"Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die."
If you believe in bible prophecy, then that means you believe we are in the last days. To some the signs are as obvious as an ominous storm cloud and impending rain.
Or a Red Sea.
In these times its been said that we will hear of wars and reports of wars; that nation would rise against nation. I start thinking about radiation and atomic energy. Unrivaled gore and carnage. Mouths agape the world over in shock and awe, as the epitome of violence reaches a crescendo of epic proportions.
Its been around 5 years now that the world has asked for and not received a fight between Floyd Mayweather and the Filipino icon. This mix-up between these two could produce fireworks and scintillating drama - but then again it could not. Pacquiao's last 7 victories have heard the final bell, while nothing Mayweather ever really does is with knockout intent. In other words, that much debated fight of historical proportions could turn out to be a boring affair and complete waste of time.
Pacquiao vs. Provodnikov would not be. In fact, it would be an absolute thriller.
In light of the recent departure of Richard Shaefer at Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy, there has been more speculation that we may now get some of the fights that have stymied the sport, much due to its rivalry with Bob Arum's Top Rank and the ongoing cold war between HBO and Showtime.
Its gotten to the point where it will cause unmitigated damage to boxing's already diminished standing in sport's pecking order of relevance - and even its own history - if things do not change.
Keith Thurman vs. Timothy Bradley, both respective Jr's, would result in somebody being somebody's daddy. What about a Provodnikov face-off with Mayweather, or an intriguing flare-up between old sparring partners Pacquiao vs. Shawn Porter? Danny Garcia vs. Provodnikov would also produce a great fight, but these are all rival factions considering network alliances.
Showtime can actually make a few more things happen in the star-studded welterweight division given its ties to Mayweather, Garcia, Thurman, Porter, Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse.
But of all the fights that could be made realistically, right now, Pacquiao vs. Provodnikov has the most sex appeal and is a guaranteed action adventure. So if it were to happen, just how exactly would this fight play and what would be its ramifications?
I'll tell you.
MANNY PACQUIAO VS. RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV
In a true war, there are no victors. The winner will lose something that can never be regained, and the loser leaves a great deal of soul and body in defeat.
That's what would happen if friends Manny Pacquiao and Ruslan Provodnikov were to face each other in combat.
When you watch video of sparring sessions between Pacquiao and Provodnikov, it becomes compelling theater for a plethora of reasons. To start, Provodnikov was trying to make a name for himself in preparing Pacquiao for Timothy Bradley. Much in the way that Shawn Porter did in preparing Pacquiao for Miguel Cotto, Ruslan, "The Siberian Rocky", took full advantage of his opportunity.
And also like Porter, his time spent honing the skills of Pacquiao resulted in the honing of his own to championship heights.
Once something like that happens, there tends to be the feeling of equality, this feeling tinged within that perhaps I've even surpassed you. They can talk about being friends all they want, but within that ring, there would be no friends. Ruslan is a very very proud warrior and now a world champion, and he would fiercely defend his status.
The Provodnikov you would see opposite Manny Pacquiao would (believe it or not) now regard him as the sparring partner. He has absolute faith in his offense and power, and would feel his time had arrived (you'll see signs of this when he plows through Chris Algieri next week, in what will be a difficult fight for him).
No loser has ever won more than Provodnikov did in his loss to Bradley. He capitalized on that in his bullish title winning effort over Mike Alvarado, and would fight Pacquiao exactly the same.
And he would lose - badly.
Since Pacquiao's circuits were shut-off by Marquez in December 2012, he has again ascended to world title status and preeminence in the sport. He clearly beat Bradley in April (as he did the first time) to regain the WBO crown, and he mugged the rugged Brandon Rios with relative ease.
Provodnikov is a faster, more point blank attacker than Rios, and would force Manny into trench warfare. Because they know each other so well - and because Freddie knows him even more - the gameplan would involve neutralizing Provo's left, which Manny would for the most part, but it would still cause him peril in this fight.
Still in possession of the best feet in boxing (and perhaps the most dazzling footwork in boxing history), Pacquiao would be able to sidestep a lot of Provodnikov's blunt force trauma and render him available to all of his rather original offensive fireworks.
Provodnikov would get hit like never before, face severe swelling, cuts, bruises and abrasions of the worse kind because of how often he would be struck. He would occassionally corner Pacquiao or get him against the ropes and do some damage of his own, but here's the problem...
Provodnikov wouldn't throw anything that Pacquiao wouldn't see coming, so there would be no Marquez-like element of surprise. Provodnikov also does not throw many straight textbook punches, he hooks a lot, which is why he gets hit a lot.
And after about 8 rounds of very little giving and a great deal of taking, Pacquiao would pound Provodnikov into oblivion, raising red flags at ringside, and sending once white but all red towels flying into the ring in the 9th round.