Rumors continue to ricochet from parking lots, to casinos, to boxing gyms and through the Internet, and the center of all the rumors continue to be who will be Manny Pacquiao?s next opponent?
A survey circulated around the boxing world revealed that Timothy ?Desert Storm? Bradley was the favorite of those who participated in the informal poll. It wasn?t Floyd Mayweather, Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto who hard core boxing fans want to see versus Pacman. It was the kid from Palm Springs.
That was a shocking surprise to me. Though many including this writer feel he has the physical tools to match the Filipino superstar, it was an eye-opener to see that many fans prefer Bradley over Mayweather.
Mayweather has experience, defensive skills that border on genius, and just enough power to keep a whirlwind fighter like Pacquiao from attacking with impunity. Bradley has the same physical attributes, but lacks the experience of fighting in a mega fight with all of the world watching.
Mega fights are like no other prize fights. Aside from entering a ring in front of more than 16,000 screaming fans, and knowing that more than 1 million households have purchased the fight, there is much more to a mega fight.
Pacman and Money Mayweather know all about it.
You see, it?s a long arduous road that involves a non-stop road schedule of hyping the fight with numerous press conferences. Then there are the one-on-one stops in between the scheduled stops with boxing writers and high-powered sports columnists from New York, Jersey City, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. on the East Coast.
Sometimes there are other stops in Miami and Chicago depending on the nationality of the fighter.
All this takes place in the beginning of the announcement.
Once training starts there are numerous visits by television and radio crews from all over the country. In Pacquiao?s case they come from all over the world. Also, you have journalists descending on the training camps with their notebooks, recorders and video cameras too. The phone rings constantly with requests for interviews and this goes on every day during a mega fight.
It?s a lot to digest for a prizefighter in his first boxing bonanza.
The other factor is that fans come up every second with demands for autographs, photos or time to chat. They want to have their children pose with the fighter and they don?t care if your sitting down and just about to put a fork full of salad in your mouth. People will stop you and ask for whatever they want to ask.
It?s a daily grind.
Then, during the last two weeks before the big fight, the calls come in like machine gun fire. Sponsors want you to sign boxing gloves, pose for photos and meet their vice presidents and associate vice presidents. More press conferences are ordered by phone and during the last week there are more press conferences. It?s similar to a hurricane descending on the Gulf of Mexico-mass chaos.
Even the best fighters have been known to crack.
Mayweather and Pacquiao know all about this. Even Cotto and Margarito know all about this. The big question is can Bradley deal with the hype and demand of a mega fight.
So far, the Desert Storm seems pretty even keel about everything. He has balance not only in the ring but in life.
That can help a lot.
?Timothy is one the hardest workers and most dedicated fighters in the world,? said Alex Camponovo, who serves as a matchmaker for one of Bradley?s co-promoters Thompson Boxing Promotions. ?He?s amazing.?
Maybe Bradley can be the guy Pacman needs?
More boxing chatter
Desert Showdown at Spotlight 29 in Coachella begins Wednesday July 21 and continues until Saturday July 24. Many of the best amateur boxers will take part in the tournament that has gained popularity nationwide. For more information (760) 775-5566.
Former bantamweight world title challenger Jose Navarro (27-5, 12 KOs) fights Juan Jose Beltran (22-16-3) at Club Nokia on Thursday July 22. It?s the second appearance for the former 2000 U.S. Olympian who came within one point of a world title on two occasions. For tickets and information go to www.ticketmaster.com
Freddie Roach?s fighter Craig McEwan of Scotland faces San Diego?s Danny Perez on Friday July 23 at Pechanga Resort and Casino. McEwan amassed more than 300 fights as an amateur and has worked with the Hall of Fame trainer for more than two years at the Wild Card Boxing gym. Perez is a former world title challenger. Local star Charles Huerta and former Olympian Gary Russell Jr. are also on the card.
Mexico?s undefeated Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will fight former middleweight world champion Kelly Pavlik on Dec. 4, said Cameron Dunkin who manages Pavlik. Chavez recently defeated John Duddy by knockout last month. Pavlik lost his world title to Argentina?s Sergio Martinez in his last fight.
Mexico?s Fernando Montiel (43-2-2, 33 KOs) knocked out Panama?s Rafael Concepcion (14-5-1, 8 KOs) at 1:07 of the third round in Mexico on Saturday. Montiel was making the first world title defense of the WBC bantamweight belt he captured by knockout out Japan?s venerable Hozumi Hasegawa. A possible match with former flyweight world champion Nonito Donaire could happen later this year.
WBA cruiserweight world titleholder Beibut Shumenov defends his title against Viacheslov Uzelkov on Friday at Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif. Also on the Gossen-Tutor fight card is Rico Ramos (16-0) matched against Mexico?s Cuauhtemoc Vargas (15-3-1) in a junior featherweight clash.
Heavyweight challenger David Tua (51-3-2, 43 KOs) fought to a draw against Monte Barrett (34-9-1, 20 KOs) after 12 rounds on Saturday in Atlantic City. Barrett said he was retiring after the fight. Tua had hoped a win could place him in a position to fight for one of the four world titles. He was knocked down in the final round.
Strikeforce MMA brings Challengers 9 fight card to Comcast Arena in Everett, Wash. On Friday July 23. Sarah Kaufman fights Roxanne Modaferri for the Strikeforce welterweight title.
A mixed martial arts fight card takes place on Saturday July 24 at the Hollywood Palladium. Respect MMA ? World War 3 starts at 6 p.m.
Mexico?s Jhonny Gonzalez (44-7) meets Aristides Perez (17-2-1) in a 12 round featherweight bout on Saturday July 24, in Campeche, Mexico. The former bantamweight world titleholder Gonzalez is on a four fight winning streak.
Mexican boxers Jorge ?El Travieso? Arce (54-6-1, 41 KOs) and Martin ?Gallito? Castillo (35-3, 18 KOs) battle on Saturday July 31 in Nayarit, Mexico. The two former world champions had been close to fighting each other for the past four years but it never happened.
Puerto Rico?s Carlos Velasquez (13-0, 11 KOs) stopped Mexico?s wild swinging Eduardo Arcos (15-2, 12 KOs) at 1:19 of the fifth round of a junior lightweight contest on Friday in Puerto Rico.
Matthew Hatton (40-4-2, 15 KOs) survived an early knockdown to beat Yuriy Nuzhnenko (30-2-1, 14 KOs) by unanimous decision after 12 rounds and capture the EBU welterweight title on Friday in Bolton, England. Hatton is the younger brother of Ricky Hatton who fought Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
Middleweight Fernando Guerrero (19-0, 15 KOs) took a hard fought decision win over Ishe Smith (21-5) on Friday in Mississippi. Also winning was junior middleweight Shawn Porter (16-0, 12 KOs) by decision over Ray Robinson (11-2) and junior welterweight Mike Dallas Jr. (15-0-1) over Lanard Lane (12-1, 7 KOs).
Former world champion Zab Judah (39-6, 27 KOs) knocked out Southern California?s Jose Armando Santa Cruz (28-5, 17 KOs) with a left uppercut at 2:33 of the third round of a junior welterweight clash on Friday. Though Judah is a former undisputed welterweight world champion, he is moving back down to junior welterweights.
Australia?s Danny Green (29-3, 26 KOs) defends his IBO cruiserweight world title against Paul Briggs (26-3, 18 KOs) on Wednesday July 21 in Perth, Australia. It?s Briggs, 34, first fight in three years.