LAS VEGAS – If Tim Bradley struggled against the power of Ruslan Provodnikov, imagine how he’ll try to cope with the power and speed of vengeful Manny Pacquiao when they meet at the MGM Grand again this weekend.
“It’s tough when you go up against a guy throwing a ton of punches and really fast,” said Justine Fortune, the strength and conditioning coach who is reunited with the Filipino boxing sensation after a split in 2007.
Bradley retained his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight belt in February last year following a unanimous decision over the hard-hitting Provodnikov, but not after going through hell for the entire 12 rounds, including suffering a knockdown in the final seconds of the last round.
Fortune pointed out how the young Russian battered the 30-year-old champion.
“Bradley got punished by Ruslan. And that does more damage than a one-punch knockout,” he said, obviously referring to the sixth-round stunning knockout Pacquiao suffered at the hands of Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez. “He doesn’t even remember the second round to the 12th. He doesn’t remember the fight.”
And compared to Pacquiao, Provodnikov is definitely a step slower, according to Fortune.
“That’s the problem so you know he took a beating. And Provodnikov is not a fast guy,” he added.
Yes, Bradley did beat Pacquiao under controversial circumstances in their first meeting in 2012, but Fortune believes the congressman from the province of Sarangani won it by eight rounds to four.
“Tim is a banger, but not a puncher,” the strength and conditioning coach from Australia said.
Don’t get him wrong, Fortune still expects the bout to be a competitive one.
“No fight is easy. It’s not going to be easy.”