Provodnikov (23-3, 16 KOs) surrendered the WBO junior welterweight belt after losing a debatable split decision to Chris Algieri on June 14.
A merciless assaulter with cement fists and a granite chin, Provodnikov floored the 30-year-old Algieri (20-0, 8 KOs) twice in the opening round.
Oozing confidence and performing in peak condition, Provodnikov badly defaced Algieri and the undefeated challenger quickly developed a grotesquely swollen, bloody and closed right eye.
However, displaying remarkable testicular fortitude, Algieri endured and managed to outbox the “Siberian Rocky.”
Using deft footwork and an effective jab, the 5-foot-11 Algieri kept the 5-foot-6 Provodnikov at an honest distance following the first four frames.
Granted, many onlookers thought Provodnikov deserved to prevail.
Regardless, boxing is extremely subjective and it’s understandable that other spectators believe Algieri was the rightful victor.
“I think Bradley never wanted the rematch because he’s afraid of me,” said Provodnikov, 30, who lost an extremely controversial decision to Bradley in March 2013.
“Now that I lost, he is trying to use this as a reason for why he shouldn’t fight me. I know HBO wants the rematch and I know the fans want the rematch, so it will be a great fight again.”
Comparatively, the 30-year-old Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs) last vacated the squared circle in April after getting outclassed by Manny Pacquiao.
The 35-year-old Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) officially trumped Bradley by scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112.
Displaying elite footwork and the uncanny ability to deliver punches from all angles, an extremely aggressive Pacquiao used his southpaw stance to pepper Bradley with straight left hands.
The “Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s by the BWAA was periodically careless and even borderline reckless.
Fortunately for the Filipino icon, Bradley possesses feathery fists and was incapable of seriously hurting Pacquiao.
Bradley is quick, tough and gutsy.
Fighting like a man possessed, Bradley landed hard body shots and tried to will himself to greatness.
Nevertheless, supremely prepared for this sequel, Pacquiao again proved to be too dominant for “Desert Storm.”
Although unlikely, considering the Russian slugger concussed him in the first round, perhaps Bradley is hesitant to again brawl with Provodnikov.
After all, beyond any doubt, “fans want the rematch” between Ruslan Provodnikov and Timothy Bradley.