By Reni M. Valenzuela
Interesting but only for two reasons is Timothy Bradley’s upcoming defense of his WBO Welterweight “synthetic” belt against Ruslan Provodnikov.
One is Provodnikov is a hungry lion, a highly rated contender with a strong punch. The other is Provodnikov hails from Banner Promotions, not a Top Rank fighter. Therefore the bout on March 16 at The Home Depot Center is not an exclusive Bob Arum “in-house show.” So that makes sound the Bradley-Provodnikov. It legitimately legitimizes the match up. The “why and wherefore” of the fight is dependent on principle much more than on competitiveness even if competitiveness is tight.
Like smoking, Ruslan can be hazardous to health. American Bradley’s unbeaten record may be broken a week from today against an “untested” Russian opponent, but one who may pose unpredictability and surprise.
To counter the challenger’s ability by psychology, Bradley has this to say to “belittle” Provodnikov during their recent conference call: “I am not worried about his power. He needs to worry about my power. I am not worried about anything he is going to bring. He is going to stand in the middle of the ring. I know exactly how to beat this guy – outbox him. Provodnikov has to worry about me. I am not worried about him.” Really? Notice the word “I am not worried” was mentioned three times and the word “worry” twice in that short reply of Bradley when asked to comment about Provodnikov’s power.
Timothy has worries heading to the fight. His “zero loss” is very much at stake, not to mention his career as a “huge draw boxer” in the making. Whether or not he would get to fight the top boxers (including Manny Pacquiao) he dreams of fighting in the future, the outcome of Provodnikov-Bradley would be crucial to the realization of those dreams.
Bradley has reasons to worry.
But may he not resort to Performance Enhancing Drug out of anxiety and covetousness because PED spells doom for any athlete in exchange for few pieces of “un-devalued” silver. The PED bane is both immediate and long term. The ill effect far reaches one’s health, reputation, honor, future, legacy and peace of mind. PED is a kind of magic that gets anybody out of the real world where he naturally belongs, forever.
Bradley has reasons to worry.
Though with a serious team doing its job to enhance “Desert Storm’s” power and size as part of their preparation, and with Bradley’s superior boxing skill, everything antagonistic about Provodnikov may be nullified on fight night versus “pure talent.”
This is Bradley. And this is probably why I wonder how it would be like for him to dance in the coming months with a fellow pure talent, the “bonsai” Money Mayweather, except of course when Bradley is compelled to eat his big words as soon as the Provodnikov fight is done. But grow up, Floyd! Be tender to women and avoid issues with them.
Bradley has reasons to worry. His situation may be worse though if what drove him to comment the way he did as quoted above was overconfidence. And that should be a matter of greater worry for him and his team.
Meanwhile, any future boxing event, however interesting the match up could be, will have to be considered rubbish if the fighters are both under Top Rank.
Unless Arum is reconciled with Oscar Dela Hoya and agrees to pit his boxers against those of Golden Boy Promotions, boxing has to say no to any Arum “in-house shows,” thereby paving the way to truly enjoyable and memorable classic fights between boxers from two warring camps and from other promotional outfits. The sport has already “lost” a number of great fights that “could have been” and great fights that “could never be.” The grandest of them is the Pacquiao-Mayweather hip-hop tango.
What about boxing being a sport with principle this time?
Take a leaf from two great persons in boxing: “The Butterfly and me have been through some ups and downs and there have been lots of emotions, many of them bad. But I have forgiven him. I had to. You cannot hold out forever. There were bruises in my heart because of the words he used. I spent years of dreaming about him and wanting to hurt him. But you have got to throw that stick out of the window. Do not forget that we need each other, to produce some of the greatest fights of all time.” – Joe “Smokin” Frazier (R.I.P).
“I always bring out the best in men I fight, but Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me. I’m gonna tell ya, that’s one helluva man, and God bless him.” – Muhammad “Butterfly” Ali
Untangle the chain that binds you.
Refuse to play a game wherein you are deprived to hold the ball. Play another game instead and enjoy the score fair and square. Let Arum play his own and alone by himself until he decides to listen and humble himself. What can the sport of boxing do? Bob seems to be turning away every time Oscar tries to “reach out.”
Don’t let just one side do the talking. Take your turn. Know the language you need to speak. Communication, as in prayer, is not communication if it’s a “one-way” traffic. Sincere communication is fundamental in solving and resolving any problem of humanity – never war.
You can’t eat good principle.
But you can certainly live well and healthy on it. Or die well with it.
Choose, baby. Wise up!
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