Although it was nearly two full years ago that Bradley and Provodinkov waged an unforgettable war in the ring, fans still remember that Fight of the Year like it was yesterday. Apparently so does Ruslan Provodnikov, who would love another chance to finish off what he started.
Most fans remember Bradley-Provodnikov for its sheer violence, a slugfest that badly concussed Tim Bradley and saw him put on a display of heart like none I've ever seen before. After Bradley was clearly put out on his feet by Provodnikov, Bradley fought back ferociously and wildly, proving that you'll basically have to kill the man to break his will. Don't think you can just hurt Bradley and he'll cave -- he most certainly won't.
Unfortunately that bout, however exciting for fans, came at a great cost to Bradley. Yes, he won a decision against Provodinkov, but he also barely survived it, nearly getting stopped in the final round and a few times before then. Bradley says he barely remembers the Provodnikov fight, and that can likely be attributed to the number of concussive shots landed by the hard-hitting Russian, as well as the brain swelling that resulted from them. Bradley also went on to be very forthright about the damage he sustained in that fight, telling the media that he suffered from slurred speech for a number of months following the bout.
Since that time, Bradley had an unceremonious break-up with longtime trainer Joel Diaz, instead opting to enlist the services of Teddy Atlas. Diaz didn't appear to take that news very well, and as fate would have it, he would soon end up working with Ruslan Provodnikov. So the plot thickens...
Now that Provodnikov feels that he's shored-up his defense and technique under Diaz, he wants another chance to finish what he started with Bradley. Trainer Joel Diaz doesn't seem to have a problem with that fight either.
"Well if Bradley is a fireman, it is Ruslan that brings the inferno to the fight," said Diaz, mocking Atlas' memorable corner pep talk in which he yelled at Bradley that they were firemen getting ready for the heat they expected Rios to bring. "If they rematch it would be a tough fight. After the first fight, everybody knows that Bradley was scarred from the bout. Bradley was damaged, and in a rematch, that is what Bradley would be thinking about, and he would not be focused. Ruslan would take the initiative and knock him out."
Bradley, himself, hasn't mentioned the likes of a Provodnikov rematch much - perhaps content to leave that chapter of his boxing career closed. Of course Bradley's name has also been floated around for Canelo Alvarez - if he should beat Miguel Cotto this weekend. Then there's also Sadam Ali, who is a manadatory challenger for Bradley waiting in the wings.
What say you, fans? Which potential fight would you prefer for Bradley? A drama-filled rematch with Provodnikov - with no shortage of story lines? A big money fight with Canelo at 154lbs? Or do you want to see Bradley take on some new blood in Sadam Ali?