Saturday, December 24, 2011

The SNB Interview: Timothy Bradley -- Part I

Saturday Night Boxing recently talked with junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley in a wide-ranging interview which touched on many key aspects of his boxing career. In Part I of the interview, Bradley discusses his opinions on fights with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, his toughest opponent as a professional, his amateur background and how he started his career with Thompson Boxing. Bradley also provides his analyses of Pacquiao-Marquez III, Khan-Peterson and Ward-Froch.

To read Part II of the Interview, click hereTo read Part III of the interview, click here.

Interview by Adam Abramowitz

SNB: With yesterday’s news of Floyd Mayweather being sentenced to prison, if Bob Arum calls you and offers you a fight against Manny Pacquiao, you say?

TB: Sure I’m ready. That’s the fight that I’ve been waiting for my whole career. That’s a fight that I feel I’ve definitely earned. I feel that I’m ready for the challenge.

SNB: What did you take away from Pacquiao’s last fight with Marquez? What did you see?

TB: I think basically that Marquez has the style that definitely confuses Manny Pacquiao. You know styles make fights and Marquez’s style just gives Manny’s style fits. I think if they fight again I think it would be the same thing. If they fought 100 times it would be the same fight every single time. You know Pacquiao has not knocked out his last three opponents. I thought he was definitely going to knock out Marquez and that didn’t happen. I think he’s definitely still a threat in the game but I think if it’s time to get him, it’s right now.

SNB: For you personally, do you think that Pacquiao or Mayweather is the tougher opponent for you and why?

TB: I think Mayweather would be the tougher opponent because Mayweather is very defensive. He’s a technical fighter. He’s a smart fighter. I think for my style, I think Mayweather gives a harder challenge than Manny Pacquiao. Manny Pacquiao is kind of clever in the ring. He uses footwork and things like that and I have great footwork as well. He lets his hands fly so he’s vulnerable to be hit while he’s throwing. I think Manny Pacquiao would definitely be more suitable for my style.

SNB: What do you think has been your toughest opponent to date? Would you say it was Junior Witter?

TB: I would say it’s a tossup between Junior Witter, due to the circumstances, as far as me traveling into his hometown and beating him on his soil. I mean that takes guts and I was able to do that. But the fight that was probably one of my hardest fights was definitely Lamont Peterson, and I would also say Kendall Holt as well, because that was the first time I tasted canvas. I still had to get up and fight the game plan. I still had to move forward after I got dropped in the first round like that.

SNB: I want to get back to the Witter fight in a second but you said something interesting about Lamont Peterson. The scores for that fight were pretty wide in your favor. Can you talk a little bit about why the fight against Peterson was so difficult for you?

TB: Peterson, you know he displayed it against Amir Khan. He’s relentless, his will to win. He’s a clever fighter in there. He’s not a dumb fighter. He’s very clever. He’s tall. He’s lanky. He has a longer reach than I do. Good quickness. Decent power. He’s very athletic. He’s a handful for anybody. That’s the reason why he only has one loss on his resume. He’s a handful for anybody out there at 140.

I said it after the fight, “This guy’s going to be a world champion. This guy will be a world champion.” I said that in the press conference after my fight. I told him that. I said, “Just keep going, you’re going to be world champion.”

He displayed that in the Amir Khan fight – his will to win, his determination. He just out-gritted Khan in there. He wanted it more. He got the decision and I’m happy with that decision – granted, it’s controversial right now. But Peterson comes forward and bangs the body. He can box and bang. He can do a little bit of both in the ring. That makes him a double threat. That’s the reason why he’s so tough.

SNB: I wanted to ask you a couple of questions about earlier in your career. Going back to the Witter fight, you had never fought as a professional outside of California, but you had vast international amateur experience. Did that help you prepare for that fight?

TB: Absolutely. I think having an amateur background definitely grooms you for professional fighting.

SNB: Did I read correctly that you once fought in Tahiti as an amateur?

TB: Yes. Yes I did fight in Tahiti. You know your history there. You know my amateur history and my professional history. That’s great. You did your homework. I like that. That’s what I like about good reporting. They do your homework and you’ve done that. So I’m happy to do this interview.

Yes I did fight in Tahiti. I fought in England and France. I fought against [fighters from] various different countries. Boxing is basically dealing with styles, being able to adjust to different styles. That’s something that a great fighter can do – adjust to any style. I feel that I can pretty much do that – adapt to any style in there. I think that the greatest fighters in the world can do so.

You know Andre Ward, definitely another great champion, will be pound-for-pound number one, one day in the near future. He is able to adjust to any style out there and he displayed that in the Super Six tournament. Carl Froch is a handful to deal with but he made it look very easy in there. He outboxed Froch and had him off balance the whole night.

Different styles, that’s what the amateurs get you ready for, and definitely fighting in different countries prepares you when you have to go across the pond and fight for a world championship one day.

SNB: I have another question about your amateur background. You were a U.S. under-19 champion, a junior Golden Gloves tournament winner – a national winner. What were the offers like for you when you decided to go professional and what were you expecting? You had the very nice pedigree and yet you started off with a relatively small promotional outfit. What was that experience like and what was on the table for you back then?

TB: Actually, there was nothing on the table for me. There was no big-time promoter coming after me or anything like that. I went to the [Olympic] trials and I wound up losing in the trials to Vanes [Martirosyan] and that was pretty much it. It was pretty much a tough going. When I decided to turn professional what ended up happening was – quick story – I ended up actually going to one of my buddy’s parties at a hotel, the Doral Hotel, here in my home town. There were some guys outside that had some Thompson Boxing [gear] and I knew they were professional people. They were there and I was just like “Hey guys, how are you all doing.”

I saw a couple of Golden Boy shirts and things like that. That was the time when they were just getting started. But I saw those guys [Thompson] and I said, “Hi, I’m Timothy Bradley and I was a great amateur," and this and that.

And they said, “Oh really?”

And I said, “Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.” They gave me their contact information and they asked if I was a professional. And I said, “No. I’m looking for a promoter. I'm looking for a professional fight.”

They gave me their number and my dad ended up calling them six months down the road after I met them. They gave me a shot and the rest is history. I ended up signing with them for a couple of years and then I wound up signing again with them, with Gary Shaw [Bradley is with Top Rank now], and here we are now.

SNB: I never heard that story before, where it was really that random in a way.

TB: It was random. I was in the right place in the right time. It’s weird but that’s the truth – right place at the right time. They took me on and we grew together, and we won championships together. It was things are different.

Part II | Part III

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  1. your just a mess tim bradley stop it ok no need to give your nonsense opinion!

  2. You don't have to like him but u gotta respect him.

  3. What is a "mess" about this article? Seems rather engaging to me. Why hate? Good article.

  4. knock him