Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov
2013-03-16 : Timothy Bradley Jr 146½ lbs beat Ruslan Provodnikov 146½ lbs by UD in round 12 of 12
- Location: Home Depot Center, Carson, California, USA
- Referee: Pat Russell
- Judge: Raul Caiz Sr 115-112
- Judge: Marty Denkin 114-113
- Judge: Jerry Cantu 114-113
- World Boxing Organization Welterweight Title (1st defense by Bradley)
- Promoters: Bob Arum (Top Rank), Art Pelullo (Banner Promotions)
- Ring Announcer: Lupe Contreras
- Aired On: HBO World Championship Boxing (Main Event)
- Ring Magazine Fight of the Year for 2013
- Boxing Writers Association of America Fight of the Year for 2013
Timothy Bradley came into the fight with something to prove, and for two rounds it appeared it would cost him dearly.
A boxer, Bradley is not known to be a one-punch-knockout fighter, but opted to stand toe-to-toe with challenger Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1) for the first six minutes and was in danger of being stopped. The champion, who was staggered numerous times during the fight and was forced to take a knee in the final seconds of round twelve, did enough in the judges' eyes, however, to maintain his WBO welterweight title and push his record to 30-0. The fight, a credit to the sport, was well summed up by promoter Bob Arum who acknowledged "Tonight there's no losers."
A straight right hand badly staggered Bradley in the opening round and seconds later he fell forward and went down from what was ruled to be a slip. Much of the same continued in round two with Bradley being caught again and, by the end of the round, the champion was backed against the ropes taking heavy punishment.
Apparently this was enough to get Bradley to listen to his corner who implored him to stop trading punches and instead utilize his quality boxing skills. Over the next three rounds, the champion moved, worked nicely with a jab, and threw punches in flurries to gain rounds.
Bradley maintained his momentum into the sixth round, until a shot from Provodnikov wobbled him in the final minute. For the final thirty seconds, the two men exchanged incessantly with no concern for defense.
Rounds seven through ten were strong ones for Timothy Bradley. In the eighth, a cut opened under Provodnikov's left eye from an accumulation of punches and in the ninth, Bradley's strongest, a slit opened to the eyelid of the same eye. The champion continued to pour it on in the tenth as it appeared Ruslan may be starting to fade. By the end of the round, Provodnikov's left eye was swollen and looking as though it could potentially bring a halt to the bout. Prior to the start of the eleventh, trainer Freddie Roach told his fight that if he didn't show him something, he would stop the fight.
The challenger opened the eleventh with renewed energy and looked to be going for the knockout. Each man threw wide, power punches in the round with both landing.
In the final round, Bradley came out looking to box his way to a win, before a landed power punch from the challenger again drew him into an exchange. A right hand sent Bradley stumbling, and an accumulation, while backed into a corner, caused him to take a knee at 2:49 for a count of seven. The bell rang to end the fight before the two men could exchange any further.
- Timothy Bradley 29-0 (12 KOs) vs. Ruslan Provodnikov 22-1 (15 KOs)
- Bradley entered as the #7 welterweight contender and #9 pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to The Ring Magazine. Provodnikov, a 5.5-to-1 betting underdog, was unranked by the same publication at welterweight (but ranked #10 at jr. welterweight). 
- It was the first fight for Bradley following his controversial June 2012 win over Manny Pacquiao. In the match, Bradley suffered ligament damage to both feet and spent some time in a wheelchair while recovering. Bradley claimed his weight reached 185 pounds after his fight with Pacquaio and he was forced to lose nearly forty pounds in preparation for this bout.
- ESPN's Dan Rafael scored it 114-112 in favor of Bradley. HBO's Harold Lederman had it 115-112 for Bradley.
- "I wanted to get inside and try to smother his shots. He showed me right away that he is a very strong kid. Ruslan will be a champion. He was the first opponent that really rocked me." - Timothy Bradley in the post-fight interview.
- "I believe in myself. I felt like he was knocked down in the first round. I proved everything I had to prove tonight." - Ruslan Provodnikov through a translator
- "Tim has the world next. Let's be honest. Tonight there's no losers. This guy Provodnikov will be back." - Bob Arum
- "To quote my pal Larry Merchant from Gatti-Ward I: I am humbled by what I am seeing." - Dan Rafael
- "Great fight. I think BOTH of their stocks just went up. Bradley has a great chin and ability to recover. Most would have been KO'd." - Lennox Lewis
- "Great blood and guts HBO boxing main event. I have it a draw, but could be Bradley UD." - Lou DiBella
- "It was a great fight. Both guys fought a great fight, a very close fight. I thought we had the edge, but, you know, that's the way things go. I thought Bradley fought a great fight also, so I have nothing bad to say about either guy...was one of the best fights I've ever seen." - Freddie Roach, Provodnikov's trainer.