Far in the desert, temperatures have dropped to a cool 103 degrees in the town of Indio where Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley and his fellow crew train daily. Just a few weeks ago 120 degrees was the norm.
It’s fairly early in the morning and Bradley has already buzzed through most of his drills in preparation for his showdown with fellow pound for pound fighter Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico. The two will meet on Oct. 12, at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. HBO will televise.
Inside the Indio boxing gym are the nucleus of Bradley’s boxing team, Joel Diaz and Antonio Diaz. Joel is the head trainer and has now emerged as one of the top boxing gurus in the world and has a blockbuster team to prove it. His brother Antonio is a strong part of the team and their combined experience and knowledge in the ring is hard to beat.
Just last week Julio Diaz fought against Shawn Porter in a slugfest in which he lost by decision. It was a rematch of an earlier clash that ended in a draw.
“Shawn Porter made some good adjustments,” said Joel Diaz about the fight that occurred in Las Vegas. “Julio didn’t stick to the plan. He got frustrated and tried to take him out of there.”
Another fighter on that same Vegas card was Diego De La Hoya, the nephew of Oscar De La Hoya. The 19-year-old showed poise and ability in defeating a Puerto Rican boxer with eight wins in 11 bouts. De La Hoya basically gave him a drubbing before lowering the boom.
“He has a lot of ability and speed and power,” said Diaz. “He just needs fine-tuning.”
Next week another of his pupils Diego Magdaleno (23-1, 9 Kos) fights on the under card of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera on Sept. 28, at the StubHub Center in Carson. Magdaleno, a junior lightweight, faces Edgar Riovalle (36-15-2, 25 Kos). This will be Magdaleno’s first fight since a split-decision loss to world champion Roman Martinez. That’s if the Chavez fight takes place. The son of Mexico’s greatest champion looked pretty hefty just a few weeks ago.
Chavez wanted to train in Indio but was refused by Diaz. He already has a solid team of elite boxers that includes Jamie Kavanagh, Jesse Magdaleno, De La Hoya, Diaz and Bradley, plus a number of solid amateurs from the desert region.
“I didn’t want him here,” said Diaz of Chavez.
The center of the team is Bradley.
Indio is located in Riverside County, about 85 miles from Riverside, which is the largest city in the county with more than 385,000 people. Riverside is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Few people visit the Indio gym where Bradley trains daily. It’s always hot.
Some friends and family witnessed Bradley go through his routine. Watching the WBO welterweight world champion hit the mitts with speedy precision can give you a good idea of what opponents must feel. Bradley has blurring speed and agility.
After training Bradley sits down and calmly talks about the pending clash with Mexico’s Marquez (the two are seen in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo), last week’s fight between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez and also Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse. A few weeks ago Bradley and Matthysse traded blows in this same gym.
“Only Tim would get in with a gorilla like Lucas Matthysse,” said Samuel Jackson, who works in Bradley’s corners during fights and is always present at training sessions.
Bradley said he was not surprised that Garcia was able to best Matthysse.
“Garcia has several ways to beat you,” said Bradley. “Matthysse only has one. Once Danny took Matthysse’s best punch, it was his fight.”
Bradley expects his own fight with Marquez to be the type of fight that can go in several directions. Both he and Marquez have a variety of conundrums to present in any fight.
“Juan Manuel Marquez is one of the top three pound for pound fighters,” said Bradley, while drying off from another heated training session. “This fight is dangerous and he’s dangerous.”
Marquez and Bradley both defeated Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao last year. Bradley was the first to show that the great Filipino boxing star was waning especially in the endurance department. Marquez followed that up with a one-punch knockout win. Now Bradley and Marquez are meeting head to head.
“He finds a way to beat you. He looks for an opening and finds a punch to stop you,” said Bradley about Marquez. “There are two ways to beat him and I know both of them.”
Of course that’s a secret left for the fight.
“If fans want to know what they are, they’ll have to tune into the fight,” Bradley mused.
One thing Bradley did talk about was watching Mayweather’s victory over Alvarez last week in Las Vegas.
“Mayweather is a goal of mine,” said Bradley. “I’m focused on Marquez totally. But my goal is to fight Floyd Mayweather. I already fought Pacquiao and I want Mayweather. But Marquez is my focus. He’s dangerous.”
Bradley says his last fight taught him that sometimes you can’t go macho and trade blow for blow, especially if the other fighter is a Russian juggernaut like Ruslan Provodnikov.
“That guy was strong,” said Bradley. “It’s all about styles in a fight. You have to fight in the right style to win.”
The Indio prizefighter said he’s studied and studied all of Marquez’s weapons, defense and tendencies. In just a few weeks they will meet in the Thomas and Mack where he expects a large Latino crowd. Most will be cheering heartily for Marquez.
“He’s definitely going to be a big fan favorite,” said Bradley. “Whatever he brings I should be ready for it.”