MANILA, Philippines – The promoter of Russian welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov defended his fighter’s title shot against World Boxing Organization (WBO) champion Timothy Bradley Jr., calling the match-up “a great fight.”
Art Pelullo, Provodnikov’s promoter, told Boxing Scene that he expects Provodnikov to give his best effort despite being a major underdog against the undefeated Bradley.
“He (Provodnikov) understands that he’s on the big stage. He understands that it’s a great opportunity and they don’t come open,” Pelullo said.
“I told him, ‘At every stage of every fighter’s career, you must win a fight you’re not supposed to win.’ He’ll be a major underdog with the critics, but not with the boxing people,” he added. “But at the end of the day, it’s a great fight.”
Bradley controversially defeated Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao in June 2012, with Provodnikov having served as Pacquiao’s sparring partner during his training camp.
The American was out of action for eight months following the Pacquiao fight as he suffered foot injuries, and he was hoping to fight a more prominent opponent.
Bradley was briefly linked to fights against Lamont Peterson, Yuri Gamboa or even Floyd Mayweather Jr., but ended up clashing against Provodnikov, who is a staple of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights but is not particularly well-known among casual boxing fans.
Pelullo claims fans will appreciate Provodnikov once they see him fight Bradley.
“He’s very, very television-friendly,” Pelullo said of the Russian. “You’re going to love him. I know most of the (boxing) writers know him.”
“He doesn’t know how to do anything but come at you,” he added.
Provodnikov has a 22-1 record, with 15 wins coming by knockout. He comes to the Bradley fight on a five-fight winning streak, four of which were by stoppage.