By Miguel Maravilla
Photos: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Only three days to go until the welterweight showdown between WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley Jr. (29-0, 12 KOs) of Palm Springs, California and Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KOs). The two fighters met Wednesday afternoon for the final press conference at the Conga Room at LA Live in Downtown Los Angeles. They will square off Saturday night at the Home Depot Center.
“Ruslan exemplifies what boxing is about Tim Bradley is pound for pound an elite fighter. This is what makes the fight,” Top Rank President Todd duBoef said opening the festivities.
Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz then spoke about his fighter and their preparation. “We are back. Everything has been said since they announced the fight. We are here to show what we worked for. Tim Bradley prepares himself really well for every fight. He makes my job very easy. I thank him and his family for believing in me. I want to thank Ruslan for coming into the picture when we didn’t have an opponent he stepped in. He is a strong fighter. We prepare for every fight really well. Saturday will be a great fight. You will see a different Tim Bradley.”
Shortly after it was the fighters turn to speak as they are ready for Saturday night. First to come up was the Russian fighter introduced by his promoter Artie Pellulo of Banner Promotions.
“I don’t want to say too much. During training for this fight a lot has been said already. I am ready for Saturday,” Provodnikov said in Russian.
Then it was time for the champ to speak.
“Ruslan Provodnikov is a tough opponent. A lot of you are saying ‘aaaah he’s tough but he’s not well known, yadayada.’ It’s a tough challenge I’m facing Saturday night. I trained like no other. This has been one of my best camps. This camp was actually better than the Pacquiao camp. I feel strong, I feel fast, I feel like I’m ready to take on anybody,” Bradley said.
Bradley acknowledged his promoter, Hall of Famer Bob Arum. “What up Bob? How are you doing? I haven’t seen you in a while, where you have been?
“It will be an exciting night. This is going to be a fight to remember. Toe-to-toe, however long it lasts, I’m gonna get the job done. That’s what I do. I win. That’s one thing you can always write about me: This kid can fight and he can win. So that’s a good thing you can write about. Other than that I will see you at the fight it will be an explosive night,” Bradley concluded.
Fightnews.com spoke to both fighters after the press conference ended.
Ruslan Provodnikov: “Some people are saying that he will punch much harder. We will see March 16 how hard he will punch. I am happy and ready for the fight. Training went well. There will be people flying in from Russia and locals coming to the fight. Like always, you will see a great show from me because that’s what they expect from me. I always think of my fans and make sure they get an exciting fight.”
Timothy Bradley: “It’s my first fight back from the Pacquiao fight and time to silence some critics. You just watch. You will hear those shots from ringside that are solid and hard. Everyone will be saying ‘ooh, aah’ all night. I promise you will have fun watching me.”
Vargas vs. Omotoso
Also in attendance at Wednesday’s press conference were the unbeaten welterweights who will collide the highly anticipated co-main event. Jessie Vargas (21-0, 8 KOs) will take on Wale “Lucky Boy” Amotoso (23-0, 19 KOs) in a ten round crossroads fight. The winner is a potential challenger for the winner of the main event.
“We have had a great training camp,” said Vargas. We’ve been ready for March 16 since December. Things were done different this camp taking it to another level because I know this fight is important. We are both undefeated and don’t want to lose. We’re ready for this fight and can’t wait for Saturday night. It will be a great matchup!”
Omotoso stated, “I want to thank Top Rank and HBO. I call myself Lucky Boy, that is the main reason why. I want to thank Jessie Vargas and his team for taking the fight. We are putting our undefeated on the line it will be war! He don’t want to lose. I don’t want to lose. I’m ready. I am not going there and let him punch me like a bag. That shit is not going to happen. I can’t wait for Saturday!”
Two-Time Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez in Action
Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez (2-0, 2KOs), who will also be in action, spoke at Wednesday’s press conference on his upcoming fight. Valdez is managed by Frank Espinoza who currently manages champions Abner Mares and Daniel Ponce de Leon, as well as contenders Carlos Molina, Ronny Rios, Luis Ramos Jr. He has also guided the careers of former champions Martin Castillo and Israel Vasquez. Valdez looks to be Espinoza’s next blue chip prospect.
“I can’t wait to go into the ring and give my best,” said Valdez. “It’s been two months. I am really excited. I’m trying new things now and adapting to this pro style, it’s really exciting. I look to get back in the ring to be a top prospect.”
Espinoza added, “Not only does Oscar Valdez have God-given talent to be world champion, he has the attitude, desire and dedication that will make him a star. On March 16 at the Home Depot Center, Oscar will demonstrate what the buzz is all about. You want to see a star in the making? Don’t miss Oscar Valdez. Watch him once I guarantee you’ll be a fan for life.”
Follow me on Twitter @MigMaravilla