A hotly-contested 140-pound world title unification fight between confident, talented world champions Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley and Kendall “Rated R” Holt will take place on Saturday, April 4, live on SHOWTIME at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). In what is being called the biggest international boxing event in Montreal, Canada, since Roberto Duran defeated Sugar Ray Leonard nearly 30 years ago, Bradley and Holt will meet at the historic Bell Centre to unify their respective WBC and WBO titles. In the co-feature on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, Librado Andrade (27-2, 21 KOs) returns to Montreal to take on Ukraine’s Vitali Tsypko (22-2, 12 KOs) in an IBF super middleweight elimination bout. The main event fighters and their promoters spoke on an international media conference call Thursday.
The following are highlights from the call:
“I’m very excited about this fight. It’s going to give me a chance to prove that I’m one of the best 140-pounders in the world by beating Kendall Holt. I’m just happy and just ready to get it on.
“I’m just training and letting everything fall into place. It’s a great opportunity and another step to my ultimate goal and that’s to capture all the world titles at 140 pounds. Then I’ll go into 147. I’m used to fighting bigger and taller guys, so bigger guys are not a problem for me.
On what was tough about fighting Junior Witter:
“It was just mainly keeping my faith, going in there with a game plan and executing it. What was so hard about that fight was the mental part. The mental part was the toughest. A lot of fighters get in a fight and think it’s more physical than mental. I think it’s more mental than physical when you actually get in the ring and fight. You do all the training and preparing for the fight.
“Mentally it was tough for me to get on board. I had had to go overseas, fight the champion, a switch hitter at that, with power. I just kept my faith, I just kept strong and listened to my corner and we came out with a victory.”
His thoughts on Kendall Holt:
“I thought his last fight (against Demetrius Hopkins) was a great performance with the changed opponent. He’s a great fighter. He has speed, power, movement and footwork. He’s a really clever guy in the ring and that’s what makes him a world champion. I take nothing away from Kendall Holt.
“He’s a force to be reckoned with, he’s a great fighter, but I just think I’m better.
“I’m a dog. I come to fight against those taller guys. They have those longer arms but I can get inside of him. It’s going to be a little tricky to get inside of Kendall Holt because he’s a little tall and a little lanky, and he uses his reach, but we prepared ourselves for everything. If he wants to bang, we can bang. If he wants to box, we can box, too. Whatever is working in the ring that night, that’s what we’ll do. We just have to find that ability to adjust to stay on top of him. We came up with about three or four different game plans. It just all has to work out the night of the fight and I’ll definitely be victorious.”
On how he stays hungry:
“Staying hungry? That’s really easy. You got to live like a poor man. You got to be hungry. You got to be thirsty. I live like a poor man. I don’t have rims on my car. I don’t have a lot of jewelry except for the world championship ring Gary bought me.
“I spend a lot of time with my family. I don’t have a big entourage to hype me up or blow me up. I stay hungry, level and grounded and I just set goals for myself.
“I’m capturing one of my goals that I set for 2009, and that’s to capture another world title. Once I win I’ll have two world titles and have done it in less than a year. I mean, that’s incredible. That’s pretty much it. I just set goals for myself. In order to be my best you have to fight the best in the world.”
On his comments at the kick-off press conference held in Montreal in mid-February:
“I spoke first and I told him that the only way I know how to beat Kendall Holt is to knock him out because in every fight that’s he’s lost he’s been knocked out. That got him a little heated and he started firing at me. But I was just giving the facts.
“I’m not going to look for the knockout. I’m a smarter fighter than that. I’m not going to go in there hunting and get out of character. If the knockout comes, the knockout comes. But if not, I just want to win. That’s all that matters. But, if I have an opportunity to knock him out then I’m definitely going to go for it. But I’m not going to get out of character.”
On how he handled the crowd in England:
“Over in England I handled that (the crowds) by faith. By keeping my faith and believing. Believing in myself and believing in God. Just going in there and taking care of business. It doesn’t matter what the crowd is saying. I just zone all that out. I’m here to do business, do a job and I’m going home. If you take it that way and don’t get caught up in the lights and what people are saying you’re good. If you don’t believe it and you don’t listen you’ll be OK.
“The Canadian fans are going to love me. I have something special for them that I’m going to do for them. By the end of the night they are going to be my fans.”
On what Holt can expect:
“‘He’s never seen anybody like me in his career. He’s never been in the ring with a fighter that has the same speed as he has, the same power, if not more, with more ability. He’s never been in there with a real true athlete. He’s been in there with guys that don’t have a lot of athleticism like I do. That’s going to be the difference in this fight.”
On what he learned watching the Demetrius Hopkins fight:
“If he attacks he’s at his weakness. That’s what I saw. He can be out-boxed. Demetrius Hopkins lost a split decision against him. He just laid back and boxed. He should have fought him more. He just let Holt bring it to him. That’s how Holt won the fight. He basically brought it to him. It wasn’t really a high contact fight.
“I think I’ll be able to adjust. I’ll be able to box a little bit. I’ll be able to pressure a little bit and push the tempo against Holt. He gets comfortable in there and guys let him get comfortable in there and let him do what he wants. And that’s the worst thing you can do against Holt, against a counter-puncher. You always have to stay on top of him. You have to make Holt work hard. You gotta make him work hard.”
On Holt being more experienced:
“I don’t think he has more experience than I do. I honestly don’t. As far as having more experience in the professional ranks, yeah? But I’ve had over 145 amateur fights. You get a lot of experience from your amateur career dealing with different styles and different heights, sizes and ability. I’ve got way more fights than him from that standpoint. As far as experience, he’s been in the professional game a lot longer than I have and I actually won a world title before he won his. If I’m inexperienced than just let me know. But I feel I’m experienced as well as he is.”
On whom he wants to fight in the future:
“I look forward to fighting the best fighters in the world. I just want to fight the best, that’s it. I don’t want to fight any club fighters. A Mayweather match? Of course. A Mayweather match, a Hatton match, a Pacquiao match, any of those top stars in the division I would love to fight those guys. That is what boxing is about. The best need to start fighting the best.”
On watching Kendall Holt’s tape:
“I’ve been watching Kendall Holt since the beginning of my career. I’ve been watching him for a long time. I watch a lot of tape on everybody. I’m always studying. I knew I could beat Kendall Holt before this fight was even made. That’s pretty much it. I’m a big student of the game. I love watching fights.
“We know he’s a desperate puncher. When he gets backed up against the ropes and feels he has nowhere to go he’s definitely going to swing. That’s when the defense comes into effect. Staying low, keeping your hands up and high and counter-punching in between. It’s everything that we go through in the camp and we’re ready for all of that.”
On when he will fight in California:
“A lot of fans around here keep asking when I’ll have a fight in L.A. or somewhere close. This business is about money. Wherever the money is at is where the promoter is going to go. I have no say on where I should fight or where the venue should be. Just bear with me, pray for me and hopefully I will continue to win and you the fans can get a fight in L.A.
On who is the best at 140 pounds:
“Out of all the champions, I think Kendall is the best out there beside myself. He’s one of the best champions out there. As far as the best fighter at 140 pounds, I don’t think so.”
“It’s going to be a great fight. We’re glad to fight another top-ranked fighter. I want to thank the Bell Centre for stepping up and being a venue and being a great partner in this promotion.
“Timmy is a special kid outside of the ring even more so than inside the ring. He’s willing to travel anywhere to fight as he proved when he went across the pond to fight Junior Witter. Now, he’s going into Canada and fighting Kendall Holt.
“I never worry about Timmy is his training, I just worry that his passport is in good shape.
“We love Montreal. They’re great, great fight fans.”
“It’s going to be a great night in boxing for Team Holt. We’re in good shape for this fight. We have a game plan for this fight and a backup game plan.
“The thing is to follow the game plan precise. I have a plan B just in case that doesn’t work. But I’ve been training for two months for this fight and I have to execute the game plan as planned.
“I can’t really compare Bradley to anyone I have fought before because he has natural ability. He is a different kind of boxer, a boxer with a jab and decent speed, so I can’t compare him to anyone I’ve fought before.
“At different times I’ll try different things. I wouldn’t say he’s a boxer puncher. I’d say he’s a good puncher and he has a decent right hand. But I’m going to test everything. I’m going to test his heart, test his will, test his chin, test his stamina. I’m testing everything because I need that belt.
“I never overlook anything. Anything can happen at any given time so I’m not overlooking anything.
On Bradley saying he’d knock him out:
“It didn’t really get underneath my skin because when I’m in a fight I want to knock everybody out. Going the distance, going 12 rounds is just bonus for the fans. I want to knock everybody out. I mean I look at my opponent as they want to do the same thing for me.
“This is the biggest fight of my career to date so it’s the most important fight. Each and every fight is important because without winning the fight at hand you can’t move onto the next big fight.”
On if fans will see a knockout:
“I try to knock everybody out. If a knockout happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, as long as the decision goes my way, I’m completely content with that. My advantages are experience, height and reach.”
On Bradley having more amateur experience:
“Who the hell cares about the amateurs right now? Demetrius had more experience than me in the amateurs too, and he beat me in the amateurs. (Miguel) Cotto got beat in the amateurs by people he knocked out in the pros. Who the hell cares about the amateurs really?”
What it means to be a role model for the people of Paterson, N.J.
“It means the world that my accomplishments can help somebody else overcome the problems that they are overcoming. It means the world because I didn’t really have anyone to look up to that was in my town. That’s a great feeling. Each and every time I lace those gloves up it’s a motivation for me.”
On how he survived the second Torres fight:
“It was a fight I prepared for. It was one of the toughest training camps I had to date. I just didn’t want to be denied. I didn’t come here to lose and I wasn’t going to lose. I was in tremendous shape, so I had the will to win and the heart to win. When I went down I wasn’t hurt. The only reason I was retreating was because I wanted to get my punches off. Once my back was against the ropes I attacked. If he wasn’t coming at me like a wild man there wouldn’t have been a head butt. Blame it on him.”
On what he will show Bradley:
“I’m not going to show him, I’m going to let him feel power that he hasn’t felt inside those ropes. He hasn’t faced anyone with strong speed and power combined like I have.”
“I have a couple of different game plans that I can execute in this fight. I can use distance being that I have more range and longer arms. I have the height. I also have speed and power. If he tries to rush in the power will definitely get his attention and get his respect. If that happens, if he respects my power, my speed and my counterpunching ability, I can go in and press the fight.
“But also because of his talents and his abilities this fight has the ability to be the fight of the year. I’m not going to back down and I hope he’s doesn’t back down. This fight could potentially be fight of the year.”
On what’s changed during training:
“Nothing has changed. A lot of things have just become a lot more clear. The more I watch the tapes, the more I spar, the more the No. 1 game plan emerges in my mind.
“Show me to money. Manny Pacquiao. They just gave (good friend) Brandon (Jacobs of the New York Giants) the money, so now it’s my turn.
“I’d like to thank Timothy Bradley and Gary Shaw for being scared to put him in there against a real beast like myself.”
“I think it’s going to be a tremendous fight. Kendall is an improving fighter. He scored a tremendous victory over Demetrius Hopkins. His knockout to win the title was probably the round of the year. Anyway we’re confident in his performance in Montreal on April 4.
“The 140-pond division is now becoming of the loaded divisions in boxing. This is a very important because the winner of the big fight, and I’m absolutely sure it’s going to be Kendall Holt, is going to put himself right in the picture for the big money fights that are coming at 150 pounds.
“It’s going to be a great fight. Two terrific fighters, one winner: Kendall Holt. He’s going to do his job on April 4 and go on to bigger and better things.”
The 12-round fights will be co-promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, Bob Arum’s Top Rank, Inc., and Gillett Entertainment Group.