I Survived Provodnikov, C’mon

By Robert Ecksel on June 27, 2015
I Survived Provodnikov, C’mon
"He hurt me but I could have continued. I survived Provodnikov.” (Chris Farina/Top Rank)

Timothy Bradley decisioned Jessie Vargas after 12 rounds of action to win the interim WBO welterweight title…

Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, in a fight televised live on HBO Championship Boxing, former two-division champion Timothy Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs), from Palm Springs, California, decisioned Jessie Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs), from Las Vegas by way of Los Angeles, after 12 rounds of action to win the interim WBO welterweight title.

The final scores were 116-112, 117-111, and 115-112.

Fighting out of the red corner in blue trunks trimmed in neon green, Bradley was as fit, as seasoned, as primed, as ready to rumble at ever. Even giving up five years in age and four inches in height to an up-and-comer wasn’t enough for his opponent to get the nod.

Vargas, fighting out of the blue corner in white trunks with gold and black trim, was taking a big step up in class. But his unbeaten record, no less than having legendary Erik Morales in his corner, might have won the day against a lesser man than Desert Storm.

There is much to like about Timothy Bradley. One of the things I like about Bradley is one never knows which Bradley will show up. Will it be Bradley the boxer-puncher, the guy who picks his shots and conserves his energy? Or will it be Bradley the kamikaze pilot, the warrior on a suicide mission who lets it all hang out?

Saturday night it was the latter, and it made for one helluva performance.

Bradley established his bad intentions at the opening bell. He jumped on Vargas, landing combinations on the inside, forcing the gentleman boxer into a dogfight. The kid landed a few jabs and nice counter left hook in round one, but the old pro treated his body like a heavy bag. Bradley landed a hard right at the bell to let everyone know what was to come.

Between rounds one and two, Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz told him, “That’s the best he has. You’ve got to break him. Apply pressure.”

The fight heated up in round two. Vargas had come to fight after all. His left hook found the range. His right hand was landing to the head and body. Bradley was doing some nice work as well. It was turning into a closer fight than the first round suggested.

In the first two rounds, Bradley connected with 31 of 106 total punches thrown. Vargas landed 27 of 115.

Round three was close. Bradley commenced hostilities with a nice uppercut. Vargas connected with two right hands in quick succession. They traded punches, landing some and missing others, but Vargas landed a big right with 10 seconds left that may have given him the round, even though each fighter landed 17 punches.

Between rounds Morales told Vargas, “You’re more intelligent than he is. You’re longer than he is. You see what happens when you land. Press him.”

Vargas did just enough in round four to keep it competitive. Bradley, by contrast, was giving it his all and then some. Lefts and rights to the head and body were starting to take their toll. Vargas was still in it. He landed a sweet right hand counter midway through the round, and a short left hook with a minute left. But the whirlwind landed a body shot with five seconds remaining to pocket another round and extend his lead.

Bradley landed 24 of 61 punches to 21 of 51 for Vargas in the fourth.

The fade started in round five, almost imperceptibly at first, and extended into the championship rounds. It wasn’t quite all Bradley all the time, but his persistence, his pressure, his nonstop punching was paying off in a big way. Vargas was tentative. He was moving backward. He failed to initiate. His confidence was ebbing. He looked like a novice fighting a future hall of famer.

Going into the 11th, Bradley was ahead on all the scorecards. But he had a cut on his left eyelid, the left side of his face has begun to swell, and after exerting so much energy for so many rounds, he was losing his mojo. Vargas took advantage of the lack of incoming fire and succeeded in giving Bradley a dose of his own medicine. He had won only one or two rounds, but he was suddenly brimming with confidence.

After 11 rounds of fighting, Bradley had landed 220 punches to 189 for Vargas, but it looked, at least for the moment, especially after Vargas won the 11th, that the final round might be decisive.

Vargas connected with hard left. Bradley came back with two combinations. Both fighters were tired. Both fighters were spent. But it looked like Bradley had done enough, was doing enough to win the round and fight. Then, from out of nowhere, with 20 seconds left in the round, Vargas landed a thunderous right that exploded on Bradley’s chin. He didn’t go down, a testament to his fortitude, but Bradley was hurt and hurt bad. He slid along the ropes on rubbery legs to avoid the coup-de-grace. Vargas hunted him down and connected with two body shots. Bradley was in survival mode. He grabbed hold of Vargas. As Pat Russell broke them up, the timekeeper’s 10-second warning clacked, and the ref, to the astonishment of everyone, waved off the fight.

Vargas jumped on the turnbuckle to celebrate his come-from-behind victory. Bradley stood there with his hands at his sides, dumbfounded at his bad luck. Pat Russell, meanwhile, was talking heatedly with the ringside officials, explaining that he mistook the 10-second warning for the final bell. With all hell breaking loose around them, order was restored and it went to the judges, who correctly scored the fight for Bradley.

Pat Russell, to his credit, didn’t run from the arena and hide. Instead, he more or less came clean.

“It was very loud in that 12th round,” he said, “and I thought I heard the bell. I sounded like the bell to me. So the fight was over when the bell went off. I made the call that I made based on what I heard. That’s all I can say. It was an honest call on an honest issue.”

Rather than explore the sonic properties of clack-clack versus gong, maybe we should listen to the winner.

“He caught me with a good shot at the end,” said Bradley. “The ref thought he heard the bell. I was good. I could have maintained. I grabbed a hold to him toward the end of the fight. If you look at the review, I was squeezing him so tight, like his mama was hugging him. Hey, it was a great shot. He caught me. But I would have finished, I ain’t gonna lie, with 10 seconds left. Even if the ref had let it go some more, I would have grabbed hold to him again. I’m an experienced fighter. I know what I’m doing in there. I’ll give him a rematch. No problem. When I was coming forward he caught me with that overhand right over the top. He snuck it over, hurt me, but you know, I could have continued. Hey, c’mon. I survived Provodnikov. C’mon.”

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  1. bikermike 03:27pm, 07/03/2015

    why is 67 yr old gentleman assigned to referee this match.??
    Is this assigned by seniority…??

  2. bikermike 03:23pm, 07/03/2015

    ..as I’;ve said…Bradley ain’t no knockout threat…!!

    But he is a well prepared and skilled tuff little fukr…........by now ..folks have to admit he can take a punch…...

    He is the guy to beat today….and he should cash in , while he can.
    Last six fights are with tuff mfkrs..and here he is…

  3. bikermike 03:15pm, 07/03/2015

    Timothy Bradley is not given the respect he is due

  4. bikermike 03:13pm, 07/03/2015

    don’t know how many of you guys have been ‘put to sleep’...

    My experiences are limited to amateur/‘pro try out foot ball ......traffic accidents…and a few inside/outside fisticuffs…

    I could not continue with my strategy ...smash opponent’s fists/feet/elbows…with my face…..

  5. bikermike 03:00pm, 07/03/2015

    no disrespect to Rhonda….

    But my first year in university…was helped by a nice lady named Rhonda…..she liked to be wild in the men’s washroom…..I was lost like a slave that no man could free…

  6. bikermike 02:45pm, 07/03/2015

    ...it was obvious that the provodnikof match was to show that Bradley was capable of ...STAND MY GROUND….and did the toe to toe thing…and just about got his head taken off by the RUssian…..and blasted into the fifteenth row…..
    Bradley took the blows…..and still out pointed Provodnikof…...Bradley is not a slugger..but he followed his fight plan…and damned near got put to sleep[..with that tuff russian….....Blakney beat pacman…on points…..and pac was distracted by domestic..political..and financial ongoing matters….
    Pacquaio did not arrive in top form…....and was constantly beaten to the punch…...Manny lost that fight…much to the distress of his fans

  7. bikermike 02:27pm, 07/03/2015

    body shots are what makes a fighter drop his gloves…elbows…to protect his ribs…kidneys..and like that…
    The body shots keep an opponent from drifting around the ring..and landing hummingbird combinations…
    Body shots set up a fighter….
    i was in over my head….in an amateur situation…..and when my opponent nailed me ....time and again…with hard body shots…...i became wary….

    nailed him with some head butts..and two to the pills…..lucky to lose that one on points

  8. bikermike 02:16pm, 07/03/2015

    Robert Ecksel is an author worth reading…...good research…..good slant

  9. bikermike 02:09pm, 07/03/2015

    who can say what may have happened in the last seven seconds…........a rematch will tell the tale

  10. bikermike 02:02pm, 07/03/2015


  11. bikermike 01:44pm, 07/03/2015

    I don’t know about you guys….but I used to like to fight…both in and out of the ring….
    I lost some…inside and outside the ring.
    ...but the ones I was happy about…were the ones where I was supposed to be done…..because of punishment…..and I still managed to keep on….keepn’ on…
    when the other guy quits….I’,m marking that one as a win

    Just like when that time when a cupla ladies beat me…while I was distracted…lost an ear on that one
    Canadian broads are plenty tough

  12. bikermike 01:35pm, 07/03/2015

    Bradley was ...about sixteen hundred points ahead…OK…(exaggerated of course)

    Vargas threw…and landed the ‘HAIL MARY’ overhand right…and damned near took Bradley’s   lower jaw off!!



  13. bikermike 01:23pm, 07/03/2015

    ...unlike RJJ…..Bradley can take a punch..
    Guy is tougher than boiled whale shit

  14. bikermike 01:20pm, 07/03/2015

    Bradley is ..by his own words…willing to give Vargas ..a rematch…and that will be worth a PPV..just because of that…
    Vargas is much richer for both fights…like some others who got a rematch…you guys can name them….
    start with Jersey Joe Walcott…

  15. bikermike 01:11pm, 07/03/2015

    IRISH FRANKIE….AND OLD YANK…have the situation bracketed!!

    Look….TIMOTHY BRADLEY is a good boxer…real good.
    He is not a good slugger…..but neither was Pepp…nor some others…...but by the circumsized shafts of passion….these guys could fight.
    Bradley has done well for his last six fights…...all against top guys.
    None of these ‘top guys” could lay a glove on him.

    Vargas…about sixty seven points behind…lands a great right hand….with everything behind it..
    rocks Bradley…..but Bradley neither goes down….nor fails to defend hiimself…
    Referee takes away the last seven seconds….by mistake.

  16. SweetScience 07:35pm, 06/28/2015

    I agree he had some faculties while being half asleep on his feet, but we are still all forgetting to mention the massive body shot that hit him as russel broke them up (boke them up late of course). The body shot surprised him and he buckled over with eyes popping out his head. I think that body blow was the actual open gate for a one punch KO to follow, if he was allotted the time to (vargas). Bradley has a chin, but there arent chins in the gut. That body blow, in connection with the overhand right is a lethal combo

  17. SweetScience 07:28pm, 06/28/2015

    Hey… Wait… Bradley didnt go down vs provodnikov? He actually went down bigtime! He got knocked doen earley, often… One of the knockdowns, he “stood up” only to flail across the entire ring and fell right on his face! It was actually one of the drunkest knockdowns outside of a rocky film!

  18. Koolz 05:27pm, 06/28/2015

    Well Bradley sure likes to get smacked in the head by Huge Shots!
    So why is he calling out a fighter that would KO him in 3 rounds at 160!
    It’s called boxing not brain damage.
    A lot of Bradley’s fights are controversial.  Bad luck , Bad timing….
    I think Vargas could have got him out of there in the end.

  19. Old Yank 03:23pm, 06/28/2015

    Pat Russell needs to go! If he can’t tell the difference between a thump for the ten second warning and a bell, he’s SHOT!

    There is NO NEED to jeopardize the outcome of a bout over a man who can’t hear! There are plenty of refs who are up for the championship-level task physically, mentally and skill wise.

    Pat…see you later!

  20. Pete The Sneak 03:20pm, 06/28/2015

    Not a big Bradley Fan, but the SOB got a helluva chin…That was some shot he took shot from Vargas and he’s correct, he took some hellacious shots from Provo as well and didn’t go down. Would definitely like to see a rematch of this fight, and hopefully Vargas won’t wait so long to start connecting with some big shots…Peace.

  21. Eric 11:24am, 06/28/2015

    Bradley is one tough hombre. Enjoy watching his fights.

  22. Kidd Kulangot GirlGago 11:17am, 06/28/2015

    Bradley was clearly but hurt but still had his faculties. Had his hands up, blocked a couple of shots then grabbed & held Vargas. Tim The Noogie clearly won the fight.
    Thank goodness ref. Kenny BrainLess did not ref the fight but he was a judge i believe.
    I saw him at ringside doing some scoring. He was probably scribbling, drawing & daydreaming that he was making passionate love with Floyd JailWeather Jr.

  23. AKT 11:09am, 06/28/2015

    @FranklinDallas wow! Sounds like Rhonda’s got competition!

  24. KB 08:29am, 06/28/2015

    Great write up Robert

  25. FrankinDallas 06:45am, 06/28/2015

    I don’t get it…Bradley has muscles everywhere but can’t crack an egg,
    whereas my skinny little wife can KO me 9 times out of 10.

  26. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:25am, 06/28/2015

    Pat Russell, who celebrated his 67th birthday on June 4 had a brain fart which comes with the territory…..it’s one thing when an old bugger like myself can’t remember where he put his glasses but this is an entirely different matter….it’s a matter of life and death inside that ring….the POD Index won’t help with this kinda’ shit either.

  27. Norm Marcus 05:32am, 06/28/2015

    I saw this fight before didn’t I ? Bradley all spent and swelling up and then a surprise ending!
    At least this time he didn’t have to go to tbe hospital again. I always thought the loser goes to the hospital? Well maybe in reality the loser did!
    Well anyway Bradley should change his ring name from “Desert Storm” to “The Thief” fits his record better. He is the luckiest guy in the world.
    Vargas isn’t quite there yet but he still made it close at the end. Hope to see more of him and less of Bradley in the future.

  28. glen 05:29am, 06/28/2015

    IT was a good fight. But Arum was certainly not happy about cause Bradley spoiled Vargas-Pacquiao that Arum was trying to sell.

  29. SweetScience 11:35pm, 06/27/2015

    It was crazy to watch. Ya already know what everyone will say. That bradley won and he survived provodnikov and even with a knockdown he would survive and was fhe winner. But! Not saying this as a definitive certainty for Varag, but what alot of people are missing here, it wasnt just a hard right. Bradley was dead on his feet. He looked real bad. He says he was blocking n countering but he was drunk, and bad. A few more vargas punches and bradley looked more and more confused, even when he clinched. The clinch also shoulda been broken sooner by russell! But as they broke, something that no one has brought up, Vargas landed a body gut shot that made bradley buckle over as if to vomit. Yes, kellerman says there was only 7 sec. left when it ended, but there were alot of seconds taken away by an extended hug, and the confusion before And after it. With that body shot, one more punch, bradley was down for real. Even with 7 seconds, vargas had a true opportunity. To me, it was more like 10+ sec. Remaining at the stopping point due to slow breaks and confusion by russell. Bradley won up till this point, and with the blunder deserves the win. I just think vargas had even more of a chance to knock him out than it even seems. That final body blow was more thunderous than the overhand right that blew bradleys whole night up. Honestly, there will be a rematch. Vargas looked tentative throughout many rounds. Like he didnt quite know how to initiate. Bradley has learned moves from pacquiao’s odd angles, provodnikov’s power, chaves’s dirty fury, etc etc. He showed that tonight. But what vargas has learned tonight in this loss, makes the rematch much more fun sounding than it seems…

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