By Francisco Salazar
Photos: Big Joe Miranda
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Although a world title will be on the line, it is the fighters who are garnering most of the attention. Most members of the media, and fight fans, seem to be paying more attention to the fighters in a bout that could be a candidate for fight of the year. Timothy Bradley defends his version of the 140 pound title when he squares off against former world champion Nate Campbell at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage, CA. The bout, which takes place on Saturday, August 1st, will be televised on Showtime. Gary Shaw Productions and Thompson Boxing Promotions will promote the card.
For the undefeated Bradley, it will a homecoming of sorts as he his born and raised in the Coachella Valley area of Southern California. The fight card will take place only minutes from hometown of Palm Springs. While some fighters tend to not fight to their potential against top contenders or champions because they are fighting in or near their hometown, Bradley believes it will not be a problem for him.
“I believe I can do anything if I can go to England and beat Junior Witter,” said Bradley at a press conference at the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, CA. “I want a challenge for this fight and I know that Nate will give me that. I think that he is an under rated fighter.”
Campbell, who admits admiring and respecting Bradley for the way he carries himself inside and outside the ring, agrees that this fight is more for boxing fans than for a world title.
“I’m at the point in my career where I have to fight,” said Campbell, who enters this fight on a five-fight winning streak. “No one wanted to touch me when I had the three world titles as a lightweight. I just want to fight. I’m still a blue-collar guy who loves to fight.”
Promoter Gary Shaw pointed out that the fight was able to be made because both fighters wanted to fight and were willing to accept conditions to make the fight happen. Although Bradley could have taken an “easier” fight, Shaw pointed out that Bradley wanted a strong challenge in his hometown.
“These are two fighter who re willing to fight anybody. These are two fighters who were willing to fight anywhere. I commend Nate for coming into Bradley’s backyard.” Shaw added, “Timothy wants to fight the best in the world. And that is Nate. There are three top fighters in the 140-pound division. That is Timothy, Nate, and Manny Pacquiao.”
Shaw also announced that the co-main event will be Junior Witter and Devon Alexander for a vacant world title that Bradley once held. Bradley gave up the title because he felt that Alexander was not a worthy challenger and because a Campbell fight was more attractive.
“That is just how the politics of boxing go,” explained Shaw, of the WBC demanding that Bradley defend against Alexander before Bradley relinquished the title. “Timothy winning the title against Junior Witter and being forced to defend against Devon. Now Junior and Devon will fight for the title. I will not be surprised if the winners of both bouts call each other out.”
Nonetheless, the Coachella Valley, which has produced quality fighters in brothers Antonio and Julio Diaz and now Timothy Bradley, will enjoy a great night of boxing headlined by Bradley himself.
“This is the fight of the century for the Coachella Valley,” said promoter Ken Thompson. “Timothy is a home-grown fighter who is coming back to fight in his hometown. The Coachella Valley has been waiting to see a fantastic fight card.”
Thompson Boxing Promotions General Manager and matchmaker Alex Camponovo summed it up best in describing both fighters and what will happen on Saturday, August 1st.
“Both fighters did not have to take the fight. But, both fighters want to fight the best. Timothy wants to be a legend and to do that, he has to go in there with a great fighter in Nate. This will be a great fight on August 1st”