Naazim Richardson feels that Manny Pacquiao would ‘beat up’ Ruslan Provodnikov and sway the judges in a Bradley rematch

Manny Pacquiao celebrating in the ring (Photo: Chris Farina – Top Rank)

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By Chris Robinson

Coming off of a successful outing against Brandon Rios on Nov. 23, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is slated for an April return to the ring in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao’s unanimous decision victory over Rios last month in Macau, China proved that his heart is still very much in the game following his horrific knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez a year ago.

A recent conversation with Top Rank promoter Bob Arum revealed that there are three names in the mix for Pacquiao’s April return; Marquez, Tim Bradley, and Ruslan Provodnikov.

Bradley won a controversial split-decision over Pacquiao in June of last year. Given the backlash that followed his victory, Richardson feels another close fight could spell bad news for the Palm Springs fighter.

“I think Pacquiao is going to have a tough time with Tim,” Richardson claimed. “I don’t like it for Tim, because it’s going to be a close fight and more than likely they’re going to take it from Tim if it’s a close fight. Time can’t beat him in a close fight this time.”

Provodnikov is coming off of a breakout year that saw him engage Bradley in a life-and-death battle before dropping a close decision while returning last month to stop Mike Alvarado after ten heated rounds.

“The Russian is a beast,” Richardson said respectfully of Provodnikov. “He gets beat up by Pacquiao. Nobody walking in like that is going to beat Pacquiao. He’d get beat up.”

Richardson then highlighted how a technical assassin like Marquez, who starched Pacquiao with a counter-right hand in the sixth round of their fourth meeting, differs from a straightforward banger like Provodnikov.

“Marquez is an exceptional fighter with exceptional timing,” Richardson noted. “Marquez is one of the rare things that have come along in the history of the sport. Marquez is one of those rare fighters who can do what we teach every fighter not to do; look for the shot. Marquez has that gift where he can literally look for the shot.

“The Russian, especially with Pacquiao knowing him and being familiar with him, [he] picks the Russian apart,” Richardson added.

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Chris Robinson can be reached at

Chris Robinson can be reached at

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