As Tim Bradley’s nickname “Desert Storm” suggests he’s a trooper. He’s one of Boxing’s blue collar fighters, he’s never had anything given to him the easy way, just through sheer hard work. He first won a world title back in May 2008 when as the underdog he traveled to England where he fought awkward, southpaw Junior Witter. Witter started well, but typical of Bradley he slowly solved the puzzle that was Witter dropping him in the sixth along the way to winning a split decision. The old adage winning a title makes a fighter better came to bear when he outpointed tough guy Edner Cherry before again accepting a tough assignment, he headed to Quebec, Canada to defeat Kendall Holt. This time Bradley revealed something different he showed just how well conditioned he is twice dragging himself off the canvas and riding out some tough patches to unify the his WBC crown with Holt’s WBO title. After being forced to vacate the WBC title he fought former unified Lightweight champion Nate Campbell, after handling Campbell well winning the opening three rounds on all three judges cards Campbell appeared to retire between rounds. At later inspection the California commission wavered the result opting to change it to a No decision. The Californian Native closed out an impressive 2009 with a sparkling display of savvy and ring generalship as he posted a near shut out of Lamont Peterson in a fight many believed to be 50-50 going in. When various fights fell out including a mooted battle with Argentine power puncher Marcos Maidana fell through Bradley opted to head up to 147 and meet another Big punching Argentinean in the form of Luis Abregu. While Bradley may not of had the power or size of Abregu, he had the ring smarts and speed advantages to gain the points win. During 2010 Bradley struggled to get any of the fights he hoped for at 140, however he helps get Boxing off with a bang when he fights unbeaten Devon “The Great” Alexander on 29 January on HBO at the Silverdome, in Pontiac, Michigan.
Hello Tim, welcome to 15rounds.com
Anson Wainwright – Firstly you have a “Super Fight” coming up with Devon Alexander. What are your thoughts on that fight? How highly do you rate Alexander?
Tim Bradley – Pretty much my thoughts are it’s going to be a great fight. Our styles, he’s a lefty, we have similar attributes, high volume type of fighters, smart boxers. So it’s going to be an interesting fight. Different strategy’s, what I’m going to take as far as my strategy and as far as his strategy. As far as how I rate Devon? I think Devon is one of the best 140 pounder’s in the world. I rate him at number two fighter in the division, hands down. Now that Khan beat Maidana you can argue and say Khan maybe number 1 or 2 as well. It just depends on how all these fights play out. If I can get a win over Devon and fight Khan or someone of that nature then we’ll see who the best 140 pounder in the world is. But I rate Devon right now as the number 2 and I rate myself as number 1 and we’re going to see who’s the best.
Anson Wainwright – If you win you wont receive the WBC belt. What are your thoughts on that?
Tim Bradley – Well I really don’t have any thoughts on it. It was a decision I made and that’s that. If I wasn’t going to be recognized as WBC champion. It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it, so I’m not worried about it.
Anson Wainwright – Your known in the sport as a gym rat but when did you start training for this fight and can you tell us about the training you do?
Tim Bradley – I started in mid December. I did my press tour. I sparred for the first time in 5 months, but I felt great, I like to stay in shape. So it’s not like I haven’t done anything in 5 months. I’ve been really active running and staying fit. So when I get back to the gym it’s not hard to comeback like most fighters. My last couple of sparring sessions have been superb. Like I say I haven’t sparred for 5 months but the way I’m looking I can’t wait to see me after about 6 weeks of sparring.
Anson Wainwright – Who is part of Team Bradley, who is your manager, trainer & promoter? How did you come to work with them? Also what gym do you train at?
Tim Bradley – Team Bradley is pretty much my family. Joel Diaz is the head coach, you have Timothy Ray Snr, my father as second in the ring. Then you have a good friend of mine Sam L Jackson he’s another one of my corner men. Team Bradley consists of my wife, she handles all my phone calls, pretty much anything that I need she handles. We have Cameron Dunkin he’s my manager. He does everything to make sure I’m fine and all the contracts are great, all those good things. You also have Michael Miller, he’s my lawyer he handles all the contract things as well and also my promoter who is Ken Thompson and Gary Shaw Promotions. Thompson’s been with me about 6 years, I’ve been with Gary Shaw 4 and a half maybe 5 years. Also my brother in law and my mother, we’re a close team. I train at the Indio Boys and girls club.
Anson Wainwright – How did you first come to work with Joel Diaz & Cameron Dunkin.
Tim Bradley – Joel had his brother’s, he trained Antonio and former two time world champion Julio Diaz. My father was training me in the amateur days and when I was looking to turn pro I was looking for someone who knew the business, someone who was very efficient like I was, a hard worker and dedicated. So we traveled out maybe 30 minutes outside where we live to Lee Espinoza’s gym out in Coachella and Joel was training fighters, helping guys out. So we asked him if he’d be willing to train me professionally and he said “Yeah”. From that point on he groomed me and helped me become one of the best fighters in the world today. With the help of my father and Team. I have a great support team. That helps me stay focused and on my toes. There’s always positive people around me. That’s how I met Joel. I was talking to Cameron for a few months, I was looking for a bit more protection and someone who was very knowledgeable about the game, that has been in the game a very long time and I knew he had some great fighters in his stable that he managed and some great fighters over history. Cameron Dunkin is a huge name in Boxing as far as management. I really wanted him, I needed his expertise. To go over my contract make sure everything is legit and help and protect me and make sure I’m getting my just do’s.
Anson Wainwright – Can you tell us what it was like for you growing up in Southern California, were things tough for you early on?
Tim Bradley – Well growing up in Southern California, I grew up in a Neighbourhood there were a lot of gangs, tough streets. I knew everybody in the area and everybody knew who I was but it was tough to not be pulled in. That type of thug mentality was very hard to keep myself isolated. Boxing helped me do that. I hung out with some of my friends who were in gangs and you tend to roll with and think like them. Boxing was my foundation. My parents were hard on me growing up as well. They disciplined me, they made sure I was a respectable young man.
Anson Wainwright – When did you first become interested and take Boxing up?
Tim Bradley – I think it was sixth grade, I had a friend who was Boxing at the time. He was Boxing and I always got in trouble in school, fighting, getting in trouble, being a knucklehead, being a boy, beating up kids in the school. That’s how I got started. I nagged my dad for about 2 months “Can I go to the Boxing club, my friends doing it. I want to fight, please take me” He finally said ok, he said “If you like it there’s no quitting, you can’t quit if you like it” I said “Ok, that’s a deal” I never looked back. I’ve been training for 17 years of my life and I’ve never taken a break. The thing with most guys they take a break after a fight or amateur tournament, they leave for a couple of months. I was back the next Monday, after the tournament. I never really took a long lay off, when I was coming up in the amateur’s.
Anson Wainwright – You were a good amateur, what titles did you win? What guys who are now pro did you fight? What was your final record?
Tim Bradley – I won the National PAL Championship, I won under 19 Championship and Junior Gloves. I travelled and fought the French, Puerto Rican, Irish, Mexican’s. I had some duals under my belt. I had over 140 fights, I think I had about 20 loses.
I fought Andre Berto, Anthony Dirrell, Andre Ward, Vaughn Alexander, Lamont Peterson. I’m sure there’s more, I just don’t remember.
Anson Wainwright – When we spoke to Devon Alexander he mentioned you beat his brother Vaughn 6-4. So he’ll be gunning for revenge while you’ll be looking to do the family double.
Tim Bradley – Absolutely, I beat his brother and now I’m going to beat him. He wants revenge for his brother and it would probably mean a lot to him. He’d be like to his brother “I got him back” but that’s going to be a tough task.
Anson Wainwright – You turned pro in the summer of 2004, you stayed active over the next four years before you fought Junior Witter for the WBC title in Nottingham, England for his WBC title. What are your thoughts on that fight and what did it mean to you?
Tim Bradley – That fight meant everything to me. I was chasing that WBC title, that was the only belt I wanted as a kid. I had to have it and I felt if I had the opportunity I was going to take full advantage and was going to win and I was able to. Thank god I was strong enough, he gave me the strength and he gave my trainers the knowledge and myself the ability to go to England. That crowd over there. The amateur experience came into play because I’ve already traveled across pond and I’ve already faced the top amateur’s. So I had the experience to travel and I knew that. I felt I couldn’t be denied. Junior Witter was a great fighter at that time, a lot of people argue “Oh Devon stopped him”. I fought Junior Witter when Junior Witter hadn’t lost in years, the only loss he had was to Zab Judah and that was 6 or 7 years ago. Witter was number two fighter right behind Ricky Hatton and this guy was just full of confidence coming off a great knock out win over Vivian Harris, he was at the top of his game. He was one of the most feared boxers in the game. I fought Witter when he was at that point. Devon fought Witter after I shattered everything I took what Witter wanted and what made Witter, holding on to the WBC belt. I pretty much gave Devon the blueprint to beat Witter. To outbox him, to stay patient. I softened him up. Witter had to come to my hometown which is ironic because I went to his and he had to come over to my hometown to face Devon. That shows you how hard it is, ask Witter. I fought him at his best.
Anson Wainwright – When you went to England, were you well looked after or was there some gamesmanship?
The hotel we stayed in was quite pleasant, the people, the concierge, everybody was very nice to me. When we arrived my room wasn’t ready. I arrived at 2 in the afternoon and the room wasn’t ready. So I had to sleep on the ground for 3 hours in the computer room, I was exhausted from the plane ride. Then I get in my room and my A.C doesn’t work. God forbid it was hot outside at that time. It was very hot and muggy in my room, I stuck it out. I just said this is what it’s all about, I’ll deal with it. So that went on. The day later they checked my weight and before I left the house I was 143 pounds and I’m like I should be lighter. I didn’t eat much on the plane, I drank a bottle of water. You know when you come off a plane your 2 or 3 pounds lighter because of radiation you become dehydrated on that plane. So I was 146 pounds and I was like what the hells going on here. I said they must be wrong. They said they’d check in a couple of days. So they came back two days later and I checked the scales again and was like 145 pounds. I was like I’ve been training the last few days, there’s no way I can be 145 pounds. So what I did was check my weigh on scales which I brought, I always bring my own scales. I weighed 142, so I went downstairs and said “Hey your scales are wrong” and my trainer told me to go back upstairs and what he did was take our scales, there scales and one from the training room and we got a 25Ibs dumbbell and placed them on each scale. My scale said 25Ibs, then we checked the training room scale and it said 25Ibs and we used there scale it said 28Ibs. We said that scale is wrong. Whether they were doing it on purpose or not, I don’t think they’d do it on purpose but maybe they were trying to drain me, make me work harder during the week than I should be. That was my experience fighting Witter for the Championship coming out hearing all the boo’s. It could get under your skin but like I say I was on a mission and there was no way I was losing that fight.
Anson Wainwright – They say that when a fighter wins a World title it makes him a better fighter. Would you say this is the case with you?
Tim Bradley – Absolutely, because of the confidence it goes a long way. When you have the confidence in yourself, you have that title wrapped around you or strapped across your chest you have something your fighting for. It makes you feel much better or greater. The fact you have a target on your back you work harder during training. You work harder because you want to keep that title it’s your bread and butter, that’s how you eat. So you improve.
Anson Wainwright – You were ringside for Khan-Maidana what did you think of that fight?
Tim Bradley – That fight was awesome, it was one of the best fights I’ve seen in a long time. Due to the fact Khan stood there at times, sat on the ropes. I figured Khan would move all night and make it easy on himself, I guess Maidana was able to close the gap on him and wear him out a bit. Khan was hitting him with serious combination’s. I bet Khan was like “Gee I’m hitting this guy with my best punches and this guys still in my face”. I don’t know if he was discouraged in there but they felt that pressure. I couldn’t get him out of his face. He boxed off the ropes, I don’t think that was part of the game plan at all. Khan showed a tremendous amount of heart, that he’s a true champion. He disproved me and the critics out there. He does have a chin. Maidana showed how clever he is and how he’s like a little pit bull. He has no quit in his heart, that makes for a dangerous guy especially with his heart, he’s fearless.
Anson Wainwright – Did you see things you could implement in your strategy against those guys?
Tim Bradley – Absolutely, Khan is really young, I’m young myself and we all have a lot to learn in this game. We’re not veterans yet. We’re still grooming ourselves into great fighters and superstars. I’m working on that, I’m going to get better. I feel Khan fought the best that he could and thank Khan for fighting that fight he did because we’d never known he had the heart he did. Let alone you see Maidana get up from an hellacious liver shot and comeback. This guys a freaking animal, I was blown away. These guys are tougher than I thought but there are things I can capitalize on with both fighters.
Anson Wainwright – Do you feel as though having gone to 147 and fought a big puncher like Abregu that the power of guys like Maidana wouldn’t be a problem for you down at 140?
Tim Bradley – Yeah absolutely. At 140 I think I’m a nightmare for anybody. Maidana I know would keep coming at me. I’d just get ready for that. Get on my toes, on my bicycle and just box him for 12 rounds and make it an easy fight. Don’t stand and trade with this guy. Pot shot him from the outside, make him miss, right, left and give him so many angles.
Anson Wainwright – You have only fought once in 2010 up at Welterweight. Why was this? How did you feel at 147?
Tim Bradley – I really wanted to test the waters at 147, I wanted to leave that option open. I needed a test, a strong test to see if Welterweight was for me or not. Luis Abregu was a bigger puncher, very dangerous, very big. He was very unproven but he still was a dangerous guy. This guy had hands of stone. I really wanted to show the Boxing world I’m willing to go up in weight and fight the best to see if I had the ability to withstand the punching power at that weight. I took Abregu’s power very well and I can compete with anybody at 147 in the world. I felt great, I felt stronger, I felt like I had a little bit more power in my punches. I was less tired at 147, I have to put a lot of energy at 147. I was able to put out a lot of energy but I had a lot in reserve. So it wasn’t as stressful on my body at 147, it’s more natural. I walk around about 160.
Anson Wainwright – What do you like to do away from Boxing to relax?
Tim Bradley – I’m a big car freak, I love cars. When I’m away from Boxing I like to go check out cars, go to auctions and look at some old school car’s, get on-line and look for some nice deals on some old school cars and pick them up. I like to spend time with family. I do a lot of community work, I go to different schools and talk to students, tell them high schools important and what school was like for me. I have a football league that I help run, I’m the president of Juniors in Cathedral City where I live. My daughter does gymnastics. So I’m pretty much a family type of guy. I stay close to home, I’m very spontaneous and whatever I want to do that day I do.
Anson Wainwright – Finally do you have a message for Boxing fans ahead of your fight with Alexander?
Tim Bradley – Pretty much to all Boxing fans out there. I love and appreciate the support from all my fans. Especially when I’m fighting I’m not only fighting for myself and family I’m fighting for my team, for god and my Boxing fans out there. There standing behind me and there giving me that backbone saying Timmy Bradley is a force to be reckoned with and everybody needs to recognize that and that means a lot to me. I don’t want Boxing fans to be like “Ah Tim Bradley’s a joke, I want them to say Tim Bradley delivers. I can depend on Tim Bradley, he’s going to put on a great show, he’s going to perform as best his best each time, i can trust him”.
Thanks for your time Tim, good luck on the 29 January.
Remaining tickets, priced from $25-$400, can be purchased at the Silverdome box office, by calling (248) 338-2500 or online at www.silverdometickets.com.
HBO Boxing: Ring Life – Timothy Bradley
What inspires Timothy Bradley in and out of the ring? Alexander vs. Bradley happens Sat., Jan. 29th at 10pm ET/7pm PT on HBO