WEST HOLLYWOOD-Deep in the bosom of Hollywood where the media capital reigns and just two miles from where the Academy Awards took place, Top Rank held its media day for WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (picture above by Chris Farina-Top Rank) on Tuesday.
Fortune’s Gym, located on Sunset Blvd., was abuzz with reporters, photographers, videographers and representatives from HBO like Tony Walker and Top Rank’s Lee Samuels and Ricardo Jimenez.
It’s a long drive from Riverside to West Hollywood but still a few miles shorter than Indio, despite that desert community’s location in Riverside County. West Hollywood is 74 miles from my house and Indio is 80 miles.
We quickly found parking after I took one of my patented short cuts. Long ago I worked for the Wall Street Journal and Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and West L.A. were my coverage areas for a decade. I know every classic actors’ former or present home depending on whether he or she is still living.
Inside the boxing gym a throng of media types armed with tripods, monopods, extensions, microphones and shotgun mikes took positions on the south side of the facility. It was the best position to spot Bradley.
While waiting the popular conversation was the cancelation of Chris “The Nightmare” Arreola’s fight on March 9. The Riverside heavyweight was supposed to be televised by HBO and was cancelling a fight for the second time in a year.
Victor Ortiz was the other eye-popping topic. The former welterweight champion from Ventura was chosen to be a participant on Dancing With the Stars. That seemingly came out of nowhere too.
Finally, Bradley emerged from sequester to meet the press. This time the usually friendly Palm Spring’s fighter was back to his charming self. In the previous press conference he didn’t seem amused.
Bradley is one of the most underrated prizefighters I’ve encountered in my career as a boxing journalist. The other is Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero, who is fighting Floyd Mayweather on May 4.
“It ain’t going to be easy for Floyd,” said Bradley.
Once Bradley gets going if you’re paying attention you realize this is one of the brightest prizefighters out there. He can talk about anything under the world when it comes to boxing or the business of boxing. Today he told the press “I’m over it” when asked about the outcry and favorable decision he received in defeating Manny Pacquiao last year. He doesn’t feel it’s worth the effort to worry about how fans or the press perceive his win.
“I’m going to beat up every welterweight they put in front of me,” Bradley promised. “Believe that.”
Facing Bradley (29-0, 12 Kos) on March 16 at the Home Depot Center is Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 Kos) who now trains in Freddie Roach’s gym in Hollywood.
“He’s a tough fighter,” said Bradley and shrugged off the obvious.
While wrapping his hands to perform shadow boxing in the dimly lit ring, the Palm Springs boxer chatted amiably with the army of journalists about other fighters, match ups and a few other things.
Samuel Jackson, the corner man and uncle to Bradley, said that nothing can be done at the moment about the fans’ feelings.
“The only thing Tim can do is keep beating all of these guys,” said Jackson. “They’re going to see he’s the best out there.”
In Hollywood, there are stars and there are champions. Bradley is looking to be both.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?