By: Marc Livitz: The fight of his life is just two weeks away and he wishes it could take place tomorrow. Palm Springs, California native Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley strongly feels that the contest which is set to take place on June 9 at the MGM in Las Vegas is the opportunity of a lifetime and one that he will remember for all the right reasons. He will face not only one of the most famous athletes in the world in Manny Pacquiao (54(38)-3(2)-2), but also the admittedly welcomed role of underdog once he steps into the ring. Alongside his manager Cameron Dunkin and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, Bradley graciously participated in an informative international media conference call this afternoon from Indio, California.
Just as the HBO series “24/7” would suggest, undefeated junior welterweight champion Tim Bradley (28(12)-0) is very friendly and a true gentleman. He opened the call with a bit of gratitude towards those he feels have helped him achieve greatness in the sport of boxing. He will meet Pacquiao for the WBO Welterweight title.
“I’d like to thank God for this opportunity first and foremost. Of course, I have to thank my manager Cameron Dunkin, Bob Arum and everyone at Top Rank. I’m ready to take the throne. Once I close camp, I will have probably done almost 150 rounds of sparring. I’m in the greatest shape of my life; I should come in at around 144-145 pounds.”, said Bradley.
Earlier this week, Manny Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach took part in a conference call of their own and Roach dismissed Bradley’s chances at shaking up his fighter. Said Roach, “Bradley is not a good counter puncher and he comes forward. After watching lots of tape of Bradley, I am sure that we’ll be able to handle him.”
The question was put forth to “Desert Storm” in regard to what he took from such comments. Bradley was beyond candid.
“I don’t care what Freddie Roach says. He’s not in the ring fighting for Pacquiao. There’s really no secret to this. We are ready to take the title from the champion and to do that, you really have to take the fight to him. So, I really don’t care what Freddie Roach or anyone else says”.
Interestingly enough, Bradley’s last fight was on the undercard of Pacquiao’s third outing versus Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez. Timothy faced cagey veteran Joel Casamayor of Cuba in the fourth defense of his WBO light welterweight crown and dominated the bout en route to an eighth round TKO. He hoped that such a performance would quiet the naysayers who have consistently questioned his ability to put his opponents down for good. Bradley was quick to brazenly state the contrary.
Tim, “I just systematically break guys down. They say that I don’t have any power, but then they get in there with me and feel my strength. I take every punch away from them starting with their jab. Then I move on to their power hand. If I don’t feel threatened, then I’ll take it to them. I didn’t feel any power from Casamayor. Most can’t fight at a high pace like me. I’ll have to be smart against Pacquiao. He hits really hard with both hands. I may have to outbox him, but if he doesn’t hurt me, then I’ll take it to him.”
One of the amusing practices of Manny Pacquiao in recent years has been the planning and staging of his post fight parties and congratulatory concerts. Timothy Bradley has taken steps of his own to do just the same and feels in no way to be the dark horse of the contest.
“I’ve planned a party of my own. Why not? I’ve been on this course for the last four years. I’ve studied this guy for so long. You’ll see a great fight. I’m putting it all on the line. I’m not there for a paycheck or just to survive. I signed with Top Rank for that reason. They make the best fights and make sure that the champions face one another.”
Bradley’s adversary in the ring has been called hell to face. Tim has no concerns over Pacquiao’s devastating left hand and indicated that he’s ready to get up again and again should he taste a knockdown, which is something he has only experienced once in his professional career. “Desert Storm” was knocked to the canvas in the first round of his April 2009 meeting with Kendall Holt. Bradley went on to win by unanimous decision. He’ll be ready for whatever Pacquiao brings on June 9.
“I’ve been dealing with it in training and I’m not getting hit by it anymore. I’ll use great defense and footwork. I’m dialed in on that left hand. I don’t want to get hit. I have a really good chin and I’ve only been down once. You saw me get up and fight hard. I’ve been down there before and I know what it’s like. I’ll get up and always fight on.”
Tim further stated that he has dismissed the idea that Manny Pacquiao has lost a step or two in the ring based on his last few performances (versus Shane Mosley and Marquez, respectively) and that he is well aware of the public’s desire to see the “Pac Man” face Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
“Has he slowed down or lost a step? No. No way. The guy can still fight and he’s coming to take me out. The big fight is looming over him (with Mayweather), but he has me to deal with on the ninth. He’ll be at his best and know he’ll try to take me out early. I don’t care what he’s doing. If he climbed Mt. Everest or if he walked on water. It makes no difference to me. I am at my very best. It’s always a battle with myself and I am in the greatest condition of my life.”
Bradley acknowledges that personal problems or outside influences can indeed play a role in a fighter’s performance in the ring. Pacquiao blamed marital problems and other factors as contributors to his less than stellar showing against Juan Manuel Marquez. Said Tim, “I know it can affect a fighter in the ring, but you have to be mentally dialed in on what you need to do. I believe it. Then again, Marquez has the style that gives him fits and he just knows how to fight him. Marquez should have stepped up and he would have won, but he laid back and let Pacquiao control the rounds. That’s why he lost.”
The Palm Springs resident feels that he is ready for the day to come when he is staring down Pacquiao from across the ring. Furthermore, he is confident that he has what it takes to score the upset.
“He (Pacquiao) doesn’t fight well inside. He steps in and out on angles, comes in and then retreats. We’re aware of that and we just have to be ready. I’m a very schooled fighter. I know when to move, box or brawl. The increase in weight has actually made me faster than ever. I don’t know if I’ll knock him out, but I will have my hand raised at the end of the night. I’ll just try to feel him out and see what his best punches are. I can’t move too fast. I’ll try to read him through the first few rounds if I can.”
Headbutts have been an issue in many of Bradley’s fights. He genuinely hopes that his reputation as using his head of more than just thought processing will be one that he can put to rest for good. Bradley spoke of this.
“I’ve altered my preparations a little bit. We’ve worked on stepping in first before I lean into a shot. I don’t want this fight to end on a headbutt. I don’t want any excuses. The people who are buying the pay per view fights don’t want to see it end like that. When people pay to see you fight, you always need to put on a show. It won’t take away from my game plan. I’ll work the body and keep my head moving.”
Despite the heavily stacked odds against him, Timothy Bradley is ready to fight.
“I can’t wait. I’m sick of training. I’m ready to get it on, baby.”
May 25, 2012