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Juan Manuel Marquez is ‘afraid of’ Ruslan Provodnikov

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Ruslan Provodnikov told The Ring on Wednesday that Juan Manuel Marquez is “afraid of” him.

Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) last exited the squared circle on October 19 after brutalizing Mike Alvarado to earn the WBO light welterweight crown.

The “Siberian Rocky,” who was controversially outscored by Timothy Bradley in March 2013, is a relentless banger who has become more skilled under the tutelage of renowned trainer Freddie Roach.

Supremely confident and in tremendous physical condition, Provodnikov possesses a granite chin, cement fists and his punches land with resounding thuds.

"I think that Marquez and I will have the fight of the year in 2014. It doesn't matter who wins. We have both lost before. Boxing is not about always winning and not about titles. I know it's not an easy fight for either one of us,” said Provodnikov, 29.

“We're here to give the fans the best fights they have ever seen in their lives, and that's what it's all about. I know Juan Manuel feels the same way I do deep down in his heart, and if he doesn't take the only available pay per view fight to him, which is against me, then I think he is afraid of me more than he should be."

Comparatively, the 40-year-old Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs) lost a split decision to the 30-year-old Bradley (31-0-0-1, 12 KOs) in October.

Bradley was the aggressor and clearly handled Marquez throughout the competitive affair.

To offset Marquez’s ruggedness, Bradley utilized his blazing hand speed and elite footwork.

“Desert Storm” dominated with jabs and managed to avoid exchanges and getting lured into a slugfest.

Bradley rocked Marquez with a left hook in the scrap’s waning seconds that nearly floored the graying Mexican.

If a “Sin City” judge wasn’t incompetent, Bradley would have universally trumped Marquez on the cards.

A match pitting Provodnikov versus Marquez could absolutely be “the fight of the year in 2014.”

Ultimately, as the far younger and fresher man, the punishing Ruslan Provodnikov would become the first prizefighter to stop Juan Manuel Marquez.

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