Bradley looks ahead

When 2011 began, Timothy Bradley was primed to take his craft to the next level. The undefeated WBO light welterweight champion was set to face Devon Alexander for his WBC title with a plush HBO deal in place and the opportunity to prove his supremacy at 140lbs.

However, the fight with Alexander was far from the barnburner that fight fans wanted to see. Instead, Bradley walked away with an unsatisfying 10th round technical decision in a relatively inactive affair. Despite the win, Bradley wasn’t happy with his performance and even more dissatisfied with the prospects in front of him. In a bizarre sequence of moves, Bradley turned down a $1.4 million payday to face fellow titleholder Amir Khan on July 23rd, was stripped of his WBC title and was embroiled in a breach-of-contract lawsuit from his now former co-promoters Gary Shaw and Ken Thompson.

It was certainly a dark time for a fighter with such a bright career ahead of him.

But now Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) is seeing greener pastures as he has inked a deal with Bob Arum and Top Rank promotions and will face Joel Casamayor on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao – Juan Manuel Marquez PPV card on November 12th. The opportunity for Bradley to pick up the momentum that he built before the Alexander fight is detrimental to his boxing career. He knows that more eyes than ever will be watching him on November 12th and he must perform.

“It is very important for me to put on a great show,” Bradley told FightNews. “I wasn’t happy with the performance against Devon Alexander. I couldn’t make that guy fight and sometimes that happens.” Bradley cites the one-sided affairs that Manny Pacquiao faced against Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosley as well as the recent snoozer when Nonito Donaire couldn’t get Omar Narvaez to come out of his shell. The fighter known as “Desert Storm” understands that a dynamic performance on a night where fireworks are sure to be set off between Pacquiao and Marquez will thrust him into bigger fights. However, he’s also aware that he’s never been much of a knockout artist. Bradley has only finished eleven of his opponents out of his 27 wins and hasn’t scored a TKO since April 2007 when he stopped Nasser Athumani in the fifth round. Against the crafty, yet much older, Casamayor, Bradley promises not to fight out of character.

“I can’t go out there and try to be something that I’m not – to go for the knockout and get myself knocked out,” the 28-year-old says flatly. “I am going to follow the game plan and look spectacular and that’s what it’s going to boil down to. It is in the back of my head that I have to put on a great show because this is a great opportunity and I know that I will because I have prepared myself very well for this fight.”

An impressive victory will place Bradley in talks to face stiffer competition which will certainly provide a bigger payday. The names Mayweather and Pacquiao roll off of Bradley’s tongue when discussing what’s next, but he has also considered the unfinished business he has with Amir Khan. He also doesn’t want people to get his shrugging off the bout with Khan as some sort of fear; rather, this was a business move. As a matter fact, Bradley is quick to point out that Khan originally ducked him back in 2009.

“Criticism doesn’t pay the bills,” Bradley says about his naysayers. “One day Amir Khan and I will get in the ring and settle it. I was actually supposed to fight Amir Khan after I fought Lamont Peterson then he went on to sign with Golden Boy and Golden Boy didn’t want any part of it.”

But for now the business at hand is against the 40-year-old Casamayor. Getting his career back on track is what is important. He knows he has the talent, and this brief speed bump has allowed him to refocus and pursue what he has always wanted to achieve: greatness. Whether it is dusting off the rest of the 140 pounders or bumping up to 147 to trade punches with Mayweather and Pacquiao (“For greater opportunities, I would move up to 147. 140 is getting kind of tight for me to make the weight.”) Bradley is ready to face all comers. He won’t promise knockouts, but he will promise that a much improved fighter will step into the ring on November 12th and grab everyone’s attention.

“We’ve been doing great things in camp and we see the results in the sparring sessions. My whole team sees the difference from all the hard work I have done over the last couple of months. You are going to see a different Tim Bradley in there on the 12th. I am going to be fast, explosive and punching hard.”


Story by Andreas Hale
Photos by “Big” Joe Miranda