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Timothy Bradley boosts his stock with gritty win
“I didn’t feel his punches at all,” Provodnikov said through a translator, the area around his left eye bleeding and grotesquely swollen. “He was feeling my punches the whole time. I was going after him all 12 rounds.”
The “Siberian Rocky” nearly closed out Bradley in the final minute, forcing the champion to take a knee under a withering assault that staggered backward into the ropes. But Provodnikov took enormous punishment of his own in the middle rounds, and trainer Freddie Roach strongly considered stopping the fight before Provodnikov started his final run in the 11th.
Provodnikov, a sparring partner for Pacquiao at Roach’s Wild Card Gym, didn’t get the belt he coveted, but still earned much more than his second career defeat. After spending most of his career fighting in rural American casinos and Russian outposts on ESPN and other second-tier boxing outlets, he has cemented a reputation as a ferocious, defense-deficient brawler in the mold of Brandon Rios, Mike Alvarado or Marcos Maidana _ the kind of fighter adored by fans and television networks.
But both fighters earned time to heal from a bout that stretched their endurance even while burnishing their reputations.
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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