Timothy Bradley overcame an early beating and a 12th-round knockdown to win a narrow unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov on Saturday night, defending his WBO welterweight belt in dramatic style.
Bradley (30-0) barely survived a thriller with the unheralded Provodnikov (22-2) in the champion's first bout since beating Manny Pacquiao in a much-debated split decision last June.
Bradley appeared to be out on his feet at times the first two rounds against his Russian challenger, even tumbling to the canvas in a fall that was ruled an accidental slip. Bradley then was forced to take a knee with 10 seconds left in the 12th round after one last barrage from Provodnikov.
''I gave it everything I had,'' Bradley said. ''Every ounce I had, I gave.''
But Bradley also punished Provodnikov with multiple shots all night, causing huge cuts and swelling on the face of the ''Siberian Rocky,'' who excelled in the biggest fight of his career.
Judges Marty Denkin and Jerry Cantu scored the bo...