MANILA, Philippines – Showtime boxing analyst Al Bernstein believes Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov will not end up like Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios should the “Siberian Rocky” wind up fighting Filipino champ Manny Pacquiao this year.
Rios lost to Pacquiao when they fought in Macau last November, and the Mexican-American fighter was barely competitive against the Filipino legend.
Speaking to On the Ropes Boxing Radio, Bernstein pointed out that Rios got away from his usual come-forward style against Pacquiao, but he doubts the same will happen to Provodnikov.
“Rios didn’t really fight a good, pressure fight (against Pacquiao),” said Bernstein. “He didn’t do what he has done in previous fights, and Pacquiao did box him and did show more ring generalship.”
“As we have seen previously from Pacquiao… when Pacquiao moves and throws combinations, and uses the right hook, he’s a tough man to deal with. So he used that against Rios, and part of it is that Rios allowed him to do it,” he explained.
“Provodnikov is a different story, in that he is such a powerful puncher and he is very active,” Bernstein noted.
Provodnikov is one of the boxers being considered when the Filipino returns to the ring on April 12. The Russian recently said he is now open to a fight against the “Pacman,” after earlier saying he is not keen to face off against his friend and sparring partner.
According to Bernstein, Provodnikov, unlike Rios, who “stopped attacking Pacquiao at a certain point,” will continue to keep on punching.
“He won’t be dissuaded,” he said of the Russian.
Provodnikov is not as famous as some of Pacquiao’s previous opponents, but Bernstein said the Russian’s sterling 2013 campaign should encourage boxing fans to go for a Pacquiao-Provodnikov showdown.
“Given Provodnikov’s last couple of fights – the win over Mike Alvarado was a terrific fight, and the fight before that, against Timothy Bradley where he very narrowly lost and had Bradley in a lot of trouble – a lot of people would like to see Provodnikov,” he said.