If you listen really carefully, you could hear the sound of laughter. Where is it coming from? From the Palm Springs area in the Southern California desert.
Still do not have an idea who it is coming from? Well, he was criticized by the media and diehard boxing fans for passing up on a guaranteed payday against Amir Khan last year and is about to step inside the ring against Manny Pacquiao this Saturday night.
Timothy Bradley had heard all the criticisms before, yet stood steadfast on his decision and the hope that there would be a big payday down the road.
That hope became a reality when he signed the contract and is only days away from taking on the one of if not the pound for pound boxer today.
Bradley will face Pacquiao in a 12 round bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. The bout will headline an eight-bout card, presented by Top Rank. The card will be televised on HBO Pay Per View.
Lost in the buildup and hype of the bout is that Bradley is challenging for Pacquiao’s world title belt. However, the bigger prize for Bradley is to assume the mythical title of pound for pound fighter, to certain members of the media, and cashing his biggest payday as a professional fighter.
Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) is coming off an eighth round technical knockout over faded former world champion Joel Casamayor back in November. Ironically, Bradley appeared on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III bout, which Pacquiao won by a disputed 12 round majority decision.
Prior to the Casamayor fight, Bradley was involved in a roller coaster of events. After defeating Devon Alexander in January of last year, Bradley had a guaranteed $1.4 million payday waiting for him and a potential deal lined up to fight Amir Khan.
However, that deal never materialized as Bradley was involved in promotional issues with Gary Shaw and Thompson Boxing. After being sued by both promotional companies and waiting for his contract with both promotional companies to expire, Bradley signed on with Top Rank.
The move by Bradley and manager Cameron Dunkin was widely criticized by the media, especially when there was a guaranteed payday of almost $1.5 million for Bradley after his victory over Alexander.
However, the decision by Bradley turned out to be a shrewd and wise one as he will be making about five million dollars for the fight, about the same amount that Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley made. Marquez and Mosley were Pacquiao’s last two opponents. Not to mention that he has a legitimate opportunity to defeat Pacquiao.
“I heard all the criticisms from the media regarding that deal,” Bradley told Fightnews.com over the phone on Tuesday afternoon. “I didn’t care about what they said about me. I knew there was a better opportunity out there for me and I capitalized on it. Cameron Dunkin deserves the credit for working hard and making this fight happen.”
“When it was all said and done, I was the one who had the last laugh.”
However, the last laugh would be to defeat the popular Filipino fighter, an achievement nobody has done since Erik Morales defeated Pacquiao back in March of 2005.
Bradley’s style could give Pacquiao problems as Bradley has shown in previous fights to press the fight and be the aggressor in an attempt to back up his opponents. However, Bradley has shown in the last couple of years that he could box and not just come forward and throw wild punches.
Bradley’s speed and tenacity could work for him or against him, but one thing that he does not lack is confidence, something that he has showing more of during press conferences and on the hit HBO series, 24/7: Pacquiao-Bradley.
“I talk more now because I have a lot of confidence in what I do. I didn’t have as much confidence as I do now and now that I have that confidence, I’m more open. It’s through all that hard work that I’ve put in with my team (his trainer Joe Diaz and his father, Timothy, Sr.) over the years.”
While Bradley admits that the intensity of this camp has been the most strenuous of his career, he has not had any outside the gym distractions like Pacquiao has had in leading up to Saturday’s fight.
Aside from the hardcore training regimen one is accustomed to seeing in the gym by Pacquiao, most of the news on Pacquiao has been on him participating in bible readings due to prior infidelity issues and the ongoing drama between trainer Freddie Roach and strength/ conditioning coach Alex Ariza.
Bradley does not think that will be a problem for Pacquiao, wanting to fight him at his best and not because of any distractions. Bradley would know about bible readings as he is deeply religious and involved in his church back home in the Coachella Valley.
“Manny is a good fighter and a professional. Being at those bible readings will help make him a stronger person. I don’t think any of those issues with Freddie and Ariza will get to him. He’ll still have both guys in his corner.”
After a stellar amateur career that began when he was 10 years old, Bradley began his professional career almost eight years ago at an outdoor warehouse yard in Corona, CA. No one at the venue knew that night Bradley, nine days shy of his 21st birthday, would be in the position where he is now based on his second round technical knockout over Francisco Martinez.
The Bradley fight opened the card for fighters such as Chris Arreola and Josesito Lopez that night.
Bradley has worked hard to get to where he is at now. While some favor for Pacquiao to win on Saturday night, it has not hurt the ego or confidence of Bradley. He has heard it all too often in the past and has enjoyed proving naysayers wrong.
He did so when he traveled to England and defeated Junior Witter to win his first world title belt. He did so when he got up from being knocked down twice to defeat Kendall Holt.
He is confident he will do the same on Saturday night against Pacquiao.
“I have motivation to fight for my family, but I also have the motivation to prove these people wrong. A victory over Manny will just be the beginning for me. I’ve worked so hard to get to where I’m at now.”
“I can’t wait to fight on June 9th.”
A victory on June 9th will indeed give Bradley the last laugh.
Story by Francisco Salazar
Photos by Chris Cozzone