Tim "Desert Storm" Bradley Can Surprise Pacman Inland Fighters Say
By David A. Avila
A buzz has circulated throughout the gyms in the Inland area whenever somebody mentions undefeated Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley who fights Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao this weekend.
Bradley is one of their own and represents the area’s hunger for recognition.
Though Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) has remained unbeaten since 2005 many especially in the Inland area see Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) toppling the Filipino’s reign on Saturday June 9, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. HBO pay-per-view will televise.
“I like Bradley’s chances,” said heavyweight contender Chris “the Nightmare” Arreola from Riverside. “I don’t care what people say he’s got a good chance to beat Pacquiao.”
Fighters in almost every gym in Riverside, Indio, San Bernardino and Moreno Valley sense that Bradley will crack through an imaginary barrier that’s kept the world from recognizing the area’s boxing talent.
“Tim’s real aggressive,” said Josesito Lopez who has his own opportunity on June 23 against “Vicious” Victor Ortiz in Los Angeles. “He can surprise Pacquiao.”
In the last decade professional boxing in the Southern California region known as the Inland area has boomed. Bradley has emerged as its finest prizefighter.
Can he beat the Filipino superstar?
Freddie Roach, the boxing trainer for Pacquiao, has seen numerous challengers come and go like a human assembly line. Only Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez has truly given the small but powerful Pacquiao any problems.
“I have watched a lot of tapes on him (Bradley) and have seen a lot of holes in his defense and we are going to take advantage of them,” said Roach who’s trained Pacquiao since 2001.
Bradley shrugs off Roach’s comments.
“I don’t care what Freddie Roach thinks. He isn’t in the ring fighting for Pacquiao and he isn’t in my training camp. He can say whatever he wants,” says Bradley, 28.
But the undefeated fighter from Indio doesn’t expect an easy fight.
“He (Pacquiao) can fight, man. He’s a great fighter. He’s coming to take me out,” says Bradley earnestly. “I think he is going to be at his very best and he’s going to try to take me out early.”
No weight handicaps
Pacquiao, 33, began his boxing career in 1995 at age 17, along the way he’s captured world titles as a flyweight, junior featherweight, featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight, junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight. That’s eight different weight classes and has never been done before.
In the past four years almost every time Pacquiao has fought there have been handicaps imposed on the opposition such as weight restrictions for Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto, and Antonio Margarito. There are no such restrictions for Bradley who like Pacquiao is actually small for a 147-pound welterweight. It’s an even fight with no handicaps imposed.
“Bradley is a different type of fighter and we don’t take this fight lightly. We have trained hard for Bradley because he is the type of fighter we cannot underestimate. Tim Bradley is undefeated and he is a champion,” said Pacquiao during a conference call. “The fights are all different.”
Indio’s desert fighter Bradley is confident that Pacquiao has not faced his style or intensity before.
“I systematically break guys down. I get in the ring and they (opponents) say I don’t have any power but then they feel me and feel my strength. As soon as they get hit they want to hold me. The last couple of fights guys have been holding me all night,” Bradley said.
Bradley has pillaged the entire junior welterweight division and now moves into the welterweight class where Pacquiao has claimed supremacy. Still, the Indio prizefighter remains confident.
“I don’t know if it will be a knockout. I’m not a prediction kind of guy but I know at the end of the fight I will have my hand raised. I am going to be the winner, plain and simple,” said Bradley chuckling.
Around the Inland area numerous boxers nodded their head at Bradley’s chances of success.
Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank has seen hundreds of world champion prizefighters and has hedged that Bradley could indeed beat Pacquiao. That’s why a rematch clause was inserted in the contract between Pacquiao and Bradley.
“Bradley is fast and does have youth. He can match Pacquiao’s speed,” said Arum while inside the Indio boxing gym last week. “This area has always been a hot bed for boxing.”
It can get even hotter.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 7 p.m., Kelly Pavlik (38-2) vs. Scott Sigmon (22-3)
Sat. HBO pay-per-view 6 p.m., Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2) vs. Tim Bradley (28-0); Jorge Arce (60-6-2) vs. Jesus Rojas (18-1-1); Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0) vs. Teon Kennedy (17-1-2); Mike Jones (26-0) vs. Randall Bailey (42-7).
Sat. Telefutura, 11 p.m., McWilliams Arroyo (11-1) vs. Felipe Rivas (12-10).