Ruslan Provodnikov dished out the worst beating that Timothy Bradley has endured in his pro career on March 16 in a Fight of the Year candidate, which Bradley won by close decision, and the WBO welterweight titlist feels that a big weight cut may have impacted his ability to take Provodnikov's punches in the fight.
"Ruslan Provodnikov is no slouch man. You gotta give it up to him. He's a great fighter. I trained hard for this fight. I took him very seriously and I am glad I did. He's a very tough fighter. I went in there and I wanted to take him out. I'm not going to lie. I wanted to take him out and I got hurt early on. ... I think I wasn't able to take a punch because of my weight. I was up to 185 pounds after the Pacquiao fight and I know that two weeks before the fight I was still 20 pounds over. I've never been that heavy."
Bradley (30-0, 12 KO) was rocked early and often over the course of the 12 round war, and had to take a knee in the final round, or risk being taken out in the final seconds of the fight by a determined and hard-charging Provodnikov (22-2, 15 KO).
The concern since the fight has been how damaged the 29-year-old Bradley may be for future fights because of the sustained beating he took. He proved his toughness and his chin by standing up, even when rocked and reeling, to some big shots from a guy who can punch. But there is some worry that ultimately, that may prove to have been to his detriment for future bouts.
Right now, though, Bradley's in about as good a position in terms of marketing as he's ever been. He hit a low after his robbery win over Manny Pacquiao last year, but got back in some fans' good graces with this type of performance. Was it worth it? Time will tell.