WBO welterweight world champion Jessie Vargas celebrates with Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, Top Rank President Todd duBoef, and manager Cameron Dunkin at Top Rank headquarters in Las Vegas on Monday.
If Thursday’s news conference in Las Vegas was any indication of Timothy Bradley’s current mindset, the Cathedral City native will battle more than Brandon Rios when he puts his welterweight title on the line Saturday night at the nearby Thomas & Mack Center.
Bradley, who in recent years replaced manager Cameron Dunkin with his wife, Monica, and two months ago replaced longtime trainer Joel Diaz after 11 years together, stepped to the podium at the Wynn Las Vegas and took a moment to address what he viewed as widespread criticism for such moves.
“I have a whole list of things I want to say today,” Bradley began. “I don’t know if I should say them.”
Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs) spoke about the fight, about how he’s prepared and about what he hopes to do Saturday night. Then he shared with the assembled media a few of those other things that were on his mind.
“Sometimes people don’t really understand what I have around me, and what goes around me,” Bradley said. “I want to make it live a little bit to some of you folks out there or some of you non-believers in Tim Bradley, that I’m very intelligent, and I’m going to tell you why.
“I signed with the best promoter in the boxing business, Top Rank, linking up with one of the best managers in the business, Cameron Dunkin. Then, I tell my wife, learn everything you can from Cameron Dunkin. Everything. Learn everything you can. Everything. Because, guess what? Someday you’re going to be my manager, you’re going to be saving me 10 percent of my purse, which we’re doing.”
Bradley added, “I’m not dumb, I’m a super smart, smart guy, I really am. Really smart, and so is my team.”
Much has been written about Bradley’s breakup with Dunkin, who now manages Rios (33-2-1, 24 KOs) and attended the news conference. Dunkin also manages Jessie Vargas, who fought and lost to Bradley by unanimous decision in June. At the time, Dunkin and Bradley both said there were no hard feelings and that they remain cordial toward each other, despite the way they ended their working relationship.
As Bradley spoke of Dunkin on Thursday, he shook his head, his eyes fixated on the floor in front of him. Afterward, he said he has nothing but respect for Bradley, but isn’t surprised that Bradley is still defending his decision to cut ties with Dunkin years later. Dunkin also wondered if Bradley’s emotions will play a larger role in Saturday’s outcome.
At the podium, Bradley continued.
“I’m set up for success,” he said. “Set up for success, OK? So when you bash me in the media and you say, ‘Wow, he got rid of his trainer (of) 10 years, he’s dumb. He got rid of his manager, he’s dumb.’ Listen guys, everything has a plan, everything has a purpose.”
As Bradley enters the ring on Saturday, he’ll not only face a brutal opponent, but will evidently do so carrying some added weight on his shoulders. Whether or not the decisions Bradley has made within his team have helped or hurt his career, there’s no longer any doubt that he’s fighting in part to prove to naysayers that he’s in complete control of how the final chapter of his career unfolds.
The first step in doing that will come Saturday night. Either Bradley will emerge victorious and validate what was said Thursday, or he’ll give doubters an opportunity to fan the flames.
“I wish Tim all the best,” Dunkin said. “I hope he finds what he’s looking for.”
Cameron Dunkin, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s Manager of the Year in 2007, is a true believer. When he puts his faith in one of his fighters, it’s absolute, and he will preach about his guy’s abilities with all the fervor of a tent-show revivalist. Sometimes that faith is misplaced and he comes away disappointed, but other times his instincts prove totally correct.
Early on in Terence “Bud” Crawford’s professional career, Dunkin admits to frustration in his attempts to sell something that none of the major promoters seemed to want. He was talking up a professional boxer from Nebraska? Hey, everybody knows that state is better known for producing bumper crops of very large linemen for the University of Nebraska football team than for little guys who can hook off the jab.
“Nobody wanted him,” Dunkin, the BWAA’s 2007 Manager of the Year, said of Crawford, the Omaha native whose fight for widespread acknowledgment was more daunting than his almost casual mastery of the opponents he was facing in the ring.
With three impressive victories in 2014, the 27-year-old Crawford (25-0, 17 KOs) is the winner of the Boxing Writers Association’s Sugar Ray Robinson Award as Fighter of the Year. He will be honored at the BWAA’s 90th annual Awards Ceremony on April 24 at a yet-to-be-determined venue in New York City, an event that will be emceed by Brooklyn Nets announcer David Diamante.
The remainder of the BWAA award winners will be announced Wednesday.
“It’s a surprise to me because that’s something that I never thought I’d be able to accomplish,” Crawford said when informed of his selection, in a close vote over WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher”Kovalev. “Now that it’s happened, it almost feels like it’s not real.”
Dunkin’s persistent sales pitch finally was heard in the Top Rank organization, which isn’t surprising as several Dunkin-managed fighters (Crawford is co-managed by Brian McIntyre, who also serves as his trainer) have fought, and fought well, under the TR banner. Crawford signed a promotional contract with CEO Bob Arum’s star-making company shortly after he blasted out Derrick Campos in two rounds on July 30, 2011, to run his record to 13-0 with 10 victories inside the distance. But that bout was held at the Softball Country Arena in Denver, still too far off the radar screen to attract much attention.
That changed on March 30, 2013, at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay when Crawford dominated Breidis Prescott in taking a unanimous, 10-round decision, in the process winning 26 of the 30 total rounds on the three judges’ scorecards. He was definitely now on that figurative radar screen, including that monitored by his own promotional company. He was summoned back to Vegas around that time – he can’t recall the exact date – to be interviewed by Top Rank representatives and to pose for photographs, a sure sign that he was moving up from bit player to potential leading man.
“They asked me some questions,” Crawford said. “I said I felt that I had Omaha on my back, and they seemed to like that. I said I was going to take Omaha all the way to the top, and that’s what I did.”
Crawford launched his breakthrough year of 2014 in fine fashion, wresting the WBO 135-pound championship on a unanimous decision over gritty Scotsman Ricky Burns on March 1 in Glasgow, Scotland. That earned him, in a professional sense, a return ticket home – his only previous pro bout in Nebraska was on July 31, 2010, a one-round knockout of Anthony Mora in Grand Island – and he treated his growing legion of Omaha fans with HBO-televised, title-defending routs of 2004 Olympic gold medalist and former unified featherweight champion Yuriokis Gamboa (who was floored four times in losing by ninth-round TKO on June 28) and a wide unanimous decision over wily veteran Ray Beltran on Nov. 29. The thumping of Gamboa was a finalist for the BWAA’s Muhammad Ali/Joe Frazier Fight of the Year Award.
Perhaps just as significantly, the Gamboa and Beltran fights drew paid audiences of 10,943 and 11,127 in Omaha’s CenturyLink Arena, with the beatdown of Gamboa, a Miami-based Cuban, the first world title fight to be held in Nebraska’s largest city since heavyweight champ Joe Frazier carved up Ron Stander, the “Bluffs Butcher,” for a fifth-round TKO on May 25, 1972. Like Crawford said, he has Omaha on his back and he’s determined to take it to a lofty perch in boxing it hasn’t been often, if at all.
It will take more eye-opening victories like those, but Crawford just might have a chance to someday enter the ring of Omaha’s most cherished sports heroes, along with baseball Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers and three-time first-team All-America basketball player Doug McDermott, who is from Ames, Iowa, but starred for four years at Omaha’s Creighton University.
“I’m looking for a big year again,” Crawford, who plans to move up in weight, said of his plans for 2015, beginning with his April 18 non-title date with Puerto Rican super lightweight Thomas Dulorme (22-1, 14 KOs), the site of which has yet to be announced but very likely will be Omaha. “I’m going to continue taking the biggest and best fights out there. I don’t want to take no step down. I want to prove I’m the best fighter in and around my division, and one of the best in any division. To be great, you got to set your sights on the Pacquiaos and the Mayweathers. Those are the kind of guys you got to fight, and beat.”
Although Crawford has his own style, it is in fact a hodgepodge of moves and strategies he has lifted from any number of great fighters he has admired since the time he took up boxing at the age of seven.
“I used to fall asleep watching tapes of old fights,” he said, citing Shane Mosley, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Felix Trinidad, Marco Antonio Barrera, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Thomas Hearns and Ike Quartey as influences. “I’d try to take a little bit from this fighter, a little bit from that fighter.”
Not surprisingly, McIntyre has characterized Crawford as “a throwback fighter, from the ’70s or ’80s, just like Hagler, Hearns, Leonard and Duran. He will fight anyone, and duck nobody.”
Certainly, Beltran came away impressed by Omaha’s latest sporting favorite son. Every time he thought he was beginning to figure Crawford out, the champion would show him a different look.
“I’ve had six losses before him, but in my heart, as a man, I can really say this is the first guy that I feel had really beat me,” he said.
It is that ability to make in-round adjustments – he can go from orthodox to southpaw, and back again, as naturally as most people breathe in and out – that stamps Crawford as someone who could be a regular candidate for future Fighter of the Year awards.
“As a kid, that’s something my coaches always had me working on,” Crawford said. “They wanted me to be flexible, not one-dimensional like a lot of fighters are. We work on multiple things in the gym. Whenever I got something down pat, it was on to something else. And that was good, because I always want to learn. I try to soak up as much as I can.”
For Dunkin, Crawford’s arrival in the ranks of elite fighters is a happy occasion, on several levels. He said that Crawford not only is a tremendous talent, but an unspoiled, enthusiastic kid who is as good a person as he is a fighter.
“Both of them had great years,” he said of Crawford’s edging of Kovalev for the BWAA FOY Award. “Either one would have been a great choice, but I’m so glad my guy got it. I’m so happy for him. He’s worked so hard and never complains about anything. His attitude is always, `Let’s go. Let’s fight.’ You can really move a guy like that. He wants to fight, and he wants to be somebody.
“In a city like Omaha, which doesn’t have pro sports (other than a Triple-A baseball team), you just knew the time and place was ripe for somebody like him. He’s very popular, for all the right reasons. Not only can he really fight, but he’s such a great kid. I thought he would do well, but come on. To do as well as he has this fast … it’s just incredible.”
Undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) Welterweight Champion TIMOTHY BRADLEY Jr. and four-division world champion and Méxican icon JUAN MANUEL MÁRQUEZ, the only two fighters to beat Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao in the last seven years, will go mano a mano in nine days.
While Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs), of Palm Springs, Calif., and Márquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs), of México City, enter this World Welterweight Championship fight fresh from Fight of the Year caliber performances, Márquez will also be attempting to become the first Méxican fighter to win world titles in five different weight divisions.
We now bring your from Palm Springs, California, following a vigorous media workout, WBO Welterweight Champion Timothy Bradley. Timothy is 13 days away from his defense against Mexican icon Juan Manuel Márquez. Joining Timothy on today’s call is trainer Joel Diaz and manager Cameron Dunkin. We are now pleased to introduce his promoter, Hall of Fame Promoter Bob Arum.
BOB ARUM: Timothy just finished working out at his beautiful new gym in the desert and I must say he is in incredible shape and he told me if I wanted to move the fight up 12 days he would be ready to go tomorrow night and I really believe that. He is at the top of his game and as everyone that was here today could see, he is ready to give one incredible performance.
Joel, how as camp been going? We know Timothy is coming off an incredible fight against Provodnikov which, right now, is the leading candidate for Fight of the Year.. How is it coming off that to prepare for this fight?
JOEL DIAZ: Our training camp has been going really well. As you can see, this guy works extremely hard. He leaves nothing behind, pushing himself 100% in training. We worked hard on the weight, making sure it was not an issue like in the previous fight, which was a factor in that fight. But no more. Right now he is walking around at 152 at the most and wants to finish the week at 149. He is mentally and physically ready to go and looking forward to October 12th.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I want to be a part of Márquez’s legacy and by me beating Márquez, that right there will make me one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, wherever you want to place me. Márquez is probably the best fighter I will have ever faced in my career, by far. This fight on October 12th is going to be a very tough fight and I am game for war. I know Márquez is, too, I know his trainer very well and I know they are going to come out hard and try to take me out and take my title.
Joel, what does Tim need to do to counter Márquez?
JOEL DIAZ: The most important thing for Tim to do is stay very focused, follow the strategy and don’t fall into Márquez’s game. Márquez is a very experienced fighter. Don’t fall away from the plan and follow instructions and he’ll be fine.
Have you looked at the Chris John and Mayweather fights in which Márquez lost by decision and can you take anything away from those?
JOEL DIAZ: I watched the Mayweather fight and Mayweather showed me a lot going in the ring against a fighter like Juan Manuel Maárquez. Even though that fight was years ago, over time, fighters slow down a little due to age. But I focused on that fight and caught a lot of good points. I know that Márquez is still sharp and very smart. I know Márquez myself because I followed Márquez’s career. I am a big fan of Márquez and I have seen every single one of his fights. I don’t have to look at much video because I remember every single one of his fights – how he performs and what his strengths and weaknesses are. I know the type of counter-puncher he is so I really don’t have to look at much video. I already know him.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I have seen every one of his fights. I know what his weaknesses are and what he likes to do. That is our job — to know these things. That’s why we wanted this fight. I wanted this fight a few years ago. I always knew I could beat Márquez, even when he went back and fought Juan Diaz I felt that I could have been in there and done a lot better. But this fight is happening now and I am going to prove to the world that I am a top fighter, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the game. I am going to beat Márquez, you heard it here first, and we’ll see what the people say after that.
Are you willing to box or do you feel a need to go toe-to-toe?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I am here to put on a show but I am also going to follow the game plan that we put together to win the fight.
Is there a concern for the judges?
JOEL DIAZ: There is always a concern. This is boxing and at the end of the day what’s going to happen is what’s going to happen. Tim is a very elusive fighter and has great speed and great footwork and if it’s up to the judges we hope they do their job and Tim is going to prove he is one of the best fighters in the world when he beats Márquez.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Man, I am going to whoop his ass and the judges are going to give me the fight. Just like the U.S. government I am going to shut down Juan Manuel Márquez on October 12th. I am going to win the fight – that is the bottom line. I’m not concerned about any judges or any ref. I am going to get in there and do my job and beat Márquez. And that’s it. And the world’s going to see it.
BOB ARUM: I just hope that we are not going to have any kind of controversy with the judges. The fighters fight and the judges pick the winner of the fight and that’s all I can ask for.
You spoke about residual effects from the Provodnikov fight on 24/7. How long did it take once you got back in the gym to feel like yourself again?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I have always had positive vibes and positive energy. I knew and I told Joel Diaz that I would bounce back from it. It took me two months just to get back to normal. Going in the gym, I was out of shape, sparring, things were a little off but that was because I was out of shape. I told them ‘ once I get back into shape, don’t worry guys, everything will get better. My IQ, my speed, my defense will all come back.’ Three or four weeks ago, my trainers told me I was right. My sparring sessions got better, my defense got back, my speed was better and everything was falling into place and everything was back. I was actually doing the plan in the sparring session that Joel wanted to see and my team wanted to see and we are backing up the truck now. I am 110% going into this fight. I am not worried about getting punched or can I take a punch – I know I can take a punch and I know I’m ready to go.
Were you concerned about a lingering effect?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: No, I never felt that way because you know what happens? A lot of fighters don’t know that there is a lot of help out there for these concussions. NFL players have that help. My friends in the NFL got me the right treatment and I saw doctors out of New York, Long Beach, that could aid and assist me with therapy work. Everything is back to normal now. I feel 100% and I never worried.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Most people that have lingering effects and get multiple concussions never get help – they don’t get treatment. I’ve been getting treatment for the last five months.
Joel, tell us what it was like when he came back into camp.
JOEL DIAZ: I noticed a little bit at the beginning because his equilibrium wasn’t there. With time he was getting better. He was focusing on losing weight. He had gained quite a bit of weight. So he was losing weight too fast. He had gained a lot of weight because he was inactive. As soon as he started getting back in shape everything started to fall in place. His balance and equilibrium started to come back. As a trainer I always take that into consideration – how is he going to come back because he did get hit pretty hard? Week after week he started getting better and he was reacting really good. And he told me that once he got back into shape he was going to be reacting really good. He’s been sparring with some tough sparring partners. He’s been getting hit real hard and been reacting really good. All reactions I have seen from him are normal and his reflexes are very sharp.
Bob, were you surprised these two [Bradley and Márquez] turned down a Pacquiao fight to fight each other? For less?
BOB ARUM: Money isn’t everything. These guys aren’t fighting on October 12 for peanuts. The purses they are getting are substantial and legacy is important for both Timothy and Juan Manuel Márquez. Timothy wants Márquez’s scalp on his belt, so to speak. And Márquez wants to be the first Méxican to win five world titles in five weight divisions. Both of them indicated to me that Pacquiao could wait.
Tim, why take this fight instead of more lucrative fight with Pacquiao?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: One, going to China was a reason and, two, the money was not out-of-this-world. Márquez is 40 and on his way out and I wanted to get a shot at him. I tried three years ago to get a crack at him – to beat him – and I wanted to fight him before he left the game. This is my opportunity to do that. Coming off the Provodnikov fight, it was a hard fight, it was a great fight and it did do some adjusting to where I fit in boxing. I figured, let’s keep going towards the light and let’s face a new challenge in Márquez before he gets out, and beat him. Then maybe we can go back and revisit the dark side in Manny Pacquaio. I felt I wasn’t ready to do it again. After the Provodnikov fight I was in darkness, then I came to the light and I want to stay in the light. I want to shine and I can do that by having two guys on my resume who are by far the best fighters in the world, hall-of-famers, and if I could beat both of these guys I would be considered one of the best.
What is it about Márquez that sets him apart form the other great fighters you have faced?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Márquez has fought everybody. He has been in the ring with all the best fighters in the world. He never ducked anybody. He’s been in there with Mayweather. He fought Pacquiao four times. And there is nothing he has not seen. He is one of the best counter-punchers in the game. People struggle when they fight this guy. He either knocks them out or he wins a decision because he is a great counter-puncher. He’s that best name on my resume. I fought a lot of fighters, young and old, but they are not the caliber of Márquez.
How did you become a fan of Márquez?
JOEL DIAZ: Following his career, he has been a very exciting fighter. In boxing you like to see great fights and he has been part of the great fights. Me as a Méxican fighter we always look at the best fighters that México can produce – Julio César Chávez, Jose Luis Castillo, Erik Morales – and now we have Márquez, and I’m facing him. I have to give my fighter a strategy to beat him. And it’s an honor to create a strategy for someone that I have followed. I have a fighter that is hungry to gain that throne. It’s my job to prepare my fighter to beat him. To go in the ring with my fighter and to come out with a win I can go home and say I idolized him and now one of my fighters beat him.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I have always been a fan of Márquez. I always thought he was a great fighter and I still think he’s a great fighter. I want to fight the best to be the best in this sport. I don’t do this just to make money, of course the money is important for my family, but I do this to be the best. That’s what motivates me and drives me. People that tell me I can’t do it, I want to prove them wrong. I am one of the best fighters in the world and if I’m not No. 1 on your list, I will be. Floyd’s got a few more fights left so when I beat Márquez I will be right in there.
Are you surprised, as being the champion, that Márquez is favored to win the fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: No, no , no. Everybody is looking at my last fight and everybody is looking at his last fight. Everyone remembers when he knocked out Pacquiao. And everyone remembers that war with Ruslan Provodnikov. A lot of people think I am going to be wild and go down and people have to see if I still have it or not. Of course they are going for the veteran, the guy that knocked out Pacquiao so of course they are going to bet on him to win. I don’t mind being the underdog. I like it. I like taking people’s money and I’ll take it again. People can doubt me and doubt me and that’s OK but soon they will get sick of losing their money.
Are you looking forward to the challenge of facing Nacho Beristáin in the other corner?
JOEL DIAZ: Definitely, I think that Nacho is one of the best trainers in the world. He has done so much for the sport, you could call him a legend. I am coming in with a great fighter in Timothy Bradley and he is coming in with a great fighter in Juan Manuel Márquez. We are matching wits and when Tim wins I will be very happy to have accomplished a wing against a great trainer.
Juan Manuel Márquez busted up the bags at media day, are you worried about his power?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I don’t give a damn what he did. I don’t give a damn if he busted a bag. I don’t give a damn if he trained on the moon. I don’t give a damn if he broke somebody’s jaw. That’s all irrelevant to me, man. He doesn’t know what we are doing over here. That doesn’t scare me at all.
You say Márquez will be the best fighter you ever faced. Would he still have been the best if he didn’t KO Pacquiao?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I just think that’s he’s a very intelligent fighter. It’s good to have that knockout on his resume plus the other fights with Pacquiao, and the Mayweather fight and I think he fought Morales. He fought everybody – all the best out there. So that would not have changed.
How was sparring with Matthysse?
Sparring with him really helped my confidence (coming back from Provodnikov) – we have worked together – it wasn’t electrifying in the ring. He had his moments and I had my moments. The biggest thing was it my first day back and his first day sparring after coming to the states. We did four rounds and he was a little winded so maybe he was jetlagged. I thought it was a great sparring session. I got to see his strengths and his weaknesses. He landed some good shots on me and I took his best shot. He hit me with a big left hook and I went halfway across the ring and I stopped and said ‘boy you’re strong.’
How confident are you in the testing?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Well, it is what it is. There is nothing I can do about that. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. If I don’t take this fight I don’t get paid and make money for my family. HBO, Top Rank and everybody would be pissed off if I pulled out of this fight. He’s doing the testing that Nevada is doing and that’s great. VADA is a qualified agency – they are more strict and their percentages are better also. I am a clean athlete so why not do the best testing out there. I said let’s do VADA and he didn’t want to do it. We’ve been getting randomly tested the last for weeks. They just show up – they call an hour early. He’s passed all the tests so all we can say is that he’s clean.
JOEL DIAZ: On October 12 you are going to see Bradley put on a great performance. He is going to put a beating on Márquez. I don’t think you are going to need judges. I think Márquez is going to come and put Tim to sleep like he did to Pacquiao and it’s not going to happen. Tim is a smarter fighter, more defensive and he’s going to complicate Márquez’s day. After the fifth or sixth round – Tim is going to take Márquez into the deep water and that’s when Tim is going to do his best – you don’t have to leave it up to the judges.
BOB ARUM: Between now and October 12, we have a great fight on Saturday in Orlando between Miguel Cotto against Delvin Rodriguez and a battle of undefeated lightweight contenders, Terrence Crawford against Andrey Klimov; and following that fight, episode two of 24/7 Bradley/Márquez – the first episode was terrific. Everyone is getting ready for the big showdown on October 12. At Wild Card Gym tomorrow you have your first opportunity to see Lomachenko, probably the best amateur in the history for this sport will be making his pro debut on the card. Bradley and Márquez are both training hard and it is going to be a fantastic card on October 12.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I want to give a shout out to HBO, to Top Rank to my manager Cameron Dunkin and a shout out to Márquez for taking this fight. I appreciate all of your support and to all the fans out there. I am so excited and I can’t wait for this fight. I can’t wait to get it on with this guy – one of the best fighters in the world.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Zanfer Promotions, Wynn Las Vegas, Márquez Boxing, and Tecate, Bradley vs. Márquez will take place Saturday, October 12 at the Thomas & Mack Center, on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. It will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View®, beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.
By Miguel Maravilla
Photo: Chris Farnia/Top Rank –
Unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) of Palm Springs, California and four time division world champion Mexico City’s Juan Manuel “Dinamita” Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) kicked off their two city press tour for their October PPV showdown on Wednesday afternoon at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The two will square off Saturday October 12 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“I want to welcome you all to what I believe will be the fight of the year or certainly a candidate for fight of the year,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “This fight is for legacy. Timothy wants to win this fight to beat the top Mexican fighter in the world and Juan Manuel Marquez is looking to make history to win 5 world titles in five weight divisions.”
Mexican promoter Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Promotions, who co-promotes Marquez, was also on hand as he spoke on the upcoming bout, “This is the fight everyone wants to see. Two professional fighters, of course, because of their last performances. I think Timothy really fought with his heart. It is one the most sensational fights I have seen live.
“These guys are going to go at each other. They know how to get into it. This is a real fight, a boxing match. Not a guy that is going to be running around outclassing his opponent with his skill but not giving the fans what they paid for. So these two guys will give the fans their money’s worth.”
Marquez trainer Nacho Beristan talked with the media as he anticipates a tough one.
“This is a real natural interesting fight. We recognize the quality of the champion, the way his trainer handles him. I think we will have a complicated night but we have every right to say we will come out victorious,” Beristan said.
Team Bradley was represented by his manager Cameron Dunkin along with Timothy’s father Ray Bradley and trainer Joel Diaz. Diaz spoke about the upcoming preparation and challenge they have in facing Juan Manuel Marquez.
“We are back again in another tough fight. We have by far one of our toughest fights against one of the toughest opponents, an Aztec warrior which is Juan Manuel Marquez. Behind him stands the professor of boxing, the best trainer in the world Mr. Nacho Beristan,” Diaz said. “Now it’s in my hands to put together a plan to beat Juan Manuel Marquez with my fighter, the world champion Tim Bradley.”
Juan Manuel Marquez followed as he welcomed everyone in attendance talked about his upcoming showdown speaking both in English and Spanish, “I want to thank Team Bradley for this fight. Well I have always said if I want to be the best I have to beat the best. Bradley is the champion. I am ready for this fight. The people will see October 12 another great fight because of our styles. I feel focused for October 12. I am training real hard on my strength and speed. That is what is really important for this fight, the speed.”
“This belt is beautiful. Everyone knows what happened in November 2011. This belt should be mine, but October 12 I will be back for it. This is my motivation. I feel happy for this opportunity,” Marquez concluded.
Timothy Bradley made his statement, speaking highly of his counterpart, and promises to give another great performance.
“I want to thank Juan Manuel Marquez It shows you what type of fighter and talent Juan Manuel Marquez has. He is 40, his ability and mental state of wanting to fight the best.”
“I am so pumped up can’t wait to get back to the gym and start training for this fight. I know what I have in front of me, the obstacle I have. It’s going to be a tough challenge. I am not taking him for granted. I don’t care how old he is what he has done in the past, he is facing me now. After October 12 I will be on everyone’s pound for pound list without a doubt. Don’t miss this fight I am telling you it’s going to be an unbelievable night,” Bradley stated.
The press conference concluded as both faced off for the cameras and things got a little tensed as Bradley stepped up to Marquez but that situation was quickly defused.
“You got two top athletes. Marquez in his eyes is very determined and hungry like he wants something it looks like he wanted to take something from me there and I looked the same at him I mean we are both warriors. Call us roosters or gallos (Spanish),” Bradley told Fightnews.com.
“It’s all part of boxing. It’s the psychological tactic of a fighter. For me it’s nothing new. Let’s just say the psychological war has begun,” Marquez told Fighntews.
The Bradley-Marquez press tour resumes Friday in Mexico City. The Bradley Marquez undercard will include Top Rank’s recently signed light heavyweight Shane Monahan (18-0, 11KOs) of Long Beach, New York vs. Anthony Caputo Smith (14-1, 10KOs) in a ten round light heavyweight bout. More on the undercard to be announced shortly.
All signs point to new WBO junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire fighting Mexico’s Jorge Arce next, as the Filipino’s manager confirmed the news along with a tentative accord with WBC 122-pound boss Toshiaki Nishioka of Japan afterward.
“Arce is next,” Cameron Dunkin told Philippine News’ Truth Esguerra. “We have an agreement already, and he’s got to fight Arce. And we have an agreement in principle with the Japanese guy (Nishioka), so he’s got fights ahead of him. After that we’ll look at [WBA champ Guillermo] Rigondeaux, of course.”
Donaire hurt his left hand early in his split decision win last Saturday over Puerto Rico’s Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., and was scheduled to see a physician on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
“He’s going to be back soon,” Dunkin added. “Hopefully this hand’s not a big deal, and we see him back in the ring in April or something, I hope.”
By Ryan Maquiñana
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly column for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (CSNBayArea.com). He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Panel. E-mail him at email@example.com , check out his blog at www.maqdown.com , or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.
Timothy Bradley began boxing at age 10. As an amateur, Bradley had a great record, including over 140 amateur bouts. He won titles at the PAL National Tournament, and became the Under 19 National Tournament Champion and the Jr. Golden Gloves Champion.
Bradley was also a two-time National Champion and before turning professional was ranked 3rd in the nation. Bradley started his professional career in August of 2004 against Francisco Martinez in Corona, California with a TKO in the 2nd round. His won his first title in 2005 when he defeated Francisco Rincon by unanimous decision and claimed the vacant WBC Youth Welterweight Title.
Bradley made four successful title defenses, and in 2008 won his first world title by defeating Junior Witter by split decision to claim the WBC Jr. Welterweight title. After one successful defense, Bradley went on to unify the titles by defeating Kendall Holt by unanimous decision. He was now the WBO/WBC Jr. Welterweight
Champion. In January 2011, Bradley had his most notable win when he defeated then undefeated Jr. Welterweight champ Devon Alexander. When asked why he is known as “Desert Storm”, Bradley explains he offers his opponents and his fans an all-out war each time he steps in the ring and this was a great way to honor all the service men and women that have successfully defended our country.
1. WBC Youth World Jr. Welterweight Champion
1. WBC Jr. Welterweight Champion (twice)
2. WBO Jr. Welterweight Champion