Bradley vs Provodnikov, a classic battle, one for the history books

March 16, 2013 No Comments
Bradley celebrates his big win with wellwishers as he departs the ring with his entourage. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bradley celebrates his big win with wellwishers as he departs the ring with his entourage led by head trainer Joel Diaz. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Saturday evening, there were fireworks aplenty at the Tennis Stadium inside the Home Depot Center, the multiple-use sports complex located on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, CA. How so? Five of the eight bouts on the Top Rank, Inc. fight card ended with either a knock out or a technical knockout. Plus, in the Main Event, Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley, who was expected to win comfortably, barely survived a hellacious assault from “The Siberian Rocky” Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia.

Bradley, who in the past, has been counseled about being too upfront, too forthright, admitted in a post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman that he has been fighting concussed from round two on. What the home viewer on HBO and those of us at the stadium witnessed was this warrior getting up off the canvas twice, once in round one and again in the closing seconds of the final round. 

Thank goodness, the judges demonstrated their impartiality. Jerry Cantu scored the bout (114-113), Marty Denkin (114-113) and Raul Caiz Sr. (115-112), all had Bradley as their winner and still WBO Welterweight Champion. Given their differing vantage points and the fact that the Bradley knockdown in Round #1 was not ruled a knockdown, only a slip, their scores show how conscientious they were. 

The consensus of the people I polled, from you name it – boxers to former boxers, managers, trainers and even two promoters, they all agreed that this fight was a classic – “Fight of the Year” candidate. The Bradley supporters, of course being more boxing purists, saw their hero winning the bout. The large contingent of Russians and Asians in the audience, along with the fans of the traditional brawler, sided with Provodnikov stating he had more power behind his punches. 

Regular who's who of boxing on handCollage

No name dropping - I'm sure you already know these people and which boxer they favored.  All photos: Jim Wyatt

Who’s who of boxing – you probably already know the majority of these people and which of the boxers they favored. (top to bottom, l to r) WBA/IBO Middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin from Kazakhistan, WBO Featherweight Champion Mikey Garcia with IBF Featherweight champ Evgeny Gradovich, flyweight Zou Ming, the first boxer from China to ever win a Gold Medal at the Olympics with his girlfriend CCTV anchorwoman Ran Yingying, gym owner/trainer Luis Lorenzo of Main Street Boxing with Super featherweight boxer Oscar Valdez, gym owner/manager Lou Messina with trainer emeritus Abel Sanchez and once again boxer Evgeny Gradovich with boxer Egidijus Kavaliauskus and friend. All photos: Jim Wyatt

It’s important to note that after this fight both trainers, Freddie Roach (Ruslan’s trainer) and Joel Diaz (Bradley’s trainer) mentioned that during the bout both had contemplated throwing in the towel since their fighters were taking an unconscionable amount of punishment.

Bt 8 Entrance of freddie Roach with his charge Ruslan Provodnikov CollageBt 8 Bradley's ring entranceCollage

This photo by Chris Farina of Top Rank, Inc. shows that all important moment of truth - the decision to rule either a slip or a knockdown and referee Pat Russell made the decision that it was only an off balance slip.

This photo by Chris Farina of Top Rank, Inc. shows that all important moment of truth – the decision to rule either a slip or a knockdown. Ref Pat Russell ruled it was an off balance slip.

More high quality photos from Chris Farina/Top Rank Inc.

More high quality photos from Chris Farina/Top Rank Inc.

Photos: Jim Wyatt

Photos from high up in the stadium taken by Jim Wyatt

No time left - as the final 10 seconds ticked off the clock, we see Timothy Bradley wisely taking a knee and his opponent, Ruslan Provodnikov patiently waiting for have an opportunity to finish Bradley

(top photo) As the final 10 seconds ticked off the clock, we see Timothy Bradley wisely taking a knee while his opponent, Ruslan Provodnikov patiently waits for his opportunity to finish Bradley off. That opportunity never came. Photos: Jim Wyatt

Block of four photos furnished by Chris Farina of Top Rank, Inc.

Block of four photos furnished by Chris Farina of Top Rank, Inc.

Timothy Bradley walks through the crowd after leaving the ring. Photos: Jim Wyatt

Timothy Bradley walks through the crowd after leaving the ring. Photos: Jim Wyatt

Beaten and visibly upset by the unanimous decision, the Russian Rocky, Ruslan Provodnikov listens  to the encouraging words from his many supporters. Photo: Jim Wyatt leaves the ring

Beaten and visibly upset by an unanimous decision, the “Russian Rocky” listens intently as the encouraging words come streaming down from loyal supporters. Photos: Jim Wyatt

SportofBoxing.com’s scoring by round: the first two rounds went to Provodnikov, 10-8 for Round #1 (with the belief that a knockdown did occur) and 10-9 for the second. Next three rounds went to Bradley; Provodnikov took Round #6. Bradley took the next four rounds. Then Provodnikov won Round #11 (10-9), plus another 10-8 round in the final round after the second knockdown. Bout should have ended in a draw.

Like when you go to the movies, people always enjoy a thriller, the one with the surprise ending. Bradley backers expected their hero to win comfortably. Even the people who expected the fight to be great entertainment could hardly imagine such a classic struggle. 

Saturday’s Undercard:

Bt 1 Egidijus Kavaliauskus over Eridanni Leon Quintero

Bout #1 featured Lithuanian welterweight Egidijus Kavaliauskus (green/yellow shirt) gaining an unanimous decision victory over Eridanni Leon Quintero. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #1 featured welterweight, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, a 2008 Olympian from Kaunas, Lithuania, making a successful pro-debut against the over-matched Eridanni Leon Quintero of Inglewood, CA.

Jesse Magdaleno makes his ring entrance to face Carlos Fulgencio in Bout #2, Saturday, late afternoon inside the Home Depot Tennis Stadium.

Bout #2 – Jesse Magdaleno is shown making his ring entrance to face Carlos Fulgencio (bottom right panel), Saturday, late afternoon inside the Home Depot Tennis Stadium.

Bt 2 Jessie Magdaleno finishes FulgencioCollage

Later, after his destruction of Carlos Fulgencio in Bout #2, Jesie Magdaleno returned to Ringside to join his brother for several meet and greets and have his photo taken with his more famous brother Diego Magdaleno. togetherCollage

After a quick shower, Jessie Magdaleno (R) returned to Ringside to join his even more famous brother, Diego Magdaleno (L). Photo: Jim Wyatt

Bout #2 featured southpaw Jessie Magdaleno, the younger brother of super bantamweight standout Diego Magdaleno going up against fellow featherweight, Carlos Fulgencio (19-9-1, 12 KOs) from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. After being knocked down in the first, second and third rounds, Fulgencio the end came at :45 of the third round.

Getting set for Bout #3 we see Ramon Valadez (l) saluting his many supporters and the challenger, Vicotr Sanchez who came in from Houston, Texas. All photos: Jim Wyatt

Getting set for Bout #3 we see the local favorite Ramon Valadez (l) saluting his many supporters and the challenger, 20 year-old Victor Sanchez (r) who recently arrived from Houston, Texas to take on the celebrated East LA featherweight. All photos: Jim Wyatt

Bt 3 it was not suppose to happen #2 Collage

The youngster, Victor Sanchez  celebrates not only the big win but his first knockout.

The youngster, Victor Sanchez celebrates not only the big win but his first knockout.

Bout #3 was considered a major upset. Ramon Valadez of East Los Angeles, one tough hombre with a record of (11-3-0, 6 KOs), was set to face 20 year-old Victor Sanchez (3-5-1) from Houston, Texas, a featherweight without a single knockout. It seems Sanchez didn’t get the memo about being the fall guy. He went after and through Valadez to register his first knockout.

Bout #4 featured Gabino Saenz over Cesar Valenzuela

Bout #4 featured Gabino Saenz (left, blue trunks) taking on Cesar Valenzuela.

Bt 4 collage #2 Collage

Like Sanchez, Saenz was very excited about his dominate performance over Cesar Valenzuela. All photos: Jim Wyatt

Like Sanchez, Saenz was very excited about his dominate performance over Cesar Valenzuela.

Bout #4 featured super bantamweight Gabino Saenz (8-0-1, 6 KOs) from Indio, CA going up against Cesar Valenzuela (3-1-1, 1 KO) from Arizona. Like the preceding bout, Saenz wasted no time and went full bore against the hapless Valenzuela. By the 2:02 mark of the second round, Valenzuela was down and out.

Bt 5 Andy Ruiz Jr over Matthew Greer #1 CollageBt 5 second Ruiz CollageBt 5 third and final CollageBout #5 was a bit of an embarrassment as the portly 246 pound, 23 year-old Andy “the Destroyer” Ruiz, Jr. of Imperial, CA by way of Mexicali, B. C., Mexico (shown above in the purple trunks) went through the motions with 35 year-old Matthew Greer (15-9-0, 13 KOs) who hails from St. Louis Missouri.

Since Greer had defeated only two boxers with a winning record, not much was expected. In this one, Greer was knocked off his feet three times even before the first round ended. On the final knockdown, the 6’2” Ruiz hit the 240 pounder so hard he landed in the neutral corner with his legs coming up and over his head. See attached photo panel #6 for proof.  

Bout #6 involved Oscar Valdez, a 2008 and 2012 Mexican Olympian from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico doing battle with a local favorite Carlos Gonzalez. The beating from Valdez mercifully ended in Round #4 of the scheduled six rounder, when referee Tony Crebs stepped in to call a halt to the match. All photos: Jim Wyatt

Bout #6 involved Oscar Valdez (top photo, right), a 2008 and 2012 Mexican Olympian from Nogales, Sonora, Mexico doing battle with a local favorite Carlos Gonzalez (photo top left). The beating from Valdez mercifully ended in Round #4 of the scheduled six rounder, when referee Tony Crebs stepped in to call a halt to the match. All photos: Jim Wyatt

Bt 6 second CollageBout #6 featured the polished super featherweight Oscar Valdez, the 2008 and 2012 Olympian from Tucson, Arizona by way of Nogales, Sonora, Mexico going up against a local favorite from Los Angeles, Carlos Gonzalez (1-2-0). 

Gonzalez was never in this one as Valdez delivered his full arsenal nonstop. The stoppage came at the :58 second mark of the fourth round. To his credit, Gonzalez took a great many direct hits and yet never showed any sign of going down.

Valdez has local ties after training for a short while with Luis Lorenzo of Main Street Boxing, South San Diego and sparring competitively at the nearby Alliance Training Center, Chula Vista when preparing for the Olympics.

The ring walk of the two combatants in Bout #7, Wale "Lucky Boy" Omotoso who originally hails from Lagos, Nigeria and his opponent Jessie Vargas from Las Vegas, Nevada.

The ring walk of the two combatants in Bout #7, Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso (l) from Lagos, Nigeria and his opponent Jessie Vargas from Las Vegas, Nevada. Photos: Jim Wyatt

Outstanding photo collage provided by Chris Farina of Top Rank, Inc. shows three of the many fierce exchanges.

Outstanding photo collage provided by Chris Farina of Top Rank, Inc. shows three of the many fierce exchanges with Omotoso on the right, Vargas on the left.

Bt 7 final photos CollageBout #7 featured a battle of unbeaten welterweights. In it, Jessie Vargas had to overcome some early struggles to take a decision victory over Wale “Lucky Boy” Omotoso, winning on scores of 96-93, 96-93, and 97-92. Most agree the 97-92 score by Judge Gwen Adair was way off base. 

Vargas (22-0, 9 KOs) got himself involved in several losing exchanges early, which wasn’t such a good idea against the bigger, stronger Omotoso (24-1, 19 KO), who after Friday’s weigh-in rehydrated to nearly 18 pounds, up to 164 pounds on the unofficial HBO scales, a noticeable 10 pounds heavier than Vargas.

Omotoso scored a second round knockdown on a body shot that appeared to be blocked and Vargas returned to his feet almost instantly. After Vargas got his jab working, he was able to dictate the pace, and Omotoso was seemingly lulled into a sort of do nothing hibernation.

Neither man proved to be a world beater. Putting that aside, the two men did give us an entertaining bout.

It’s rare when you can say, “That memorable show was worth the long two and a half hour drive and I would gladly do it again.”

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