MANILA, Philippines – WBO light welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov believes he has a solid chance of defeating Manny Pacquiao if they ever meet in the ring.
Provodnikov is among those being considered for Pacquiao’s next fight on April 12 in Las Vegas, and although the Filipino is likely to opt for a rematch with Timothy Bradley, the Russian isn’t closing the doors on a showdown between him and Pacquiao.
He was at first apprehensive to fight Pacquiao, whom he considers as a friend, but has later changed his stance and understood that business aspect of boxing.
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“First, there is nothing wrong with this [fight], it's business. Boxing history has shown us many examples where best friends go out and fight each other,” Provodnikov said in a report by Russia Beyond The Headlines.
“Although we can't really call ourselves [best friends] with Manny – we were friends – we knew each other and we were always talking when we met,” he added.
A known pressure fighter, Provodnikov almost knocked Bradley out during their fight in March last year but ran out of time. He decked Bradley in the 12th round but couldn’t finish him off, and the undefeated American escaped with a decision win.
Still, Provodnikov made a case for himself as a potential foe for Pacquiao, and after witnessing the Filipino’s performance against Brandon Rios last November, has expressed optimism on his chances against the fighting congressman.
“In that fight [with Rios], Manny showed that I have a good chance [to win]," said Provodnikov, who is also trained by Freddie Roach.
He had earlier voiced out his preference to take only big fights, and a duel with Pacquiao certainly fits his criteria.