Undefeated WBO junior welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley and undefeated welterweight contender Luis Carlos “El Potro” Abregu hosted an international media conference call on Monday to discuss their July 17 bout at the Agua Caliente Casino • Resort • Spa in Rancho Mirage, California. Here is what was said…
Gary Shaw: The HBO-televised portion of the July 17 card in The Show at Agua Caliente Casino Resort will open with a 12-round junior middleweight fight between Alfredo Angulo and Joachim Alcine. Angulo is one of boxing’s most exciting fighters and Alcine, a former world champion, presents the single toughest fight of Angulo’s career. Everybody is calling this a pick ’em fight. So it’ll be a very, very interesting fight to see if Alfredo can hunt down another foe and advance to the front of the line of the 154-pounders.
The main event, Timothy Bradley, the single best 140-pound fighter in the world, recognized on everyone’s Top-10 pound for pound list, is moving up to 147 pounds to show off his wares. Against Carlos Abregu, who is Argentinian Arturo Gatti. Carlos fights like Garrt, and when he gets knocked down, he comes back roaring and has produced some spectacular knockouts himself.
So it’ll be a very, very excellent card. I want to thank HBO and Agua Caliente for presenting the card to the fans.
Alex Camponovo: I want to thank HBO for giving us the great opportunity to be on their network. Also, to Agua Caliente Casino Resort and Spa which has become the official house of Timothy Bradley. This will be his third fight at that wonderful venue at the show. And also to Gary Shaw, who is a partner and more than anything a great dear friend. And we’re very excited and thrilled to see Timothy Bradley move up into the Welterweight Division.
As Gary just mentioned, this will be a fantastic event, not only with the opening bout between Alcine and Angulo, but the main event of Bradley and Abregu. Abregu is a guy that always comes to fight. He’s a real threat to Timothy Bradley, an undefeated fighter that is going to have the attitude of taking no prisoners. And Timothy is going to be testing himself in what should be a very, very intriguing fight.
Timothy Bradley: First of all, I want to thank God for this opportunity and thanks to my promoters, Gary Shaw and Thompson Boxing, my manager, Cameron Duncan, HBO, for putting me on for the first time, and Agua Caliente for hosting it. It’s going to be a great, great, exciting fight.
I can’t wait to see what I can do at 147 pounds. I’ve been looking at Carlos Abregu. He looks like a strong fighter, a basic fighter. Let’s get it on. Let’s get it on, baby. I’m excited. I’m very happy.
I’m back in my hometown at Agua Caliente. I’ve got 2,000 of the best fans. It’s not about how many fans there are, it’s about how the fans act. They’re going to see another great fight and a great victory.
Carlos Abregu: I appreciate greatly this opportunity to fight against Bradley. I’m very comfortable as a visitor to fight him. I have any problem fighting in Bradley’s territory. I’m going to win this fight.
Questions and Answers
Q: Since this is your first fight as a welterweight what exactly differently have you been doing in training to get prepared for this big fight?
Timothy Bradley: I’ve been doing a little bit more strength training. You know me, I don’t do a whole lot of strength training when I go down at 140, but I’ve been doing a little bit more strength training a couple of days during the week to keep my strength up there.
I don’t want the big guy to try to bully me around in there. I want to be just as strong as he is, if not stronger. But that’s pretty much it. It’s basically the same. I train hard for every single fight like it’s my last fight. And I’m very excited about this fight. And I’m ready to show the world, man, what I can do at 147 pounds.
Q: Timothy, I’m looking at your boxing record and you did fight as a welterweight earlier in your career. Can you talk a little bit about that? I believe it’s four years ago, you fought at 147 pounds in California. What was that experience like?
Timothy Bradley: I fought Francisco Rincon. I fought at 147 pounds. He’s like a 6 foot 1, 6 foot, very tall, very strong, big puncher. He wasn’t that different. He was just bigger — a little bit bigger. I like my opponents bigger. I like to definitely get inside of them.
I’m a lot quicker than they are. They leave their hands down a lot – a lot longer than I do, and maybe I will make them pay. That’s pretty much it.
I know Abregu is a big puncher. But he can’t hit what’s not there. So he’s going to have a hard night in there with me. I’m quick. I’ve got a lot of footwork. I’m going to give him a lot of angles I’m going to give him and he’s going to see a big difference from the opponent that he is used to fighting and me. He’ll see a big difference.
Q: You were hoping to fight at 140, but I’m wondering if you’re successful in this fight that you’re just going to leave 140 and stay at 147 and hopefully get, big, big money fights with somebody be it Mosley, Pacquiao, Mayweather, whoever.
Is that kind of the game plan you and Cameron Dunkin and Gary have come up with?
Timothy Bradley: I don’t know. I’m not sure what’s going on. I’ll fight any weight. Cameron and Gary have been doing a great job. They’re picking my fights and whatever these guys want me to do, I’m willing to do it.
If I need to fight at 147 pounds, that’s what I’m going to do. If they want me to go back down to 140 and face anybody at 140, we’ll do that too. So it really doesn’t matter to me, man. It really doesn’t matter.
Q: Cameron, what are your thoughts about the idea of Timothy staying at 147 if he does a good job on July 17th?
Cameron Dunkin: Well, in fact, when Gary and I first talked about this, Gary said that it’ll open up a whole new division to him and there are a lot of big names there and a lot of money.
So, I think we’ll just sort of play it out. It’s been hard to get anybody (in the ring) with Timmy. So I think Gary thought, and you can ask Gary, that it opens another door and then we’ll see what happens from here.
Q: Gary, what are your thoughts?
Gary Shaw: Exactly what everybody else said. This gives us another opportunity. If he beats Carlos Abregu we move up to 147 if there’s a fight there with Pacquiao or Mayweather. And if not, there is Devon Alexander, who does nothing but talk about Timmy Bradley from morning until when he goes to sleep with his trainer.
Q: Timothy, you have been thinking for awhile about fighting Maidana and, of course, we all know what happened and he pulled out twice. How difficult is it for you specifically to be thinking about one particular fighter and then starts training for somebody else?
As far as psychologically, is there a transition that you have to make to psych yourself up for a different fighter?
Timothy Bradley: No, not at all. We had enough time to prepare for the switch. They’re both power punchers. They both come forward and like to fight. So there wasn’t a big change.
We have more than enough time to really focus on our techniques and our plans. Not a big problem at all.
Q: Timothy, what would a victory over an undefeated 147-pounder like Abregu do for your career just as far as the way people think about you? How much would it (enhance) it?
Timothy Bradley: I hope it’ll move me in a – I hope it’ll move me in Pound for Pound, top 10 Pound for Pound. I just hope this launches another big fight. I want to fight the big names in the game and I feel that I – I should get my just due sooner or later.
But if that doesn’t happen, I’m just going to continue on fighting, continue on winning, and that is what’s important right now. As long as I can continue on winning, the fight has to happen sooner or later. A big fight.
Q: Gary, what were your thoughts when you found out the real skinny on Maidana and why he has to pull out? I guess he admitted finally that he does have some pretty serious managerial problems. What were your thoughts about all of that?
Gary Shaw: I was very angry at both Maidana, his manager and Golden Boy. Because to tell us and HBO that he’s injured, two times, and make Timmy sit on the sideline is just plain wrong. And then he lied and he should be punished for it.
For Carlos Abregu, it opened up a new door for him to get this fight so it wasn’t all bad news.
Q: The one thing I want to ask you Timmy and your management team is, now you’re fighting at 147, is this going to be the case for you as you’re going after the opportunities whether it’s 147 or 140, or would you prefer to stay in one weight class and focus on that for a while? Does that make sense?
Timothy Bradley: Yes. You know, that’s – that’s a question for my manager and promoter, man.
Q: But you, what would you prefer?
Timothy Bradley: It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all. As long as it’s the right fight I want to fight the big names. It depends if I win this fight or when I win this fight and for a big name to come out. I would definitely take that fight. If not, then I can always go back down to 140 and stay down at 140.
Q: Gary and Cameron, is it OK for Timmy to bounce around in weight classes or ideally would it be better for him to focus on one weight class for awhile?
Gary Shaw: I’ve got to speak to Cameron, and I’m sure Cameron agrees with me, you go where the biggest fights are for Timmy Bradley. He’s the number one fighter at 140 pounds in the world.
And if there’s enough money at 147 and he shows he can handle the weight and he’s comfortable and Mosley is there, Berto is there, or Pacquiao or Mayweather, then he’ll fight them. If not, we know Devon Alexander is sitting there by his dog bone, panting.
Q: Timmy, coming in to this fight, are there any worries, on your part, about rust, because it’s been a little while since you fought?
Timothy Bradley: No, not all. Just a lot more sparring and the ring rust shouldn’t be there. Just put the work in the gym and you shouldn’t have the ring rust. I’m not worried about it at all.
I’ve been off for a little while, though. (I’m not going to lie). I’ve been off for a little while, but as soon as we get into the ring my body just naturally reacts. I’m a fighter. I’ll be in there. I’ll be ready. It’ll be a good fight.
Q: Take us through the procedure, 33 days out from this fight, as to how you come in at 147? You gradually gain weight over the next month or do you already have that weight and you just chisel it and keep it in good condition until fight night? How does that actually work?
Timothy Bradley: I’m coming down right now on weight. I went up, I went up about 165 pounds and now I’m tearing it down to 147 pounds. Right now, I’m about 155…
I’ve been training for about four weeks now. I’m feeling great. I’m just going to maintain it. I’m going to maintain it at about 155 pounds and then I’m going to slowly start tapering it down, you know, closer to the fight.
I don’t want to come in too light.
Q: I’ve seen some of your fights and speed is critical to you. Do you feel that you might lose a little speed because you’re holding around the extra poundage?
Timothy Bradley: Not at all. I think that I’m going to be a lot stronger and a lot quicker at this weight.
Gary Shaw: Timmy, I didn’t know you were that high, maybe we’ll go to 154 next. I’ll call Cameron, you know, after this call.
Timothy Bradley: Hey, we can go there too. Let’s go up 154 and fight Cotto, right?
Gary Shaw: Oh, I will do that in a heartbeat.
Timothy Bradley: Let’s go fight Paul Williams. Spiderman. We call him the Spiderman, with his freaking monkey arms, longer arms, man.
Q: I’m looking forward to seeing you fight in the 147 weight class. But, as you mentioned, you can go back to 140 pounds and your co-promoter Gary Shaw has been talking a lot about the comments that have been coming out of the camp of Devon Alexander and his trainer, the manager Kevin Cunningham.
Please give your take on the division as a whole. You are at the top and then there’s a bunch of other guys that have a lot of talent and probably can make quite a few good fights also. What are your thoughts about future fights potentially with guys like Alexander or Amir Khan or maybe if Maidana can get his stuff together that matchup, which I know had been planned at one point.
What do you think, it’s a good division?
Timothy Bradley: I want to fight all of them. I want every last one of those guys. It just has to be right.
You know, these fights should mature a little bit longer – maybe a year from now, maybe at the beginning of next year. I get a couple of good wins. Devon gets a couple of wins. Maybe HBO can put us both on the same card, build the fight up so it can be worth some megabucks, man. You know, that’s pretty much it.
But all those guys, I want to fight all of them, all of them. I want to fight Devon. I want to fight Maidana because we definitely need to see who’s the best at 140. Even though they’ve got me number one at 140, I’ll be only the best at 140 here. So until that happens then we can say that I am absolutely the champion at 140.
Q: What do you think of those fights in the future? Can bounce around?
Timothy Bradley: No doubt. No doubt. Those fights – and they have to happen. They have to happen, you know, and they will happen.
Q: You mentioned Devon and Maidana. I didn’t hear you mention Khan. Is that somebody in your mind as well even though they probably wouldn’t want to make that fight with you?
Timothy Bradley: You know, we’ve been trying to get at Khan for awhile now. I know Mr. Shaw told me that he tried to get in contact with Khan’s people before he went over to Golden Boy. He was negotiating with them. And then the phone went dead. You know what I mean?
So we’ve been trying to get a fight with Khan. Freddie Roach knows we want that fight. Maidana, and Alexander too. But it’s like I said, it’s just have to make sense dollarwise.
And I know people don’t like to hear that, but it’s the business. It is a business and I do want to fight these guys. I’m not afraid of these guys and I am willing to go to St. Louis or wherever Devon Alexander is and I will fight him in his hometown. That is an option too.
Q: I’ve heard the comments from both sides, your side as well as from Devon Alexander’s side in particular. The way I see this – and I – it’s kind of fun actually, I don’t see this as anybody, particularly, literally ducking somebody or another, but it’s just good fun back and forth in two sides trying to build up a fight that would be big now, but certainly can be much, much bigger in a little bit.
Is that how you take it? You don’t honestly think that Devon is ducking you, do you? Or do you just see it the way I do that it’s good back and forth to try to stoke interest in what could be a very major fight?
Timothy Bradley: That’s exactly it. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do.
Gary Shaw: Timmy, let me bring you and everybody else on this call up to date.
I was up at HBO this week, unbeknownst to anybody. I offered to do 140-pound tournament with Timothy Bradley, Devon Alexander, Amir Khan, and if Marquez beats Diaz, he could be in the tournament as well.
I suggested that we have a press conference and we pull names out of a bottle. If we pulled Devon Alexander, then we fight Devon. If we pull Amir Khan, then we fight Amir Khan or Marquez or any other 140-pound that they want to put in there. Then Golden Boy said no.
And of course Amir Khan doesn’t want to fight Timothy Bradley. Timothy Bradley will fight anybody, and, to Devon Alexander’s credit, he’ll fight anybody. But it’s the other two that wouldn’t fight.
Q: Well hopefully that can happen at some point. This is going to be your first fight on HBO among boxing fans that are really hardcore. They sure know who you are because they’ve seen many of your boxing matches on Showtime. HBO, I guess, is in almost double the homes that Showtime is in.
What does it mean to you to go from what’s been a series of very good fights on Showtime, a good network, of course, onto what is a much bigger stage on HBO?
Timothy Bradley: It’s a dream come true. Fighting on HBO means a lot to me and my team. Finally we get an opportunity to fight on HBO which definitely should bring my name up. It definitely should help – HBO is definitely going to help me brand Timothy Bradley, and that’s exactly what I’ve been waiting on.
And Showtime did an excellent job with me, building me up. I take none away from Showtime. Showtime’s always going to be in my heart, but HBO’s a bigger network. Who’s going to view my fights in more homes around the world and it’s going to be a good look, man. It’s going to be a great, great opportunity and I’m looking to take advantage of it.
I’m here to win, man, and I’m here and I’m not worried about how I look or what people say about me. As long as I get the W at the end of the night, that’s all that matters to me.
Q: What you’re doing right now reminds me a little bit of what Ray Leonard did before he fought Tommy Hearns. He went up in weight class, but he got a title out of Ayub Kalule, and it did kind of stoke interest. Do you see this as that type of a risk — moving up in weight? And is it worth all that you will get out of it?
Timothy Bradley: It’s a big risk. It’s a big – it’s a big risk, moving up in weight. This is a type of fight that separates stars. If I can do this and go up in weight and be successful I can become a star.
Winning another World Title on 147 pounds, that would be awesome.
I’m just looking for the best fights out there. I’m just trying to – like my manager and my promoter said — put ourselves in a position for some good fights out there, either at 140, 147 pounds.
Q: This is a double question for both Cameron and for Gary. Is part of this also the frustration of what you see down the line of not being able to make those potential 140-pound fights that you’ve been trying to make?
Gary Shaw: As the promoter, no, I’m not frustrated. I know I have the number one fighter in the world at 140 pounds, and I know that Top Rank right now, like Golden Boy, is trying to do all their fights in-house. Well, eventually the public and the writers hopefully will force their fighters out of their in-house mentality to fight the best in the world. And what’s hurting our sport is that the greatest fighters in the world are not fighting the greatest fighters in the world.
So, right now, we’re doing what we think is the right thing, Cameron and I, and Alex, with Timmy, and opening up a new vista for him at 147 pounds. Like you said, he fought at 152 in the amateurs and if we have to take on some of those 154s, maybe we will. When someone has real talent like Timothy Bradley, and he has real talent, he’ll fight anybody in the world. And credit to Carlos Abregu, he’ll fight anybody in the world, and that’s why he’s undefeated.
This fight is very, very interesting for Timmy. Can he move up in weight and fight one of the premier guys at 147 pounds. He’s not fighting a guy that has 10 loses on his records. He’s fighting a guy who’s absolutely 100 percent undefeated. And for Carlos Abregu, it’s his opportunity to show the world that he’s a legitimate 147 pound contender and that he belongs on HBO.
Q: Cameron, can you address that question also?
Cameron Dunkin: Sure. Timmy Bradley is a real, real talent, and whether it’s 140 or 147 or whatever, he’s in a position in his career where he’s got to fight big fights and make his money and it always comes back to money. But Timmy also has a lot of pride and he wants to fight them all as he keeps telling you.
So, yes. Gary and I just thought we open another door and we’re not chasing anybody. He’s champion of the world, like Gary said. He doesn’t have to chase anybody. He’s still going to fight, and HBO is going to love him and Showtime’s going to love him and his fans are going to love him, and true boxing fans are going to love him.
So, that’s going to happen anyway, but it just opens another door where everybody can say, hey, this guy can fight anybody and he should be fighting the best fighters in the world.
Q: Tim, do you lose anything in making 140? Is it hard to make 140 and easier to make 147 for you?
Timothy Bradley: It’s not really hard to make 140. It’s not that hard. I just have to be on a diet a lot longer. But it’s a lot easier to make 147 because I don’t have to squeeze down and take a little bit of my water out of my system.
I can just leave it there, and I can have a heck of a performance, because I have all of my vitality and all my vitamins and minerals and everything, and I haven’t depleted any of them, so I’m curious to see how I’m going to feel, man, at 147 pounds. I should just be just as strong at 147 than I am at 140.
Gary Shaw: Before (inaudible), before you ask that question, I’m going to say something, but I’m just going to (caution you) that I’ve not spoken to Timmy about it nor have I spoken to Cameron about it. But I believe if Cotto would fight him, I would do that fight. But, again, I want to (caution you) that I’ve not spoken with Timmy or Cameron, or Alex, to that matter. But that’s my own personal opinion. I think he knocks Cotto out.
Q: Carlos, do you feel that you are in any way being overlooked, not only during this conference call but in general by Tim?
Carnlos Abregu: No. Bradley is making a mistake not taking me seriously. I’m going to win this fight and I’m a definite, serious opponent for Bradley.
Q: Hey, Tim, your camp is pretty close to Abregu’s former camp. Did you guys ever spar together?
Timothy Bradley: No, we never sparred together.
Q: You’ve probably seen a lot of tape – a lot of his fights because he is on Showtime too. How would you describe the style?
Timothy Bradley: He’s a basic fighter, big right in, big right uppercut. I know what he likes to do. He likes to set up as much as off his jab, and that lower left hook he likes to throw, especially for the big right hand.
Every now and then he likes to throw a straight right hand to the body.. He doesn’t move a lot. His defense is not all that great. He’s a good fighter, He’s dangerous because he can punch. He’s very dangerous because of his punch and he’s very unorthodox. He’s very tall, got long arms, and that’s what makes him dangerous.