Bradley takes shot at Pacquiao
Timothy Bradley is undefeated, a two-time titleholder and confident. He also seems to be frustrated about the perception of a particular fighter from the Philippines.
The product of the Southern California desert town of Palm Springs said a victory over Nate Campbell on Aug. 1 in neighboring Rancho Mirage will solidify his position as the top 140-pounder in the world. Then he remembered Manny Pacquiao.
Bradley is rated No. 1 at 140 pounds by THE RING, one notch below champion Pacquiao.
“Manny Pacquiao is the best fighter supposedly ÔÇª whatever,” he said Thursday on a conference call, which included Campbell. “He’s the poster kid. He’s not fighting the best in the division, though. He’s fighting bigger fighters who are cutting weight and chopping them up because they’re weakened coming down in weight.”
Yes, it sounds like sour grapes. However, no one can say Bradley (24-0, 11 knockouts) is just sitting around complaining; he’s fighting hard to get to the top.
Case in point: He will have fought three of the best 140-pounders in the world in a 14-month period, an extremely impressive feat.
He went to England and narrowly beat Junior Witter in May of last year to win the WBC belt, he survived the only two knockdowns of his career to outpoint Kendall Holt and win the WBO version of the title, and he faces Campbell a week from Saturday.
He has a long way to go before he catches Pacquiao but he’s on the rise.
“To be the best, you have to beat the best,” Bradley said. “He’s one of the best fighters at 140 pounds, including myself. That’s the reason I’m taking the challenge. I want to be the best fighter in the world at 140. I have to beat Nate Campbell to do that.”
The fighters engaged in some spirited trash talking on the conference call but it was good natured. They seem to respect one another.
Bradley was asked what he thought of Campbell’s stunning split-decision upset victory over then-undefeated Juan Diaz last year in Cancun, Mexico. Clearly, he was impressed. And Campbell’s subsequent majority-decision victory over tall, hard-punching South African Ali Funeka? Again, impressive.
So what makes Bradley think he’ll fare any better against the seasoned old (37) veteran?
“Because I’m not Juan Diaz,” he said. “I’m not one dimensional. He’s one dimensional; he can’t move, he can’t box, he can’t adjust in the ring. What makes me confident is that I can pretty much do it all – box, bang, stand and trade. I can move and I can fight too.
“I can make adjustments in the ring. That’s what makes me feel a lot more confidence.”
Meanwhile, Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KOs) will be fighting for the first time in an official 140-pound bout.
He lost the 135-pound titles he took from Diaz when he failed to make weight against Funeka in February. He weighed in at 137¾.
He said he was on weight Thursday.
“You’re able to shrink down when you’re young,” he said. “As you get older, you can’t shrink down as much; you lose strength. I’m feeling stronger than when I’ve been at a higher weight. I feel really, really strong. I’ll be here for a while.”
More disrespect: Bradley took a shot at the sport’s pound-for-pound king. Not to be outdone, Campbell took one at another well-known 140-pounder – Amir Khan.
Khan took the WBA’s version of the junior welterweight title when he easily outpointed Andreas Kotelnik last Saturday in the UK, only three fights removed from a first-round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott.
“Is that spelled CON?” Campbell said, purposely misspelling Khan’s name. “I don’t know how that boy got a title shot. That boy there shouldn’t fight for a junior title let alone a world title. Didn’t Prescott take his lunch money a few months ago?”
Bradley showed more respect for the talented Englishman, who is 22.
“He better hold onto the title as long as he can,” Bradley said. “That's all I have to say. I don't have much to say … congrats on winning the world title. He fought a smart fight. Congrats to him. Basically, that's all I can say. I can't say anything bad. He won a world title. He beat a good, seasoned guy. Kotelnik had been in the ring with Witter and so on. Good job. Congrats.”
Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]