Bradley all fired up and ready for Casamayor
Timothy Bradley (27-0, 11KO’s) was all fired up as he faced reporters in the final press conference ahead of defending his WBO junior-welterweight title on Saturday in the chief-supporting bout to Pacquiao-Marquez III in Las Vegas. Opponent, Cuban veteran Joel Casamayor (38-5-1, 22KO’s), wasn’t exactly helping matters either.
As Bradley began to speak Casamayor began shouting “Shut up!” every time the Californian opened his mouth. It didn’t take long for matters to take a turn for the worse and a slanging match ensued, with both men needing to be dragged away. The only effect it seemed to have on Bradley was to whip him into a frenzy, and he showed us a hunger that maybe we haven’t seen from him before.
“It’s Timothy Bradley time. I’m in the best shape that I could possibly be in, man. There’s nothing that I fear,” he said in rapid-fire chatter. “No one that I fear. I don’t fear Manny Pacquiao, I don’t fear (Floyd) Mayweather. I’m ready for anybody. I’m going to have a great performance Saturday night. I feel it. He can’t stop me.”
Truth is nobody expects Casamayor to stop Bradley, but it was an emotional outburst from the Champion. Having last fought nine months ago, winning a disappointing unification match with Devon Alexander, Bradley still has a lot to prove as a top-line fighter if he is to secure the fights against the caliber of opponents he craves. There’s an obvious frustration in Bradley and it seems to have given him a new lease of life.
“I’ve only fought twice in the last two years, guys, and I don’t understand why. I came up with the biggest fights of my career, and I didn’t move anywhere. The Devon fight didn’t do nothing for my career,” he said.
“Everything I went through the last nine months, dude, it made me a strong, strong man,” he said. “My character is strong. I’ve grown a lot. I’m a little emotional right now because I want it. I want it.
“The fans, the media, I took a bashing, dude. They destroyed me. But I built back up. It made me stronger. So now anybody can say anything negative, positive, it doesn’t affect me.”
“I’m still fighting for respect. I’m fighting for my family. I’m fighting to be the No. 1 fighter in the world, pound for pound.”
The criticism following the Alexander fight has clearly stung Bradley, and coupled with his contractual and promotional problems has made for one motivated fighter. After leaving Gary Shaw it was rumoured he would sign for Golden Boy, which would set up a huge unification fight with England’s WBA champion Amir Khan, but Bradley wasn’t happy with the deal, saying it was just to further Khan’s career, so did a u-turn, signing for promotional rivals Top Rank.
A match with Top Rank’s diamond in the crown Manny Pacquiao could now be in the offing, but Bradley insists he isn’t focusing on those fights right now, and has no interest in even discussing them. He didn’t exactly sound delighted with his new contract either.
“It’s a grimy business, and I signed up for this,” he said. “This is what I do, so you got to be ready for anything. But at the end of the day, we’re going to get the last laugh.”
Bradley would have been favorite for this fight almost regardless, but this new drive and determination he is showing could be bad news for Casamayor. Although a slick, skilled southpaw counter-puncher who likes his opponent coming at him, Casamayor is not in his prime anymore and could well struggle to cope with the pressure Bradley is going to bring.
Casamayor’s inactivity is just as bad too. Having only fought twice in two years the 40-year-old can’t be fully ring sharp and would maybe have done better to get at least one warm-up match beforehand, but nevertheless finds himself in the deep end, challenging for a title yet again. He is a very good fighter who can give absolutely anyone problems on his day, but defeating Bradley seems like a tall order indeed and Casamayor can probably go the distance, but out-working and out-pointing Bradley seems nigh on impossible at this stage, or at any stage for that matter, of his career. Bradley on points has to be the smart bet.
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