It's been a while, hasn't it?
Rather than propel him into superstardom, pound-for-pound stalwart Timothy Bradley's controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao seems to have done more harm than good, as "Desert Storm" has not been in action since June 2012, while both his current and former divisions have seen some serious shakeups.
With new threats like Keith Thurman and possibly Adrian Broner at 147 pounds, Bradley will look to re-establish himself as the top dog TONIGHT (Sat., March 16, 2013) against once-beaten Russian Ruslan Provodnikov, putting his WBO Welterweight title on the line.
MMAmania will have LIVE coverage of the "Bradley vs Provodnikov," which takes place at The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif., starting with the HBO World Championship Boxing broadcast at 10:15 ET.
The double-header also features an intriguing clash between unbeaten prospects as Floyd Mayweather Jr. understudy Jessie Vargas takes on Nigeria-born knockout artist Wale Omotoso in a 10-round Welterweight affair.
"BRADLEY VS. PROVODNIKOV" QUICK RESULTS:
147 lbs. Title: Timothy Bradley (c) def. Ruslan Provodnikov by unanimous decision (114-113 x3, 115-112)
147 lbs.: Jessie Vargas def. Wale Omotoso by unanimous decision (96-93x2, 97-92)
"BRADLEY VS. PROVODNIKOV" PLAY-BY-PLAY RESULTS:
WBO Welterweight Title: Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov
Round one: Provodnikov looks like my old high school roommate. Weird.
Anyway, he's the one moving forward early. Bradley firing some looping shots to the head and body. Bradley focusing fire on the body with his jab. Good left hook. Ruslan connects with a left, gets tied up. Bradley doubles up the hook to the body and head, adds one more to the head. Ruslan clubs the head with a hook, Bradley the body. Good infight so far. Both men land some good shots, but it sounds like Bradley's hitting with a little more thump. Good body blows and a short uppercut from Bradley. Hard left to the body, Provodnikov flurrying opstairs. Bradley rocked with an overhand right and his legs are not there. He slips, falls when he gets back up, but there's no knockdown called. Ruslan firing everything and rattles him with a left hook to end the round. Holy shit. 10-9 Provodnikov.
Round two: Bradley more conservative this round, working behind his jab. Another overhand lands for Provodnikov. Bradley to the body. Big body shot from Bradley and Ruslan taunts him. Another overhand from Ruslan hurts Bradley again, but he stays up. ANOTHER big right from Provodnikov. Bradley still up and rips to the body as Ruslan walks him down. HUGE left hook connects for the Russian; Bradley throwing with his backs off the ropes. MORE big shots from Provodnikov. Ruslan swings so hard he pulls himself off his feet. Ruslan hurts him AGAIN. AGAIN. Bradley firing back with gusto but not deterring him. Left hands have Tim wobbling against the ropes. Tim hit with another left hook. Tim slaps him back and forth with his back against the ropes to end the round. Holy shit again. 10-8 Provodnikov without a knockdown, 20-17.
Round three: Tim hits hard to the body and head; Ruslan looks winded. Bradley with another good combo low and high. Tim using his left hand well, Ruslan not throwing. Another good hook to the body. Bradley flurries and connects well. One-two from Tim and another good flurry. Provodnikov took the round off; let's see how much he has left. 10-9 Bradley, 29-27 Provodnikov.
Round four: Bradley active to start the round. Great series of jabs from Bradley, Ruslan waits them out and smashes him with an overhand right. Bradley takes it like a champ and continues attacking. Bradley with a steady stream of long punches. Both men landing hooks and overhands inside. BIG uppercut and left hook from Bradley, those looked vicious. Provodnikov just tanks them. Clinch. Provodnikov lands a big right, again Bradley eats it. ANOTHER big right. Just insane durability from both men. Bradley smokes the body to end the round. What a fight. 10-9 Bradley, 38-37 Provodnikov.
Round five: Bradley active with his jab. Great combination, preceded by a long string of jabs. Ruslan just plodding after him, but getting chewed up by Bradley's endless offense. Solid right from the Russian as he gets Bradley to the fence. Short left hook. Both men to the body inside. Bradley gets Provodnikov to the fence and lays on a series of big shots. Provodnikov fires back with ill intentions. Left hook from Bradley forces Ruslan back. Point-blank uppercut from Bradley, Ruslan smacks him away with his left. Phone booth range, Bradley just slamming some bombs home to the body and head. Ruslan ends the round with a big left hook, but another round for the champ. 47-47.
Round six: They go right back to point-blank range. Bradley roughing him up both low and high. Bradley stringing jabs together and connects with a loud left to the body. Good left from Provodnikov. Bradley with some brilliant combos, just not giving Ruslan any room to breathe. Another good one to the body. Big left hook. Right this time. Another and a left. Ruslan connects with a right over the top, Bradley lands about six or seven straight to answer. Bradley to the body. Ruslan wobbles Bradley against the ropes and fires away, but Bradley hands on. Bradley hurt again; he's not steady. Both of them bombing with insane intensity to end the round. Ruslan stole it right at the end, 57-56 same. What a fight.
Round seven: Ruslan walking forward with his hands down. Bradley still with a crazy-high output. More body and head shots. Ruslan with a right to the body, Bradley lands a couple to the body himself. Another straight from the Russian downstairs. Ruslan moving forward, Bradley not throwing with the same ferocity as before. Good series of jabs, short left hook. Good left hook from the Russian. Bradley with a right-left to end things. 66-66.
Round eight: Bradley looks fresher. More lefts and rights. Good right-left from the champion. Clinch. Ruslan with a straight to the body, Tim putting jabs together. Ruslan with a left downstairs. Bradley right-left as Provodnikov looks to close distance. Big right from Provodnikov temporarily stumbles BRadley, but Tim gets out of trouble. Left hook from Ruslan, Tim witha steady stream of long straights. Provodnikov comes on at the end of the round, but gets tied up before Tim whacks his body to end the round. 76-75 Bradley.
Round nine: Bradley upping the output in the early going. Good one-two after, once again, a boatload of consecutive jabs. Short punches as Provodnikov tries to weave in. Ruslan fires back and connects around Bradley's guard with looping punches. Bradley bullying him against the ropes; Ruslan is cut bad over his left eye. Bradley just chewing him up at point-blank range. Ruslan circles out and lands a big right, Bradley responds by burying him in punches. BIG shots from Bradley. Big right hand into Ruslan's cut, but Ruslan refuses to back down and lands a big left over the top;. Stiff jab by Ruslan to end the round, but Bradley is running away with it. 86-84 Bradley.
Round ten: Doctor took a look at Ruslan's cut, but they're still going. Big right from Bradley right on it. Stiff jab. Good body shot after a right from Ruslan. Tim targeting the eye with lefts and rights. Ruslan connects with a left hand; he's so tired, but still in it. Bradley with a big left-right. Ruslan with a couple of lefts. Bradley's output is crazy at this stage of the fight. Jab exchange. Ruslan lands a right, Bradley answers twofold and sticks another left in for good reason. Ruslan's eye is a mess as the round ends. 96-93 Bradley.
Round eleven: Roach tells Ruslan he needs the knockout. I agree.
Bradley ripping to the body early. Ruslan slinging bombs, but Bradley's avoiding them and connecting with good shots of his own. Good series of lefts from Tim. Provodnikov connects with a couple short blows to the side of Bradley's hea.d Tim disengages. Ruslan lands a pair of big rights and a good left hand. Overhand right from Ruslan stings him and another one. Tim throwing back to good effect. Great series fo lefts from the champ, Ruslan hunting him down with punches in desperation. Another good overhand from Ruslan, then a left-right. Ruslan weathers the storm to land two more big shots near the bell as Bradley lays into him. Wow. 106-102 Bradley.
Round twelve: Ruslan stalking him right off the bat and throwing big left hooks. They trade heavy leather against the ropes. Ruslan stings him hard with a right, Tim tanks it. Tim lands a left hook, Ruslan sends off a salvo that falls short. Ruslan lands an overhand, Bradley ties him up. Tim savages the body with punches in bunches. Ruslan doing everything he can to win this fight and HE ROCKS BRADLEY AGAIN WITH A RIGHT HAND! Tim wobbles out of harm's way but HE'S HURT AGAIN! RUSLn WHALING AWAY! BRADLEY TIES HIM UP BUT RUSLAN POURS IT ON AND FINALLY GETS HIM DOWN! Tim's back up; not enough time, this fight's over. Holy shit. 10-8 Provodnikov, 114-112 Bradley.
Final result: Bradley def. Provodnikov by unanimous decision
Welterweight: Jessie Vargas vs. Wale Omotoso
Round one: Not much activity in the first minute outside of a handful of short jabs. Good right from Wale inside, Vargas jabs to the body. Quick exchanges at the sixty-second mark, Vargas getting the better of it slightly. Good body shots from Vargas. Jessie establishing the jab. Omotoso with a stiff shot of his own and a slapping left hook. Jab to the body by Jessie. Left exchange. Left-right hooks from Wale, Vargas again to the body. Sloppy right hand cuffs Vargas's ear. Body jab Vargas, right from Wale. 10-10, 10-9 Omotoso if pressed.
Round two: Jabs early. Three-piece combo from Vargas. Thudding right from Omotoso. Uppercut from Omotoso answered by a left hook. Another solid right; Vargas clubs with an uppercut and hook inside. Vargas wades in with body blows. Both men firing on all cylinders right now. Omotoso rams an uppercut into Vargas's body and he goes to one knee; may have been a slip, but they call it a knockdown. Overhand right from Omotoso after Vargas. Stiff jab. Vargas digs to the body, now circling off. Omotoso with a crazy right. Vargas hits high, Omotoso hits the body. Great round. 10-8, 20-18 Omotoso.
Round three: Counter jab from Vargas. Vargas' jab seems the better at the moment. Glancing left hook from Omotoso, but not much action at all this round. Vargas to the body with the jab, Omotoso answers upstairs. Good right over the top from Wale. Vargas lands a hook off the back foot and sneaks a hook in a series of jabs. Omotoso with a hook of his own and his overhand right. Another. Glancing right to end the round, 30-27 Omotoso.
Round four: Vargas on his back foot, operating behind the jab. Omotoso's falling a bit short. Short left hook by Wale. Another. Left hook by Vargas, Omotoso pursues with big head shots but can't hit clean. Good jabs from Vargas as they very nearly clash heads. Both land left hooks inside. Body shot Omotoso, close hooks from Vargas. Clubbing rights from Vargas in the phonebooth. Omotoso throwing heat but Vargas is getting the better of him in these exchanges. 10-9 Vargas, 39-37 Omotoso.
Round five: Back to tagging with jabs. Vargas again having more success, mixing in one to the body every once in a while. Omotoso clubs to the body inside. The two swing heavy leather, Vargas clubs him with a right and a left. Omotoso does the Ali Shuffle and asks for more; Vargas obliges and takes his legs out with another huge right. Omotoso somehow stays standing and starts firing back. Omotoso's legs are gone and he's wobbling around the ring as Vargas continues pouring it on. Omotoso ties him up; twenty seconds left and he might escape the round. Both men club inside. They land solid shots to end a crazy round. 10-8 Vargas without a knockdown, 47-47.
Round six: Vargas comes in with uppercuts, Omotoso digs to the body. More phonebooth exchanges. Vargas targets the liver with a pair of hooks, Omotoso lands one of his own. Stiff jab by Vargas. Omotoso with a glancing hook. Vargas jabs to the body once again. Short hook from Wale. Vargas with one of his own. Nothing much happens in the latter part of the round. 10-9 Vargas for ring control despite inactivity, 57-56 same.
Round seven: Slow pace continues in the opening minute; just jabs for the most part. Vargas with an overhand right. Stiff jab, Omotoso answers with one of his own. Omotoso showboating again, Vargas smacks him for it. Jab trade, Vargas gets the better of it. Good double jab from Jessie. Omotoso's 3-2 falls short, Vargas keeps up the jab. Omotoso lands a great left hook, but Vargas takes it well. Good left-right from Omotoso. Wale busier, but I'm still giving it to Vargas for generalship and constantly landing jabs. 67-65 same.
Round eight: Omotoso just whiffs with a long right hand. Vargas leads with one of his own and connects. Vargas demands Omotoso attack. Vargas with a clubbing right, Omotoso chases him down and connects as Jessie continues yelling for more. Things slow down again, Vargas circling with the jab. Lead right hand. More jabs. Good one-two from Vargas connects, leading to a clinch. Omotoso rattles him with a three-two to end another good round. 10-9, 77-74 Vargas.
Round nine: Vargas with a left hook, Wale with a right. Uppercut from Omotoso. Good counter right by Wale. Vargas still pumping out the jab, triples it up to good effect. Good counter left from Jessie, just avoids a straight right from Wale. Chopping right from Wale misses and gets him tied up. Jab to the body from Vargas, solid left hook from Wale. Left-right combo from Vargas connects. Lead right now, Wale fires back to no effect. Wale connects with a check hook around the bell. 10-9, 87-83 Vargas, but these rounds are close.
Round ten: Great left-right from Omotoso raises a nice cloud of sweat but doesn't rattle Vargas. Right-left from Vargas as he avoids some heavy leather from Wale. Omotoso leads with an uppercut. Two-piece combo from Omotoso connects at the end of his gloves. Jessie goubles up the jab and gets tied up. Hard pair of legs from Vargas as Omotoso pursues. Omotoso lands a good right over the top. Omotoso tags him with a short flurry. Vargas opens up at the end of the round and lands two good shots in the bunch. 97-92 Vargas, but again, there are arguments for Omotoso. I valued Vargas's ring generalship, but Wale landed some quality blows throughout.
Final result: Vargas def. Omotoso by unanimous decision