On the heels of Ruslan Provodnikov's impressive stoppage win over Mike Alvarado in October, Provodnikov's manager has his sights set on his charge's next fight, likely headed for the spring. Like any other boxer between the 140 and 154 pound weight classes who is promoted by Top Rank, Provodnikov has to basically wait and see who Manny Pacquiao is going to fight in April before seeing who is left on the menu. As of now, it seems there are two clear options for Pacquiao above all the rest: a fifth battle with Juan Manuel Marquez or a rematch against Tim Bradley. According to a report from Boxing Scene's Ryan Burton, Provodnikov's manager, Vadim Korniov, would gladly accept whomever Pacquiao decides not to fight.
"If a compromise is reached and Pacquiao fights Mayweather or Bradley, Marquez will have to fight Ruslan Provodnikov because that would be the only remaining fight for Marquez that people would actually want to see on HBO pay-per-view.
"Brandon Rios versus Ruslan would also be one of the most fan friendly fights out there right now, but I think Rios might would avoid Ruslan even if offered more money for this fight. I think that Marquez has a lot of that Mexican warrior spirit in him and he will fight the best out there right now even though it might be more risky than other fights he could take.
"Ruslan facing Timothy Bradley again is another great fight for us and we're definitely open to that fight. More importantly, it would be a rematch that people would want to see much more than a rematch between Marquez and Bradley which was clearly a one-sided fight."
I would love to see Provodnikov tangle with either Marquez or Bradley. His fight with Bradley was one of the best of 2013, and a rematch is practically guaranteed to be another high-quality showdown.
I also wouldn't mind the matchup with Marquez either, but I wonder how realistic of a chance it actually has of ever happening. Marquez has been in an all-or-nothing type of mode lately, with his fights either being big pay-per-view bouts or tuneup fights against overmatched foes. Granted, the Bradley pay-per-view would not be classified as "big" by some, especially if one compares it to a Floyd Mayweather or Pacquiao show, but it was a reasonable success. After his coming out party in 2013, would Provodnikov be as big of a name in the US (relatively speaking) as Bradley was heading into his pay-per-view with Marquez? If the answer is yes, maybe Provodnikov has an outside shot of getting Marquez in the ring with him. If not, there is no way Marquez fights him.
As for Brandon Rios, I'm guessing he enjoys his payday from the Pacquiao fight and takes a little bit of a break. I would highly doubt he is being seriously considered to comeback with another strong opponent until next fall at the earliest.
But, again, much of this will be determined by who faces Pacquiao in April. If he fights Marquez, I think a rematch with Bradley could be on tap for Provodnikov. But if Pacquiao fights Bradley, I would not be shocked if Marquez "retires" only to return in the fall to face whoever wins.