Jim Lampley has seen Tim Bradley at his best and his worst and he, like me, doesn’t have a totally firm sense which Bradley will show up on Saturday night, in Las Vegas, and on the air on HBO.
I think it’s fair to say we are both fairly certain that the A grade Bradley will strut his stuff, but this is the theatre of the unexpected, and really, you don’t know until you KNOW. One thing that popped into my head, Diego Chaves, Bradley’s foe, is no resume filler-type…but he’s not of the ilk of the last few guys Bradley has tangled with. Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez…those are marquee names. Chaves, that’s a guy who doesn’t own a fraction of the gravity and history that the Congressman and the Mexican legend possess. Could this be recipe for a letdown, and an upset?
Lampley is guessing no, but acknowledges that we must let our eyes be the arbiters, and wait till Saturday night, on a show put together by Top Rank.
“Bradley now has that first loss on record,” said the all-star blow by blow caller, who will be given entry into the International Boxing Hall of Fame next June. He finds himself wondering if the gameplan the Californian used in his last outing, against Manny Pacquiao, doesn’t reflect that he has more superior nights behind him than ahead of him.
“I wonder if the plan (used against Pacquiao) doesn’t reflect some slippage in his game, some over-reach…because in the past he’s beaten guys like Luis Carlos Abregu and Devon Alexander by being the more effective athlete, and adjusting. In this last fight, for the first time, he made what I thought was a damaging choice.” Indeed; Bradley’s looking to be the blastout artist, loading up with power tosses, instead of using the sage strategizing and athleticism which convinced the judges of his worth in the first Pacman tangle…it left fightwatchers scratching their heads.
Thing is, even if Bradley (31-1 with 12 KOs) slips back into banger or trader mode, he should be able to get the better of a Chaves, who hasn’t, presumably, found himself inside the square ring with such a seasoned pugilist. “His very willing competitive heart is probably Bradley’s single biggest asset,” Lampley continued. “You can’t judge Tim according to one great attribute…he’s the sum of his parts.”
The pondering part of Lampley goes where my mind goes…and thinks that the 31-year-old Bradley, even if he’s looking just the tiniest bit past the rugged Argentine, will show more of the man who impressed us all so mightily in dissecting the supreme dissector himself, Marquez, fall 2013. The way he mastered “management of distance,” as Lampley put it, should again prove the difference maker on Saturday, in my mind.
Lampley seemingly concurs. “Bradley against people like Chaves should still be able to outthink him, adjust, show self possession.”
Chaves is a guy who likes to come forward, is sometimes wide with his shots, is quite active defensively, with smart head and torso movement, owns a sneaky-quick right hand which Bradley will be watching for, has respectable mobility, doesn’t have the blazing-est fast hands, sometimes gets sloppy falling in, doesn’t have a jab that will scare Bradley…he’s not someone who SHOULD beat Bradley. But weirder outcomes have been seen than Chaves def. Bradley…
Fight fans, talk to me. Chaves has dropped outings to Keith Thurman (KO10)–but Bradley’s pop is two grades lesser than Thurman, so we shouldn’t expect a similar ending–and Brandon Rios, in a plug-ugly waltz in August (DQ9). I like Bradley to hand him his third, but the kid is fresher, maybe, and if Bradley isn’t dialed in on this task, and not what his new year of opportunities might be looking like, then an upset isn’t off the table.