MANILA, Philippines – Russian boxer Ruslan Provodnikov needs more exposure before he can be thrust into a high-profile showdown against Filipino champ Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said.
Provodnikov’s name was included in a list of potential opponents for Pacquiao’s April 12 fight date, but Arum told Sports Illustrated that the Russian was “never under serious consideration.”
“He needs a little bit more exposure,” Arum said of Provodnikov, the WBO light-welterweight champion. “Boxing fans know him (but) the general public has never heard of him, even though he is an exciting fighter.”
Provodnikov, a hard-hitting brawler, received a boost in popularity last year when he pushed American champion Timothy Bradley Jr. to the limit before losing. He then beat Mike Alvarado in October to become a world champion for the first time.
But Arum suggested that Provodnikov still needs to make a name for himself among casual boxing fans before he can be seriously considered for a Pacquiao showdown.
“Let him fight on HBO a couple more times,” the promoter said. “He’s a candidate down the road to face Pacquiao, for sure.”
Pacquiao will instead fight Bradley, who was nearly knocked out by Provodnikov when they fought in March 2013.