Five keys for Ruslan Provodnikov
Plotting a path to victory against welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr.
Russia's Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KOs) will have the opportunity of a lifetime when he faces welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley on Saturday at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. (HBO, 10:15 p.m. ET/PT).
Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) will be defending his belt for the first time since his controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao in June.
Provodnikov, Pacquiao's former sparring partner, enters the bout on a five-fight winning streak, four of them by knockout.
Here are five keys to victory for Provodnikov against Bradley:
Search and destroy
|Provodnikov is an aggressive fighter who is used to stalking his opponents. Mike Tyson is his idol, and his tenure as Pacquiao's sparring partner has helped him develop his own style. These are the tools he should use against Bradley: cut the ring off, push his opponent to the ropes and constantly punish him in close spaces, just as he did in a second-round knockout over Jose Reynoso in his previous fight.|
Trust in your corner
|It is true that Freddie Roach is undergoing a bad streak with his pupils, but this time his presence will be a positive. After the controversial defeat of Pacquiao against Bradley, Roach has earned experience, knows Provodnikov's opponent really well, and will be able to design the proper strategy that could defeat him.|
Pay attention to the counter
|Bradley will climb into the ring looking to prove that his victory over Pacquiao didn't just happen by chance, and he will seek the knockout, likely through a counterpunch. Provodnikov, who is coming up in weight for this fight, must have this in mind and improve his defense. Each time he throws combinations he will have to close his guard precisely to block Bradley's counterattack, because that's what could finish his night.|
Wait for errors
|Bradley already has announced a more aggressive style. He will throw less, but punch more. This seems to be the idea, and whenever a fighter changes styles, he appears to be more prone to errors. This time will not be any different. Bradley's hunger for the spotlight and to leave behind the impression of being a boring fighter that has brought so much criticism will force him to be exposed and make mistakes. Provodnikov will have to be alert to seize those opportunities and to land his powerful right hand.|
The running man
|Just as Bradley's trainer, Joel Diaz, said, Provodnikov is a predictable fighter "who knows how to punch when he is backing up." But whenever he fails to get the right distance to land his combinations, he will have to move, avoid being a sitting target and even retreat if that's necessary. He will have to be alert to counter punch when that moment comes.|
MORE BOXING HEADLINES
- Marquez to fight Alvarado in elimination bout
- Porter to defend title vs. Malignaggi in April
- Huck fractures thumb, title defense called off
- Olympian Zhang goes pro, signs with Dynasty