Tim Bradley on fighting left-handers such as Manny Pacquiao: "It's just like riding a bike to me now. It's become second nature. Southpaws are easy to dominate now."
WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley says that he will have an easier time with Manny Pacquiao than most expect, given that the WBO welterweight beltholder will be his third-straight southpaw opponent.
Bradley (28-0, 12 knockouts) is coming off an eighth-round knockout of left-handed faded former lightweight champ Joel Casamayor on the undercard of Pacquiao's disputed majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in November.
Prior to Casamayor, Bradley, who is 28, vanquished southpaw Devon Alexander by decison for the WBC's junior welterweight belt in January of last year.
Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) takes a 15-bout winning streak that includes eight stoppages into the bout with Bradley, whose tough upbringing, including early training sessions with his father, were topics addressed during a a recent edition of HBO's Portrait of a Fighter: Timothy Bradley.
Bradley spoke to RingTV.com about all of the above during this Q&A.
RingTV.com: How difficult is it to focus during what is the biggest fight and certainly the most involved promotion of your career?
Tim Bradley: I'm just focused, dude. I'm not concerned about all of the bull crap that they're saying. Just staying to myself like I always do. Just like preparing for any other fight.
I'm just going to stick to my game plan, which is to dominate. No matter what his track record says. He's going to have to show me that he's better than me, and that's just the bottom line.
RingTV.com: During the Faceoff segment, who brought up the notion of you potentially being caught cold by Pacquiao?
TB: That was something that came from my trainer, Joel Diaz. My trainer just knows that Manny comes out fast and that the only way he could possibly stop me is to catch me cold.
So, we've got to be really careful in the beginning because Manny is so strong in the start of his fights, so it's just basically fight strategy.
My trainer just said that we're going to be cautious and ready in the beginning because we don't want to be caught cold with a big shot.
So, you know, that's the main focus in the beginning, man, is not to get caught and dropped in the first round, kind of like my Kendall Holt fight, you know what I mean?
I got dropped in the first round and then I had to come back and make up two rounds after getting dropped. That's tough. You don't want to start out in a hole.
So, that was just my trainer talking smart and just saying that, "hey, we're not going to just rush straight at you in the beginning." We're going to definitely take our time, feel you out, and then we'll start executing a game plan.
RingTV.com: The 'Portrait Of A Fighter' espisode, where your father's toughness on you was illustrated, was that accurate?
TB: [Laughs.] My dad, you know, he was tough on me. Really tough on me. But it worked out for the best. That's the reason why we train extremely hard. We really don't have any limits. So, yeah, the workouts were no joke.
Everything was pretty much accurate, man. What people need to understand about me is that I'm tough. I work out hard. I speak from the heart, man, and I talk the truth 99 percent of the time.
So everything that was said and everything that was done was exactly what happened. There are people in the valley who have definitely seen me grow up.
I was in a boxing program as a kid and I fought and a lot of people appreciate the hard work and the dedication that I've put into the game.
I hear it every day from people who see me on the track early in the morning and who know exactly the type of training that I went through.
RingTV.com: What about your personal training and working with southpaws has been beneficial in terms of preparing for Pacquiao, who will be the third straight left-hander you will face?
TB: This will be my third, yep. So basically what's going down is that I'm a lot more familiar with the southpaw stance. I've not been in with a right-hander in my last three fights.
So it's a lot easier and I'm attacking from the angles a lot better. My foot positioning is a lot better. I'm setting up my punches a lot better because I've been prone to southpaws now.
This is my third camp doing this. I'm a lot better than I was in my last two fights when I faced southpaws, you know, with Devon Alexander and Joel Casamayor.
I'm just a lot better with that now at competing and defeating southpaws. It's not a big deal any more. You know, switching up and having to face a southpaw can be tricky. But it's just like riding a bike to me, now.
It's become second nature. Southpaws are easy to dominate now, and I definitely know what my key shots are for the fight, and we're just working on it, man. I can deal with any southpaw.
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com