HBO has provided its second round of training blogs, taken from interviews with WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley and four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez in advance of their Oct. 12 fight on HBO Pay Per View.
In his last fight, Bradley (30-0, 12 knockouts) rose from a 12th-round knockdown to secure a unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in defense of the title he won by split-decision over Manny Pacquiao.
Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs), who turned 40 in August, last scored a sixth-round knockout of Pacquiao.
BRADLEY SEEKS TO ‘RETIRE THE GREAT JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ’
In the blog, Bradley answers the question: Fighting with a concussion, you displayed tremendous courage and conviction against Provodnikov. Do you feel this determination and will is your strongest quality as a fighter, or is there another specific quality you possess that Marquez will not be able to match?
Bradley: I definitely agree that my will and determination is something which differentiates me from other fighters. I may not be the most skilled or most loved fighter, but I am a warrior and that cannot be taken from me.
It will take a real smart fighter to ever beat me. I have yet to meet that man in the ring. I have the insatiable hunger and desire to win, to remain undefeated. Against Provodnikov, I went after him even though I was hurt.
I knew, going in, he would be a strong, tough, dangerous fighter, but that didn’t stop me from coming out throwing hard punches. In the third round he landed a very big, powerful punch.
My corner was yelling at me to ‘box, box, box.’ Once I started to box, it was a lot easier for me. Provodnikov felt my punches. His face was swollen when the fight was over. It takes a lot of hard punches to do that.
Marquez is a late-bloomer who got better and better. He is a legend and the greatest Mexican fighter of his era. He has a great trainer in Nacho Beristain, but they will never stop my will to win.
I will win because I have to win. It’s in my DNA, and I will be a bigger name because of my will to win. I have one goal — go into the ring, win and retire the great Juan Manuel Marquez.
MARQUEZ LOOKS TO BECOME MEXICO’S FIRST FIVE-DIVISION TITLEWINNER
In the second blog, provided by HBO on Sept. 23, Marquez answers the question: As one of the best conditioned 40-year-olds in boxing, how have you managed to stay in such tremendous shape, what type of training do you do before a fight, and, yet, more importantly, what type of training do you do when you aren’t preparing for a fight?
Since I became a professional boxer, I have understood the importance of staying in good shape between fights, and I have always tried to adapt to any new trends as far as physical conditioning goes for professional athletes. Boxing is a very difficult sport, and there are a lot of sacrifices that need to be made during training camp, but also in between fights.
A good diet is important to stay healthy and in good shape. While I don’t keep the same diet between fights, I try not to over indulge on food either. For many years, I rarely stay away from the gym. Sometimes, I would only take a week off after fight before I went back to gym. But as I have gotten older and more experienced, I have learned to stay away from the gym and learned how to relax and let my body recuperate after a long training camp.
Rest between fights has become a very important part of my training routine. While I never thought that I would be fighting at this age, I have never felt that I should retire just because of my age. My body continues to feel good, and mentally I feel at top of my game. The fact that I have changed my preparation for my fights — adapting to my age — has also helped.
Doing things differently has prevented my training from becoming boring and tedious. Going up in weight has also helped me stay in the sport this long. I fought a lot of years at 126 pounds, but rapidly progressed to 147. From 1993, when I made my pro debut until 2007, when I fought for the 130-pound championship, I was a featherweight and got my first world title in that 126-pound division.
From 2007 until now, I have fought at 130, 135, 140 and 147 pounds. I have also won championships in those divisions except for 147 pounds, where I am looking to become the first M├®xican to win five world titles in five different weight divisions. While it has not be easy to stay at top of my game for this long, I have learned to give my body the rest it needs and the work it needs to get me through these very difficult and challenging bouts.
The key has been my ability to stay focused on what I need to do between fights, and, once I get into training camp, the ability to work hard and stay disciplined. I was in the gym when Daniel Zaragoza was winning championship fights in his late 30’s, early 40’s and thinking how hard he worked to keep up his condition to be ready to fight much younger guys. But now, here I am in the same position, and looking forward to getting in the ring and doing what I do best, which is winning.
TOP RANK SIGNS WBA FEATERWEIGHT TITLEHOLDER NICHOLAS WALTERS
WBA 126-pound beltholder Nicholas Walters, of Jamaica, has signed with Top Rank, and will debut with the company with his first defense against an opponent to be determined on the undercard of a Nov. 9 tripleheader from The American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Walters will be part of the international and not the Amercan telecast of the HBO-televised card, which will include RING featherweight champion Mikey Garcia challenging WBO junior lightweight beltholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez, as well as the 126-pound debut for Nonito Donaire in a rematch with Vic Darchinyan. The card will also feature junior middleweights Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade in a clash for the WBO’s vacant belt.
“We are delighted Nicholas Walters, a WBA featherweight champion, has become a Top Rank fighter,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
“We really envision greatness for Walters and his future. His first fight will be a world title defense in Corpus Christi on Nov. 9. Our boxing card there now will include four major fights, including three world championships, and unquestionably, this will be the greatest fight card ever in Corpus Christi.”
Walters (22-0, 18 KOs) won the vacant belt with his second consecutive knockout, scoring three knockdowns during a seventh-round stoppage of Daulis Prescott in December.
“It’s a dream and a privilege come true for me to be with Top Rank, the top promotional company in the world,” said Walters, who is nicknamed “The Axeman.”
“As they have made many great fighters with the likes of [Muhammad] Ali, [Sugar Ray] Leonard, and [Oscar] De La Hoya just to name a few, I hope that they will help me reach my different goals in the future.”
Arum also said that IBF featherweight titleholder Evgeny Gradovich will face former titleholder Billy Dib, who is promoted by 50 Cent (aka Curtis Jackson), in a rematch on the undercard of the 147-pound bout between Pacquiao and Brandon Rios on Nov. 24 in Macau, China (Nov. 23 in the western hemisphere).
Dib rebounded from being dethroned by Gradovich via split decsion in March with a majority decision over Mike Oliver in July. Gradovich, meanwhile, made his first defense with a unanimous decision over Mauricio Javier Munoz also in July.
In addition, Arum confirmed reports that 122-pound champion Guillermo Rigondeaux will return to the ring on Dec. 7 or Dec. 14.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]