Q&A: Ruslan Provodnikov talks fights with Pacquiao, Marquez, Bradley
Although Koncz has hinted at other options, preliminary speculation is that Pacquiao is focused primarily on Provodnikov or WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley, who won his belt by split-decision over Pacquiao in June of 2012.
Pacquiao, who turned 35 in December, is coming off November's unanimous decision over former 140-pound titleholder Brandon Rios. In victory, Pacquiao rebounded from having suffered a sixth-round stoppage loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in December of that year.
Former junior bantamweight and bantamweight titleholder Gerry Penalosa, a close friend to Pacquiao, told RingTV.com's Ryan Songalia that he is "200 percent" sure Pacquiao will take a rematch with Bradley for his next fight.
A Pacquiao-Provodnikov bout is something that trainer Freddie Roach does not want, given that he works with both fighters. If a Pacquiao-Provodnikov bout was to happen, however, it would have to come at no small price for Provodnikov, who would have to find another trainer.
"In this fight, mental factors would play a big role. I would have my trainer Freddie Roach in the other corner," said Provodnikov, of a bout against Pacquiao. "I've said before I never wanted to take a fight without him, and now he's on the other side of the ring. Manny and I would have a great fight. I think that's why everybody wants to see it. It's a dangerous fight for both of us."
Roach was not on the scene during Provodnikov's win over Alvarado, but instead was in General Santos City Philippines, preparing Pacquiao for Rios. In Roach's absence, Provodnikov took direction from assistant Marvin Somodio, whose instructions where translated by Provodnikov's manager, Vadim Kornilov.
"I am a great aggressor and brawler. Marquez is a great counter-puncher," said Provodnikov. "This fight would be dangerous for both of us. I would have to be careful with my aggression more that in my previous fights. "
Arum said, however, that a Marquez-Provodnikov fight is unlikely given the amount of money it would take to land Marquez, who has been on HBO pay per view for three of his four bouts with Pacquiao as well as for his split-decision loss to Bradley in October.
"Marquez is a pay per view fighter. If Provodnikov wants to fight Marquez, then who is going to finance the fight?" said Arum, adding that he was in Las Vegas and planned to speak with the Provodnikov camp over the weekend.
"Marquez is going to want Marquez money, and for Marquez-Provodnikov, there is a limited number that it would do on pay per view. If Artie says, Provodnikov wants to fight Marquez, then fine. Who is coming up with the money?"
Provodnikov, who turns 30 on Jan. 20, scored two knockdowns during a 10th-round stoppage of Mike Alvarado, from whom he earned the WBO's junior welterweight title in October. Prior to Alvarado, Provodnikov scored a 12th-round knockdown during a unanimous decision loss to Bradley in March.
Provodnikov shared his thoughts with RingTV.com In this Q&A translated by Kornilov.
RTV: What has your life been like as the champion?
Ruslan Provodnikov: Not much has changed for me personally. I feel about the same. We are talking about different fights now, which makes me happy.
RTV: Are you married, do you have any children?
RP: Yes, I'm married to Natalia, and we have a child whose name is Ivan. I'm bringing my family to Los Angeles tomorrow. It will be the first time they come to the United States.
RTV: If you do face Marquez, do you believe that it will be in defense of your title?
RP: Yes I think if it would happen it would probably be defending my title.
RTV: What is the likelihood that you will face Pacquiao instead of Marquez?
RP: There is a chance that this might happen if Marquez doesn't come forward and actually say that he wants to fight me. I can't take a chance of being left without a tough opponent. I only want to fight the best.
RTV: What are the considerations for whether or not a Marquez fight takes place?
RP: Marquez has to at least make some initiative or show that he wants the fight. He has been completely quiet on the issue.
RTV: What are the considerations for a Pacquiao fight to take place, and would that likely take place at 147 pounds?
RP: Yes I think the fight would take place at 147 if I am left without any other choice.
RTV: What do you think that it would take to make a rematch with Bradley?
RP: I think it can happen in the future, but I think it would have to be [either] a lot of money for Timothy, or if he's left with no other options but to fight me.
RTV: Can you break down a fight between yourself and Marquez?
RP: I am a great aggressor and brawler. Marquez is a great counter-puncher. This fight would be dangerous for both of us. I would have to be careful with my aggression more that in my previous fights.
RingTV.com: Can you break down a fight between yourself and Pacquiao?
RP: In this fight, mental factors would play a big role. I would have my trainer Freddie Roach in the other corner. I've said before I never wanted to take a fight without him, and now he's on the other side of the ring. Manny and I would have a great fight. I think that's why everybody wants to see it. It's a dangerous fight for both of us.
Photo / Chris Farina-Top Rank