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Ruslan Provodnikov insists Juan Manuel Marquez is scared, Pacquiao faces uphill battle

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Recently-crowned WBO Jr Welterweight Champion Ruslan Provodnikov (23-2, 16 KOs) and his team are obsessed with getting Juan Manuel Marquez in the ring. Less than 96 hours after Ruslan's title-taking effort against Mike Alvarado in October, Vadim Kornilov, Ruslan's manager, made no mistake about who he thought Ruslan's next opponent should be.

"...We want Juan Manuel Marquez."

"We heard, Marquez said his main aim is to get a rematch with (Timothy) Bradley, cause he was "robbed" there."

"In all honesty, I think it's just a way to get far-far away from Ruslan. Marquez lost almost all of the rounds against Bradley [so] there should be no rematch."

Provodnikov, after Pacquiao vs Bradley 2 was announced, told BoxingScene:

"Marquez now knows that Bradley is not fighting him until maybe the end of the year and Marquez is not getting any younger, so I know that the only possible pay-per-view fight for Marquez that will draw is against me, and if he doesn't agree to the fight now I am sure he is just afraid of me."

Stylistically, Marquez vs Provodnikov would be a hair-raising shootout. Unlike Tim Bradley, who employs crafty footwork and is extremely elusive defensively, Provodnikov would accommodate Marquez by pressuring the Mexican and uncorking bombs, allowing Marquez to do what he does best which is counterpunch.

Marquez, however, has been abundantly clear about two things:
a) he will not fight Manny Pacquiao again and
b) he has his sights solely set on winning a major world title at welterweight.

If Marquez keeps his word (and there's no reason to believe he will budge), Marquez vs Provodnikov can only realistically happen if Bradley defeats Pacquiao in April and Ruslan subsequently jaunts seven pounds north to welterweight and is successful in lifting Bradley's title sometime this fall.

So what did Provodnikov have to say about the Bradley vs Pacquiao rematch?

"I think that the Pacquiao versus Bradley rematch will be interesting but it might be very similar to their first fight."

"Unless Manny decides to be more aggressive and take risks, it will be hard for him to defeat Tim Bradley on the scorecards."

"I am very relieved that the fight for Manny is finally finalized. I am glad that in my next fight I will have my trainer Freddie Roach and the rest of my team in my corner, that is very, very important to me," the Russian concluded.


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