By Miguel Maravilla
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
Undefeated two-division world champion and current WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) is in the final phases of his training camp as he gets set for his rematch against eight-division world champion Manny “PacMan” Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs). Bradley will take on Pacquiao next Saturday, April 12, live on HBO Pay-Per-View at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. We caught up with Desert Storm at his media day workout at the Fortune Gym in Hollywood, California.
“Preparation has been tremendous this training camp. It has been hell. Joel has not been easy with me. He’s been cutthroat, ‘you do what I say.’ We have been training real hard,” Bradley told Fightnews.com.
Bradley trained in the comforts of his hometown of Palm Springs, California in the Coachella Valley desert with his longtime trainer Joel Diaz along with his father Ray Bradley. In preparation for Pacquiao, this camp has consisted of 8 weeks of hard training. “This camp is completely different from the other fight. Night and day because we have been in the ring with Pacquiao. We know what to expect. For this fight I trained 8 weeks, not 12 weeks like the last fight, a solid 8 weeks,” Bradley stated.
During this camp Bradley sparred 10 minute rounds mixing it up with different sparring partners. “This is something new that we added because of Pacquiao’s intensity and speed. We sparred with three different guys, 10 minute rounds with each of these guys. It was so intense,” Bradley revealed. “Pacquiao is extremely intense in the ring at all times. You have to be focused on him every minute of every round.”
While winning a controversial split decision over Pacquiao in June of 2012, Bradley fought with a broken ankle he suffered early in the fight – after Bradley went into the fight inspired by Mike Tyson’s old trait wearing no socks. “I read a Mike Tyson book and thought I would go in without socks. You live and you learn. I learned my lesson and I will be wearing socks for this fight. It will be different this time, way different,” Bradley promised.
Many ringside observers believe that it was Pacquiao’s inability to put Bradley away that cost him the fight on two judges’ cards.
“I don’t worry about the worry about the judges or any of that. It’s about winning the fight for the fans and media. As long as they say you won that fight, that’s all I am worried about,” Bradley said. “I don’t feel I have anything to prove. I just feel I have to win decisively so that you guys and the fans can say good things about me. The judges really don’t matter. It puts a lot of pressure on the judges all this controversy and this one will be worst.”
Following his victory over Pacquiao, in his next fight Bradley proved himself fighting a war in going the distance with the dangerous Ruslan Provodnikov, winning a tight unanimous decision in the 2013 Fight of the Year at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California. In that fight a very determined Bradley once again fought through adversity as he was knocked down twice early in round two, and in the final round as fought the majority of the fight with a concussion while trading away with the power punching Russian.
“I learned in the Ruslan fight that I have to listen to my corner and not go out there to think I am Rocky and fight a stupid fight. I was hit with some hard shots,” Bradley said about his war with Provodnikov.
Coming off a split decision over Pacquiao’s archrival Juan Manuel Marquez, Bradley was slippery and quick in defeating the Mexican icon last October in his last fight at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
“I think my progress comes from everything that happened to me in the past. It sucked what happened to me in the first fight. The controversy made me stronger and tougher completely,” Bradley said.
The question coming into this fight whether Manny Pacquiao still has that killer instinct that saw him walk through opponents from 2006 to 2009. Not having scored a knockout in seven fights and having suffered a huge knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012, Bradley feels that Pacquiao no longer has the fire that once produced huge knockout victories.
“I think he is a phenomenal fighter, one of the best in the sport. What I paid attention to was some of the comments from his team and Freddie Roach. I’m sure you heard him say that Manny is too compassionate with these sparring partners. And on “Faceoff” he said that he carried me. God told him not to knock me out,” Bradley commented. “I really don’t believe that’s said in the media. I really don’t, unless it comes from the horse’s mouth. He said it himself, Freddie has said it himself.
“In the Rios fight, he took a step back in the last round when he should have took him out. Manny said I offended him when I mentioned when was the last time he knocked somebody out. Well when was the last time he knocked somebody out?
“I am prepared to go to war, to fight my fight. That’s what I will do in there. This fight is the only fight I care about in my whole career. I have to win this fight. I am going to win this fight,” Bradley concluded. “It is going to be a war, the fight is going to be a war. I honestly think this fight won’t go the distance!”
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