao that created as much radioactive fall out as the Chernobyl Nuclear accident near 30 years previous. The ever game challenger to Pacquiao’s WBO title put in a gritty effort to hang on for the split decision in perhaps the most hotly disputed, high profile boxing result of the 3rd millennium.

He managed to finish the grueling, high paced bout on his feet before requiring immediate convalescence in a wheelchair with serious injuries to both his ankles and feet requiring rest and therapy, torned tendons and fractured bones being mentioned, but never verified.  I never got the final updated injury report, but Bradley needed and took substantial time away from boxing to sort out his health and future career options.

The Timothy Bradley name instantaneously became infamous in spite of being a fine Ring ranked P4P fighter long under appreciated by the larger boxing public. He was savaged on antisocial internet and boxing websites as if he had made the final decision of the judges, even reporting death threats by email and snail mail, a real stain on boxing fans if true.

His promoter, Bob Arum, called for an investigation into the bout which, ahem…..drum roll….revealed nothing. The WBO honchos reviewed the fight with a panel of judges and awarded the decision to Manny Pacquiao which, ahem…..drum roll….meant nothing.  

The highly radioactive Bradley rested on his laurel of thorns as Top Rank scrambled to find him another fight in advance of the anticipated rematch with Pacquiao. Nothing doing, Bradley wouldn’t budge. The opponents and the money just didn’t tick all the right boxes for him, so he waited, and waited, and waited some more. As Pfc Gomer Pyle was want to remind Sgt Carter, “Surprise, surprise,” and now Bradley’s a week away from his return against the aggressive punching, always swarming Ruslan Provodnikov. Both have been fighting in the 140 – 150 lb range for their careers. Both are at near identical 5-6 short stuff statures and 29 years of age, but they’ll be easy to tell apart in the ring, trust me.

Ruslan Provodkinov

The relatively unknown Provodnikov is Ring ranked in Bradley’s old junior welter division at #10, but lacks Bradley’s championship experience against top contenders. That along with being slower on the draw and a somewhat plodding face forward style makes him imminently beatable by Bradley on paper. The paper doesn’t record that Bradley pretty much ran out of steam in his intense bout against Pacquiao last year, meaning a high intensity pressure fighter in excellent condition could exploit that weakness late in the fight, especially if Bradley no longer has best use of his legs which have always been a key principle in his herky, jerky, jumping around style that has thus far kept him unbeaten.

The intangibles in this bout are intriguing enough. Freddie Roach has been baiting Bradley with some classics, ie; “When he feels Ruslan’s power, like when he felt Manny’s, it’s going to be a remake of Forrest Gump. ‘Run, Timmy, run!’ This isn’t about Ruslan finishing what Manny started. It’s about duplicating  it.” Roach has been working with Provodnikov long enough to add some wrinkles for this bout, so clearly the Siberian is hungry enough to pull an upset since Roach doesn’t work with slackers. He’s been Pacquiao’s lead sparring partner for two camps now.

Speaking of hungry, Bradley says he goes vegan during his training camp to pare down his unusually cut, overdeveloped physique. His legs look like pipe cleaners compared to his bulging torso, perhaps a clue to his recent ankle injuries.

Bigger than advertised!

Bigger than advertised!

Bradley has said he wants to make a statement with a knockout of the very durable Siberian who has only lost one bout, and that by decision. Since Bradley has stepped up to championship level boxing in his last 9 fights, he’s only had a single knockout and that over the 40 year old Joel Casamayer.

We could have some fun here and note that Bradley looks like Tarzan and punches like Jane, but truth is he does have some hurtful enough pop to knock fighters down and change their fight strategy, so we’ll just have to see about all that.