by Eric Raskin
There were echoes of the Thrilla in Manila. There were shades of Chavez-Taylor. There was even a taste of what an unscripted Balboa-Creed might look like.
This is not to say that Tim Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov was as thrilling, as memorable, or as iconic as any of those (real or fictitious) fights. There would be varying levels of blasphemy involved in making such direct comparisons. All we’re saying is that Bradley-Provodnikov provided elements of all of the above. And that it was thrilling, memorable, and instantly iconic in its own right.
At the conclusion of 12 heart-pounding rounds, including a final round in which he was quite literally saved by the bell, Bradley retained his welterweight belt by a single point on two scorecards. He successfully followed up his highly disputed decision over Manny Pacquiao and subsequent nine-month layoff with a far less disputed victory. Before the opening bell of Bradley-Provodnikov, ring announcer Lupe Contreras injected the unpopular opinion that Bradley’s “previous performance catapulted him to boxing superstardom.” Twelve rounds after Contreras’ proclamation, however, the case could rightly be made that Tim Bradley had arrived as a boxing superstar.