It ‘s not easy trying to stay cool this time of year when you reside in the desert community of North Palm Springs, Calif., where temperatures hover around or top 100 degrees nearly every day and night. Factor in the heat former undisputed lightweight champion Nate “Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell is expected to bring on Saturday, Aug. 1, and one might expect unbeaten world junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley to be a tad on edge these days. But less than two weeks away from the biggest and perhaps toughest fight of his career, “Desert Storm” not only is coping with the elements in and out of the ring, but he is relishing the opportunity to prove that he is the No. 1 140 pounder in the world.
Photos: Carlos Baeza/Thompson Boxing Promotions
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“There is a lot of excitement as we get closer,” said Bradley, who will defend his World Boxing Organization title against the always dangerous Campbell at The Show at Agua Caliente Casino • Resort • Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif. The classy venue is located less than 10 miles from where Bradley grew up.
“I am very eager to prove to myself to my fans that I am the best at 140. It does not make a difference that it is close to home, but it is actually an honor to be able to fight in a place where there will be fans that will be rooting for me.”
Headlining at home can be a distraction, but for the most part it has been business as usual for the 25-year-old Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs) as he prepares for the hard hitting Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KOs) of Jacksonville, Fla.
“Training wise, not much has changed,” Bradley said. “I still wake up and run eight miles in the morning, eat, and then rest. Gym workout starts at noon and we do three hours there. I spar every other day and work on my strength training for three days. Every Monday and Wednesday, I assist with a tackle football program for kids 7-14 (that he helped start) in Cathedral City. I work with them on conditioning. I still find time to relax by hanging out with my children at home. We watch movies, play basketball, board games and dance and tell jokes all day.”
The event, which includes a 140-pound world title fight between ex-world titleholder Junior Witter (37-2-2, 22 KOs) of England and Devon Alexander (18-0, 11 KOs), the most highly touted fighter to come out of St. Louis since four time world champion Cory Spinks, for the World Boxing Council title – the belt Bradley voluntarily relinquished – is the biggest, most significant boxing card in the history of the Coachella Valley.
But there is no doubt that Bradley is the star of a show promoted by Gary Shaw Productions and Thompson Boxing Promotions in association with Don King Productions and Agua Caliente Casino • Resort • Spa.
One can’t travel too many miles without seeing one of the numerous billboards in the area promoting the event.
“Yes, absolutely, I have seen many of those billboards,” Bradley said. “I never thought my face would be on a giant billboard. I believe that all my prayers are being answered. I feel more and more blessed every day.”
Bradley isn’t sure how the scheduled 12 rounder will play out with Campbell.
“It is hard to say. I can’t dissect him because I have not been in the ring with him,” Bradley said. “However, I think that my youth and speed will be huge advantages against him.”
Like so many, Bradley was deeply saddened by the recent deaths of boxing greats, Alexis Arguello and Arturo Gatti.
“Arguello is a legend, and his death is a huge loss to the sport of boxing. He was an ambassador of good will, an amazing three time world champion and true gentleman inside and outside of the ring.” Bradley said. On Gatti: “I had the pleasure of meeting him at my last fight in Montreal, Canada. He was there for my fight against Kendall Holt and came over to congratulate me after the fight. I was excited to meet one of the greatest warriors of the sport and of all time. We lost him too soon. I wish his son and family continue to stay strong as they go through the grieving process of having lost a big part of their life and we should all keep in our hearts all of the thrilling memories of him inside the ring.”