Lem Satterfield

Ruslan Provodnikov: Juan Manuel Marquez ‘is afraid of me’

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While Ruslan Provodnikov is grateful to the Boxing Writers Association of America for naming his 12-round slugfest with Tim Bradley the "Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier" Fight of The Year, the "Siberian Rocky" remains hungry for a mega fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.

"I'm very happy and it's an honor. I want to thank Timothy Bradley," said Provodnikov, who scored a 12th-round knockdown during his unanimous decision loss to Bradley (31-0, 12 knockouts) in March. "Without him we would not achieve this acclaim, we did it together."

In addition, Freddie Roach, who trains Provodnikov as well as Manny Pacquiao, was named for sixth time as  the organization's winner of the "Eddie Futch" award for Trainer of The Year.

Roach guided Pacquiao to a comeback unanimous decision victory over Brandon Rios in November, this, after having been a major influence in Provodnikov's 10th-round stoppage win that dethroned Mike Alvarado as WBO 140-pound beltholder in October.

"I want to also congratulate my trainer Freddie Roach with his sixth trainer of the Year award and with our team getting fight of the year awards," said Provodnikov of Roach, who left Provodnikov to assistant Marvin Somodio against Alvarado as he traveled to General Santo City, Philippines, to train Pacquiao for Rios. "I want to thank you to all the members of my team, this year we will prove further that we deserve all this."

In victory over Provodnikov, (23-2, 16 KOs), who turned 30 on Jan. 20, Bradley defended the belt he won by split-decision over Pacquiao in June, and followed that up with a split-decision over Marquez in October.

Bradley has a rematch on April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against with Pacquiao, who was stopped in the sixth-round by Marquez in December of 2012.

With Bradley and Pacquiao tied up, Provodnikov wants Marquez, according to his manager, Vadim Kornilov.

"Now that Bradley and Pacquiao is made, Marquez does not have any other options as far as a pay per view fight. So, Ruslan says that if Marquez doesn't decide to fight Ruslan now, then he thinks that Marquez is just avoiding him and just afraid of him," said Kornilov.

"So now that Bradley and Pacquiao is done, Marquez can't continue to say that he's trying to wait for Bradley, because he would have to wait for a very long time, and considering his age, that's not helping him. If Marquez doesn't fight us, then we'll try to make the fight with Brandon Rios."

Provodnikov believes that a fight with Marquez, a four-division beltholder who turns 41 in August. 

"I think that Marquez and I will have the fight of the year in 2014. It doesn't matter who wins. We have both lost before. Boxing is not about always winning and not about titles. I know it's not an easy fight for either one of us, but we are not afraid to lose. We are not here to set winning streak records," said Provodnikov.

"We're here to give the fans the best fights they have ever seen in their lives, and that's what it's all about. I know Juan Manuel feels the same way I do deep down in his heart, and if he doesn't take the only available pay per view fight to him, which is against me, than I think he is afraid of me more than he should be."

The big honor went to pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. for The Sugar Ray Robinson award as the 2013 Fighter of the Year, with the BWAA honoring Al Haymon, the advisor to Mayweather and many other world-class boxers, as Manager of the Year.

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