AVILA: Tim Bradley Deserves More Respect and Recognition

INDIO, CA.—That first moment Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley stepped in the boxing ring during the summer of 2004, it was clear as glass that superb athleticism set him apart from most other prizefighters.

Speed in abundance and natural-born agility are his assets. In spite of obvious stellar fighting ability, though, the accolades have not rushed his way.

A coming welterweight battle with Brandon “Bam, Bam” Rios (33-2-1, 24 Kos) could be the linchpin that leads to head of the pack recognition for Bradley (32-1-1, 12 Kos), on Saturday Nov. 7, at Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

HBO will televise the Top Rank fight for the WBO world title.

Who knows the exact reason fans worldwide have not climbed on the Bradley bandwagon? But for more than a decade only one prizefighter on earth has been able to defeat him. Yet, despite only one loss, critics and boxing experts relegate the Palm Springs speedster to the nether regions of the welterweight division.

“We’ve talked about it a few times. Not so much lately,” said Monica Bradley, wife and manager. “Maybe it is what it is.”

Home base for Bradley has always been the Palm Springs area. It’s not exactly a metropolis, but a refuge for the rich and mighty. Movie stars like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and William Powell built homes in the desert oasis to get away from the masses.

For Bradley, it has proven to be a severe obstacle. No network TV stations or giant metropolitan newspapers are willing to drive 100 miles or more to check out a prizefighter. It’s not in the budget.

The hardcore boxing fans know all about Bradley. He’s trekked overseas to win that first world title, back in 2008, to face WBC belt holder Junior Witter of England. The Palm Springs fighter was a decided underdog. Few outside of the Inland Empire knew who he was.

Bradley said that everything that could go wrong, went wrong. His uncle was stopped by security because his name, “Samuel Jackson,” was on the no fly list; his hotel was too small, there was no gym for him to prepare, and the food ordered was not available.

To make matters worse, his girlfriend at the time was lost in England.

“I actually flew out on my own and got lost. I took the subway and went south instead of north,” says Mrs. Bradley. “I had arrived early but I didn’t make it to the arena until the day of the fight. We didn’t have international cell service. He was worried sick about me.”

Monica Bradley finally made it to the arena and witnessed the fans booing loudly against the unknown American challenger. At the time, Witter was considered one of the top prizefighters out of the United Kingdom. The boos rained down as Bradley entered.

“That was his favorite fight. He won the WBC title and he always wanted that title,” says Monica Bradley. “Being a champ that day was his proudest moment.”

Tim Bradley moved on to defeat in succession Edner Cherry, Kendall Holt, Nate Campbell, Lamont Peterson, Luis Abregu, Devon Alexander, and Joel Casamayor. Then he became the first prizefighter in seven years to defeat Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.

Everyone knows what happened afterward. Bradley went on to defeat Mexico’s consummate boxer Juan Manuel Marquez. Yet, fans seem to forget that victory.

“Tim has no regrets,” Monica Bradley says. “Well, maybe getting knocked down by Kendall Holt. Tim was upset about that.”

Bradley recently changed trainers and now has the mercurial Teddy Atlas of ESPN fame in his corner as his lead trainer.

“I had to ask him five times,” said Bradley of his recruitment of Atlas. “But you know me. I don’t give up.”

The current WBO welterweight champion says training with Atlas after all of the talks and lectures has been like working with the ghost of Cus D’Amato.

“He let me know I don’t know nothing about boxing,” Bradley says.

The main focus of Atlas preparation is focus. The TV analyst and former trainer of Alexander Povetkin, Michael Moorer and Donny Lalonde has spent the entire camp working on Bradley’s focus for this pending battle with the relentless Bam Bam Rios.

“Sometimes I’m looking at something and Teddy yells at me ‘What are you looking at? Focus!’ He’s all about the mental preparation,” Bradley said.

It’s all about the mind.

“I’m not thinking about no one else but Brandon Rios,” Bradley said. “This is what I’ve been waiting for.”

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Comment on this article

COMMENTS

-michigan400 :

Agree 100%. Said it before that Bradley is very under rated. I always wondered why but sometimes that's just how it works. Always someone else making more noise and demanding attention but Tim is a true pro. He does his job and complains very little. Manny fights are what they are but Tim was competitive in both even if he was gifted the first fight. He's not a judge so its not his fault he won.


-brownsugar :

Lol...it's not his fault he won,...must be the greatest statement of "irony" ever made.


-leon30001 :

So do I. But what are you gonna do?


-brownsugar :

If Bradley doesn't get all macho stupid on us, going toe to toe he should be able to easily out point Rios.


-michigan400 :

I always wanted to see how he would do against Mayweather (as I'm sure he did as well!! LOL!) but I don't think he was ever even considered even a long shot choice for him. The guy can hustle like Maidana did in the first fight and keep pressure on and he's faster and more skilled than MM was. I think it would have been a good fight myself. He deserved it way more than Berto did IMO. I'm sure boxing politics (which I care very little about and don't follow) kept it from happening but I think it would have been a good fight and Bradley would be competitive with Money May. Hell, why not MM vs Bradley?? I'd watch that!!


-Froggy :

I always wanted to see how he would do against Mayweather (as I'm sure he did as well!! LOL!) but I don't think he was ever even considered even a long shot choice for him. The guy can hustle like Maidana did in the first fight and keep pressure on and he's faster and more skilled than MM was. I think it would have been a good fight myself. He deserved it way more than Berto did IMO. I'm sure boxing politics (which I care very little about and don't follow) kept it from happening but I think it would have been a good fight and Bradley would be competitive with Money May. Hell, why not MM vs Bradley?? I'd watch that!!
Hear hear !


-King Beef :

Bradley is definitely a scrapper! He is not amazing at 1 thing, but does everything good. You better be ready for a full night with Bradley because he is a hustler.


-SouthPawFlo :

Here's the Bradley problem. He doesn't have a big enuff personality outside the ring to attract attention, (Ie. Adrien Broner, Floyd Mayweather) He doesn't have punching power (Ie. Paulie M.) And he doesn't "blow guys out" with his boxing ability, he has been taken to war too many times, his greatest strengths are his heart/will and athleticism but he's just not that good mentality to stick to a gameplan... He kinda mentally checks out in fights... It's good that teddy atlas is working on his focus because that's what he needs... If you look at the 2nd Manny Fight, when he fought like he was an amateur throwing undisciplined haymakers (for no reason because he never had 1 punch power) or the Chavez/Provo fight with he chose to go Toe to Toe with guys that he can easily outbox, then you throw in the fact he outboxes Marquez for a win and you think it has to be something going on upstairs because you never know what Tim Bradley is gonna show up, is he gonna throw 1 punch haymakers, slug, box, counter-punch use movement, or what you just never know with this guy... His heart is 100% His chin is 100% his Conditioning 100% his mind-frame in the ring, no so much...


-deepwater2 :

Rios might pull off the upset. Bradley is OK to watch. Thank God, he doesn't have to punch out old ladies,buy fancy cars, or throw money out the window to have a personality. As far as switching trainers and taking on the brawler,in Rios,so he can box and move, it might backfire on Tim. Atlas might have Tim overthinking in there. You know that Rios won't be thinking so much, it might be an advantage. I will put some coin on the underdog Rios.


-Radam G :

I will ride with that. T-Brad no doubt needs more R and R. If he and Teddy are able to get pass Bam Bam, he might be get T-Craw next or get a third go with Da Manny if Money May punks out for the rematch. Holla!


-SouthPawFlo :

In boxing people gravitate to things that are special, or flashy or out of the ordinary, Tim Bradley is a Blue Collar type fighter. No flash, no special skills no over the top outside the ring shenanigans etc etc... When you think of the guys who made it to the top of the p4p or who were big PPV stars they all had a "Special" intangible... I think Bradley has the determination of a bull and I actually like watching him fight because I know he's gonna give 110% everytime out, but the "casual fan" isn't gonna be a Tim Bradley Fan


-stormcentre :

Agree with some comments here, but not all. Bradley's fight against Witter proved me wrong. Witter was on fire, and Hatton was cautious about not fighting him, when Tim bravely went across the Atlantic and not only fought him but comprehensively beat him and won. I rate Witter (win/loss success aside) as one of the better UK technicians that have been around. For a while there Witter was *exceptional and I was not blaming Hatton for looking the other way. *Hatton struggled with Collazo and Witter was better than him during some times when Ricky was being called out by Junior. Also, Junior Witter just happened to come from a brilliant father/son trainer/gym; same one as Hamed and Brook. But Witter went stale with infrequent opportunities (sometime after flogging Vivian Harris I think???) and poor paydays, and with that he then fell into the clutches of being un-motivated enough to remain in the gym in peak 12 round condition; for the level he was looking to compete at. The summary of all that is that, with a complex and unique style like Witter's (or Hamed's {or even RJJ's}) - being so unorthodox and with so many intricate/moving parts - if you let up on your championship fitness it becomes increasingly harder to make all the traits of your style - that are fundamentally incorrect - work for you via ambushing opponents with moves they're not usually familiar with. Without the speed and evasiveness that only comes with peak conditioning, unorthodox and complex styles (that usually bamboozle and destroy opponents) there is no effective delivery system. Conversely, the traditional Mexican style of "fighting" does not suffer this vulnerability, as it is (by comparison) not complex or unorthodox. This is (one reason) why, guys with styles like Witter's, Hamed's and others like them, usually feast on Mexicans. And, it is also (one reason) why most Mexican fighters that are truly successful are either heavy handed or great combination punchers; or both. Ah . . but I digressed, and now the post is getting long. :) Bradley has previously shown some real potential and been technically devastating and/or damn near perfect; look at his fight with Peterson as an example. But it's not always that way for reasons that are many/varied. He easily beat Vargas in my opinion, but could not put him away. Maybe we're too harsh on Bradley's seeming inability to put guys away? Perhaps Vargas is just a really tough guy. This is not as easy as a 3G V Lemieux/Stevenson prediction; but Bradley, in
StormCentre's opinion, has too many skills to let Rios beat him; provided Tim doesn't get drawn into a slugging match with Rios. Use the stick, don't play with anything less than medium level power when using it (Tim is not an ELA expert), and then bring Rios onto the cross (when it's there and not otherwise); then use footwork, and spin off and/or move - but never straight back in a line. That's how to beat Rios.
StormCentre :) :)