Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley Sees Pacman as Legacy Fight
By David A. Avila
INDIO-In the middle of the hot Palm Springs desert you won’t find hundreds of people milling outside of Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley’s gym to get autographs or selfies.
That may happen in Manny Pacquiao’s gym located smack in the middle of Hollywood. But this is the desert.
Home is the desert for Bradley, scorpions and all.
For a third time Bradley (33-1-1, 13 Kos) faces Filipino super star Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 Kos) on April 9, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It’s not a world title fight but much more is at stake on the HBO pay-per-view fight.
“This is about legacy,” said Bradley, 32, inside his gym. “Thirty six minutes can change my life forever and be history.”
A confidence has drifted over Bradley as concrete as a hard hat ever since Ted Atlas became his trainer. The two have bonded both inside the boxing gym and outside of the sport. Before the training began last Friday the pair spent an hour conversing about various things in life.
“I’ve learned so much, he’s like a second father. I’m just honored that he’s here,” says Bradley about his trainer Atlas.
Bradley doesn’t discount the lessons of boxing he learned under his former trainer Joel Diaz. But after taking severe punishment against Ruslan Provodnikov and in later fights, he felt a need to become a different style of fighter.
Atlas changed Bradley immediately.
“I’m more technically sound now,” Bradley says. “I don’t get hit as much.”
As evidence the desert fighter points to his dominant victory over Brandon “Bam, Bam” Rios last November in Las Vegas. After nine one-sided rounds Bradley landed punishing body shots that forced the tough former world champion to signal he was finished.
“Want to know why he quit? Because he was getting beat every round. I was doing everything I needed to do to make him say I’m done,” said Bradley.
The Palm Springs prizefighter has made a career of defeating the best in his business. A list of those he vanquished would make anyone envious. Bradley has defeated one dozen opponents who held world title belts that included Rios, Juan Manuel Marquez, Ruslan Provodnikov and of course Pacquiao.
Atlas, who began training Bradley last summer, says his charge is primed and ready.
“We are expecting to see the best Pacquiao, the one with speed and power and who wants to win as much as we do,” said Atlas, who also works as an analyst for ESPN boxing.
Bradley won their first encounter by decision and that led to massive protests and criticism through social media that further led to an all guts battle with Provodnikov. But after absorbing the brunt and wrath of Pacquiao’s fans, a thick skin has developed.
“Just the other day I took a picture on Instagram and I posted it up. People just started ranting about my head. Ranting about how big my head is. I was looking at what they were saying and I was like wow,” said Bradley. “They’re just like ‘look at Timmy Bradley’s head, the heady monster. Not the cookie monster, the heady monster. What size hat do you think he wears?’ All these crazy things. But they don’t bother me. You really see the source of where it’s coming from. It’s just ignorance. It’s just these people that are keyboard warriors.”
Now that he’s taken care of criticism, Bradley turns his head toward establishing himself as one of the dominant forces in his era. He only has one loss in his career.
“History lasts forever,” says Bradley. “That’s what I want for them to say this man beat Manny Pacquiao one of the greatest fighters of this era. That’s what I want as my legacy.”