“If you think about it, Tim Bradley is the most unlikely opponent for Pacquiao this summer,” opined Big Steve during our morning java at Starbucks on Alameda Avenue:” He is young and strong. He is skilled and agile and he is very hungry. He exudes confidence of undefeated fighter. And no one has ever heard of him. In short, Bradley is very high risk, low reward offer for Pacquiao.”
After a brief promotional tour to announce June 9th welterweight championship contest between pound for pound king, Manny Pacquiao and a former junior welterweight champion, Timothy Bradley, fighters went back to work or respective training camps. For Manny Pacquiao it starts at Baguio City in Philippines. For Timothy Bradley it starts and ends at Indio’s Boys and Girls Club in Indio.
“We don’t make no changes,” confirmed Bradley chief trainer, former fighter, Joel Diaz:” Everything is the same.”
What a difference a year makes, especially in a life of a prizefighter. Last year, following his convincing win over previously unbeaten Devon Alexander, Bradley’s career came to a screeching halt. Offered a major unification showdown with Amir Khan, Bradley decided to turn it down pending a resolution of conflict with his then promoter, Gary Shaw.
Manny, including his coach Diaz felt it was a wrong move. Bradley considered this a matter of principle. He cut ties with Gary Shaw and signed with Top Rank in hopes of someday being in sweepstakes to fight Manny Pacquiao. They say it’s better to be lucky than good. Bradley is both lucky and good. Manny Pacquiao ran out of big name opponents and here we are.
“Forget the biggest name,” exclaimed Bob arum of Top Rank after LA’s press conference:” Bradley is the most dangerous because he can match Manny for speed and for punch output. So Manny is going to have his hands full with Bradley.”
Even team Bradley is pleasantly surprised they got the call.
“I was surprised that we got this fight so soon,” confirmed coach, Diaz:” For some reason I really thought that we were going to get this fight, but not this soon.”
A champion at 140 pounds Bradley had to move up to welterweight division to face the best fighter on the planet, Manny Pacquiao. Some fighters lose speed and power moving up in weight. Would this be concern for Bradley?
“I don’t think it should be a problem,” replied Diaz:” he fought Carlos Abregu at 147. Abregu is an undefeated fighter, a heavy hitter. Tim at 147, he is a strong fighter. He is a very strong fighter. He makes 140 because he wants to, but some of his best fights in amateurs were at 152 and he fought some of the top amateurs in the world. I don’t think it’s going to be a disadvantage. I think he is going to be a strong fighter at 147.”
Team Bradley is very confident they are up to the challenge of facing the best. So what is the plan on handling Manny Pacquiao in the ring?
” The strategy is just to be very smart,” continued coach Diaz:” Stay smart and focused and don’t get lazy in that ring, because with Manny Pacquiao you got to be alert, alert a hundred percent, every second in that ring.”
But no matter how alert he is Bradley is going to hit by thunderous shots of Manny Pacquiao. Can Timothy Bradley take Manny punch and continue his own attack?
“Like I said, he is young, he is strong .He can take a punch,” replied Diaz: We are going to try to make Manny think a lot, because like I said Manny is unpredictable.” Making Pacquiao think in the ring worked very well for Juan Manuel Marquez. Could Bradley do even better?
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