Having served as a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao, and having lost by unanimous decision in a battle of attrition with WBO welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley, Russian Ruslan Provodnikov has a measure of respect for both fighters.
To that end, the rugged Provodnikov (22-2, 15 knockouts) informed RingTV.com that he is rooting for Pacquiao and Bradley to win their upcoming bouts.
Bradley, who rose from a 12th-round knockdown to defeat Provodnikov in defense of the belt he won by split-decision over Pacquiao in June, will face four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez, who knocked out Pacquiao in December.
Meanwhile, Pacquiao will try to rebound from his consecutive losses in a 147-pound, non-title matchup against rising junior welterweight Brandon Rios on Nov. 23 in Macau (Nov. 24 in the western hemisphere).
“When you go through a fight like Tim and I went through, and we both give it all that we have, and it’s a clean fight without anything dirty, you just gain a lot of respect for the guy that you fought,” said Provodnikov, through his manager and translator, Vadim Kornilov
“None of us knows who is going to win, but I will be rooting for Timothy Bradley, because we became a lot closer after our fight. Without question, I’ll also be rooting for Manny. I want him to make a great comeback here and I want him to win that fight against Rios.”
In the meantime, Provodnikov is in Denver, where he will be trained by Freddie Roach in preparation for upcoming rival Mike Alvarado (34-1, 23 KOs) on Oct. 19 for Alvarado’s WBO 140-pound belt. Alvarado was last in the ring for a unanimous decision win over Rios.
OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST ANTHONY JOSHUA DEBUTS WITH FIRST-ROUND KNOCKOUT
Heavyweight Anthony Joshua, Britain’s 2012 Olympic gold medalist, made his professional debut with Saturday’s first-round stoppage of Italy’s Emanuele Leo (8-1, 3 KOs) on a card that included a junior featherweight clash that ended with WBA beltholder Scott Quigg battling to a draw with Cuban Yoandris Salinas.
Also on the card, promoted by Matchroom Sport, lightweight Kevin Mitchell scored a sixth-round knockout of Marco Lopez, featherweight Lee Selby earned a unanimous decision over Ryan Walsh, and lightweight Luke Campbell, a 2012 Olympic bantamweight gold medalist for Britain, came up with his second first-round knockout against Neil Hepper.
ABEL SANCHEZ: GENNADY GOLOVKIN WOULD FACE FLOYD MAYWEATHER, MIGUEL COTTO
Mayweather, who unanimously decisioned Cotto following an entertaining clash in May of last year, is coming off last month’s unanimous decision over Canelo Alvarez.
Meanwhile, Cotto easily dismantled Delvin Rodriguez for Saturday’s third-round knockout, prompting ringside media to bring up Cotto as a possibility for bouts with Mayweather and Alvarez. Others like a matchup between Cotto and RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez.
But trainer Abel Sanchez would like to see his fighter, Gennady Golovkin (27-0, 24 KOs), thrown into the mix, should the WBA middleweight titleholder get beyond his Nov. 2 defense against Curtis “Showtime” Stevens (25-3, 18 KOs) on HBO.
“Gennady came into camp weighing 167 before training, so it would be just a matter of getting enough time to get down to 154,” Sanchez said of Golovkin, who will pursue his 15th straight knockout win against Stevens.
“If you were to tell me about it eight weeks before the fight, then, obviously, we would start losing some of the weight that we have to earlier, and that way we could stabilize at four weeks out. It’s just a matter of having the time to do it.”
Sanchez said another hurdle would be the rivalry between the networks, Showtime, which has Mayweather, and HBO, which has Golovkin.
“If anybody can make this feud between Showtime and HBO work for at least one fight that would generate the kind of revenue that Floyd is used to, then it’s Floyd,” said Sanchez. “He’s really the strongest person in boxing as far as doing what he wants to do and clearly calling the shots. Floyd’s the man that can do it.”
Also on the Golovkin-Stevens card at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden are hard-hitting heavyweights Magomed Abdusalamov and Mike Perez, and welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison against Josh “Pitbull” Torres.
MIKE TYSON TOUTS HERNANDEZ-HARRISON
In a letter defending his move to get Lubin, Tyson mentioned the 19-year-old Hernandez-Harrison as “a young fighter,” who, “turned pro at 17,” and “also attends a local college.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]