"It was a very close fight," Roach said. "Bradley had some good rounds also, but I thought we had at least three 10-8 rounds in there. I can't complain about a close loss, but I felt that we had bigger punches."
Bradley finally got his legs in the third round and began fighting with more strategy and caution. It all disappeared again in the final minute of the sixth round, when Provodnikov tempted Bradley into a vicious brawl featuring dozens of punches with both hands from both fighters, leaving Bradley defiantly spitting blood while yelling at Provodnikov after the bell.
Provodnikov again attempted to force the action, but Bradley backpedaled and picked him apart, causing cuts and swelling across his face. Bradley opened a serious cut near Provodnikov's left eye, leaving the challenger apparently fighting on will.
But Provodnikov rallied for one last assault in the 12th round, and Bradley repeatedly staggered backward and bounced off the ropes. With Provodnikov desperately pressing forward, Bradley bent down and took a knee while the clapper sounded for the final 10 seconds of the round, allowing Bradley to barely make it to the bell.
"I'm just really proud of my guy right now," Roach said. "He's crying in the dressing room. I told him, 'Go ahead, cry. At least you care.' I think he made himself a star in America and Russia tonight. People like fights like that. I know I do."
Earlier, welterweight Jessie Vargas (22-0) recovered from an early knockdown and won a unanimous decision over Wale Omotoso (23-1) in an entertaining undercard bout at the Home Depot Center.
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