What I saw on Saturday was something I never saw in 2008 and that was Timothy Bradley taking punishment. And lets put that into perspective, I’ve seen Bradley fight current and former world champions, and that includes the great Manny Pacquiao.
But what Bradley did during that fight was not surprising. He showed the courage to overcome and he kept coming.
Bradley stood in the line of fire and battled. Bradley did that when he fought Kendall Holt and was knocked down in the first round by a punch that had Bradley’s eyes roll up. In that fight, he said he couldn’t feel his legs. Against Pacquiao, he strained ligaments in one foot in the second round and severly sprained the other by the fourth in a fight against the dangerous Pacquiao, but overcame the pain to score a split decision victory.
Freddie Roach, the trainer for Pacquiao and Provodnikov, came towards me after his press conference and asked me to tell Bradley something along the lines that he has big cajones.
Now Bradley, who was the most criticized fighter after the Pacquiao fight, probably doubled his fan base at least. But most of all, Bradley got what he most wanted, respect. What Bradley and Provodnikov gave fans was a fight they won’t soon forget.
But let’s not forget Provodnikov. He did to Bradley what other world champions couldn’t. He punished Bradley. He is heavy handed and was able to connect on Bradley frequently with heavy-handed punches. Pacquiao couldn’t do it, Devon Alexander couldn’t do it, Lamont Peterson couldn’t do it. The only other time Bradley has been knocked down in a fight was against Holt, who did it twice. But Holt wasn’t as relentless as Provodnikov.
If you missed the fight, HBO will replay the fight. It was on Sunday morning and will have multiple replays. In a few days, the fight should be available as part of the On Demand service.
Other HBO playdates: Today (10:30 a.m.) and Monday (11:30 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Today (4:45 p.m.) and Tuesday (11:30 p.m.)