Saturday, May 19, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
I will be signing books this Saturday and Sunday at The Arts in Harmony Festival May 5th and 6th in historical downtown New Harmony, Indiana. Saturday hours 9am-5pm Sunday Noon to 4pm.
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012
As Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley prepare for the fight of the year one June 9 Most people don't know what Bradley had to do just to get the fight with the world's number one fighter.Here is my interview with Bradley last fall as it appeared in Sports Life Magazine.
Timothy Bradley: Striving to be the Best
By Rick Kelsheimer
Current WBO and WBC light welterweight champion, Timothy Bradley’s nickname is “Desert Storm.” The handle sells his ability short. A more accurate description of his relentless attacking style in the ring would be “Desert Tornado” or “Desert Explosion.” The undefeated Bradley, who is currently ranked as the sixth best pound for pound fighter in the world by Ring Magazine, uses his speed and stamina to keep his opponents on their heels from the second the bell rings. At 5’6” Bradley often seems outsized in the ring against fighters with a much longer reach, but he never lets this stop him from being the aggressor.
“I don’t mind taking on bigger fighters,” Bradley said from his home in Cathedral City, California. “I feel that it works to my advantage. I can use my quickness to hit them from inside or out. I can adjust my style while the fight is in progress. There aren’t that many fighters who have that ability.”
Two current fighters who do have the same ability to adjust are Manny Pacquieo and Floyd Mayweather Jr. Timothy Bradley makes it perfectly clear that those are the two champions he wants to fight. “Manny Pacquieo is a great fighter and a great human being. It would be an honor getting into the ring with him. Same goes with Floyd Mayweather Jr. It would be an honor.”
When asked to compare his skills to Pacquieo, Bradley was candid. “I’m not saying that I’m faster than Manny Pacquieo, but he isn’t any faster than me. I’m just as quick. Right now he is the best in the world and that is the position where I would like to be. To be the best you have to beat the best. And to be honest, I don’t know how good I am. I’m not being cocky. Nobody has ever dominated me or overpowered me, so I want find out where the ceiling is. I want to test myself. The only way to do this is by fighting someone of Pacquieo or Mayweather’s ability. When I step into the ring I don’t feel like there is anybody on earth who can beat me.”
A fight with Pacquieo or Mayweather would also bring Bradley the payday he is looking for. “It wouldn’t be honest to say that money isn’t a factor at this point in my career. I love being a boxer. I love the sport of boxing, but boxing is a business. Boxing is what I do; it isn’t who I am. I want to make sure that every decision I make is the right one for my family. My wife and kids come first.”
One of the decisions will be to decide which promoter to sign with. Bradley wanted to address the rumors that claimed that he had already signed with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing. “I have not talked to Top Rank or Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. Right now I’m getting ready for litigations with my current promoter Gary Shaw, who claims I still owe him another fight. That will have to be resolved before I sign with anybody else.”
Bradley turned down a fight with Amir Khan, WBA Super lightweight champ and the number two ranked fighter at 140 pounds. The reason was it fell beyond the six month stipulation with his contact with Shaw. “My contract obligated me to fight within six months of my fight with Devon Alexander last January. They couldn’t get the deal done before the June 29 deadline and offered me a fight on July 23. That was clearly outside the time frame mandated by my contract. Under normal circumstances that wouldn’t be a problem, but my wife is pregnant and is due in the first week of August. I didn’t want to be in the last phases of training and have the baby come without me being around. My family comes first over my career. They could have gotten a fight for me in June if they tried. Devon Alexander got a fight in June and he was the loser in our fight. I was the winner so you would think my fight would take priority.”
In an interview with Sky News on June 10, Amir Khan said, “He (Bradley) chickened out because he knew he was going to get beaten. And if he got beaten by me, his career would be finished. He doesn’t draw big crowds so his two titles are his savior. If I win them off of him, he’ll be back at the small shows. Even his world title fights are small shows. He’s scared of being beaten.”
“I try not to listen to all the trash talk,” said Bradley “I don’t talk bad about anybody and go about my business. The deal they offered me wasn’t what it should be. “I’m the number 1 ranked fighter in the world at 140 pounds. Khan is ranked number 2. They were acting like it was the other way around. I’ve paid my dues.”
“When I first started boxing I had to wait tables and wash dishes at a restaurant for eight hour before I could go to the gym and do my training. Waiting tables is hard work. I was tired but went to the gym anyways because I wanted to be the best. I took whatever fights I could get and worked my way up through the ranks.”
“I’ve fought people in their own back yards. I won the WBC title from Junior Witter in England. I won the WBC title from Kendall Holt in Montreal. They want me to fight for another championship. I’m already a three time champion. I have to do what’s best for my family.
“As far as being chicken of Amir Khan, that’s ridiculous. I’m not afraid of anyone. I’ll fight (Wladamir) Klitschko if the contract is signed. I don’t care how big or how fast someone is, I’ll go to battle with them.”
Bradley faced a similar situation when in 2009 the WBC stripped him of his belt for not defending his title against Devon Alexander. “I felt like they weren’t offering enough to fight a fighter of his caliber and once again he hadn’t paid his dues. I wanted to fight a better fighter.”
Because I don’t have a lot of knockouts everybody started saying that I couldn’t beat Alexander due to his size and punching power.”
“Finally I decided to silence my critics and fight him last January in a unification bout. Anybody who watched the fight saw, Alexander didn’t have that much for me. There weren’t a lot of fireworks.”
On January 29, 2011, in the Pontiac Silverdome, Bradley reclaimed his WBC Title when Devon Alexander refused to answer the bell in the eleventh round.
Bradley’s lack of knockouts doesn’t concern him. “I’ve never been a power puncher. I go into a fight with the plan to take the fight to the distance. You really have to plant your feet and sit down on your punches to get the knockouts. That’s not my style. I don’t like standing still that long. I want to hit them, use my quickness and move around so they don’t have a chance to hit a stationary target. I train hard to make sure I’ll be the one with something left at the end of the fight.”
“Tim Bradley is a talented boxer looking for his signature moment,” says Boxing Hall of Fame Writer, Bert Sugar. “We all thought it was going to happen with the Devon Alexander fight, but that didn’t turn out to be that good of a fight. Bradley still needs that one fight that everyone is going to remember. Something like the Hearns-Hagler fight. Hopefully he’ll get that opportunity with Manny Pacquieo or someone of that caliber somewhere down the road.”
Sugar went on to praise Bradley’s performance outside of the ring. ‘Bradley is a great human interest story. He is the pride of his community and gives something back. He transcends well from the boxing community to the real world. He’s smart and likeable. Tim Bradley is a good example of how a boxer should act outside of the ring. He’s one of the reasons I love the boxing community so much.”
Bradley doesn’t run around with an entourage when he’s outside of the ring. “I live a low-key life. My wife and I hang around with our married friends. I like spending time with my kids and watching sports on television. My wife calls me a sports junkie. I’ll watch golf, tennis, or volleyball, I don’t care. If they have a ball or keep score; I’ll watch it. I like to follow the Dallas Cowboys, and I love to watch the Los Angeles Lakers. I have to admit that I’m passionate about the Lakers. They’re my favorite team.”
Something else that Tim Bradley is passionate about is being a father. Anything that I have accomplished in life is because of the support of my family. My Mom and Dad were great role models. They gave me the structure and the guidance I needed to succeed in life. Now I have a strong wonderful wife who is the backbone our family. I want to be the kind of father to our kids that my Dad was for me.
Four and half years ago Bradley got together with a grade school classmate, Monica Manzo. The couple was married a little over a year ago.
Bradley works at being a step parent to Monica’s two children with the same drive and commitment that he does when he steps into the ring. “Being a stepfather was a big adjustment for me. I just decided that I was going to treat them (Robert, 11 and Alaysia, 6) like they are my own. I don’t call them my step children. They are my children.”
When it comes to affecting children’s lives, Tim Bradley’s influence goes way beyond his own family. When he saw a need, he got together with some friends and formed the 150 member Cathedral City Junior All-American Football League. Bradley serves as league president which has players from the ages of 7 to 15. He seemed just as exited when talking about that title as he did when speaking about the three he has won in the ring. “We don’t have any lockouts in our league. As we speak the boys are hard at it getting ready for the season. Right now I’m in my pre-training phase so I’ll go down and work out with the teams. It’s been a lot of fun.”
You could hear the pride in Bradley’s voice when talking about his stepson, Robert who has become a standout player in the league. “He’s a monster on the field. He plays linebacker and guard and has excelled wherever he plays. I’m not being prejudiced. He’s really good. He loves football and I want to help him reach his goals like my dad did for me. It takes more than talent. It takes dedication.”
“I loved football too as a kid and wanted to play,” Bradley laughed, “but my dad wouldn’t let me. He was afraid I might get hurt.”
Earlier this year in a Los Angeles Times interview, Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz, said that much of Bradley’s success comes from the way his dad treated him when he was younger.”His dad has pushed him to the limit since the time he was 6. No time to breathe, no time to quit. There's a drill sergeant mentality there," Diaz said. "Tim has always been told, 'Your opponent is training harder than you.' It might look a little abusive in the beginning — the dad's not happy until Tim's on the ground — but look at what he's got through and what he's made of his life."
Don’t be surprised if Bradley stays in boxing after he hangs up the gloves. He is intelligent, well spoken and has an outgoing personality. It’s obvious that he could have a career behind the microphone if he chooses. “I would love to be a fight analyst. I think I’m pretty good at it. I like to watch fights on television and try to figure out what I would have to do to beat each fighter. I usually have my game plan by the end of the second round.”
Bradley sees himself moving up in weight to the welterweight division to get the fight he wants. “Some people think I’m too small to fight at 147 pounds, because I’d be fighting guys who are six feet tall and come down from 170 pounds to compete in the division. I’m not worried about it. I’ve had 140 amateur fights and 27 as a pro and a lot were against bigger fighters. I think it works to my advantage. I’m quicker and can score a lot of points by outworking them.”
Once his litigation with Gary Shaw is concluded, Bradley hopes to have a tune-up fight sometime between late September and November. After that he is looking for the marquee fight that will hopefully define his career.
Whoever Bradley fights, he will more than likely be an underdog. But keep this fact in mind. Timothy Bradley went into fights with Junior Witter, Kendall Holt and to some degree Devon Alexander as an underdog. In each of those cases he walked out of the ring with their championship belts
A fight with Manny Pacquieo or Floyd Mayweather may define Timothy Bradley’s career as a boxer, but it won’t define him as a person. He is a true champion inside and outside of the ring.