RingTV.com spoke to WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley regarding his evolution as a fighter, his experience in big events, and random drug testing, among other things, heading into his HBO Pay Per View-televised clash with Manny Pacquiao on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Bradley (28-0, 12 knockouts) is facing a southpaw for his third, straight fight in Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs), the 33-year-old owner of a 15-bout winning streak that includes eight knockouts.
Bradley 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.
In addition to his experience with southpaws, Bradley claims to have improved from the fighter who nearly shut out Lamont Peterson over 12 rounds during their clash in December of 2009, when Bradley’s impatience may have cost him the knockout after having floored Peterson in the third round.
Bradley said that he welcomes the notion of random drug testing of blood and urine, a subject that has become increasingly more prevalent in boxing.
Former IBF/WBA junior welterweight beltholder, Amir Khan, will undergo random drug testing by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) as will Peterson for their May 19 return bout, this, after Peterson dethroned Khan by split-decision for the belts in December.
Dr. Margaret Goodman, a former ringside physician and Medical Advisory Board Chairman for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, is the VADA organization’s president and founder.
Prior to his past two victories over Mosley in May and Victor Ortiz in September, Mayweather has insisted that he and his rivals be subject to Olympic-style random drug testing of urine and blood that was conducted by United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Negotiations for megabouts between Mayweather and Pacquiao have twice failed over Mayweather’s insistance on Olympic-style random drug testing.
Pacquiao has an ongoing lawsuit against Mayweather accusing him of defamation, alleding that Mayweather continues to imply publicly that Pacquiao’s success over eight weight classes is the result of having used performance-enhancing drugs.
The 34-year-old Judah’s victory against the 24-year-old Paris was an the IBF eliminator that positioned him for a shot at the Peterson-Khan II winner, and the 24-year-old Garcia’s earned the WBC’s belt from the 35-year-old Morales, whose unanimous decision in March of 2005 was Pacquiao’s last loss.
RingTV.com: How big is this fight for the sport?
Tim Bradley: Well, the magnitude of this fight is huge. It’s not only huge for myself, but it’s huge for my community. It’s huge for all of my boxing fans out there. It’s huge for my family.
It’s huge for everyone who loves Tim Bradley. It’s huge for boxing, period. Me fighting Manny Pacquiao, he’s facing a young, hungry lion. Kind of like when Floyd Mayweather did it when he fought Victor Ortiz this past September.
I think that it’s good for boxing. I think that my focus is there. I think that my focus, even more, now than ever. It’s kind of hard to stick to what I normally do.
RingTV.com: How do you mean?
It’s just, you know, “I need to work out today. I need to work out today. I need to work out today.” So I’ve got to find a balance.
I have my wife here to help balance me out. I have my trainer here to help balance me out as well, so, man, I just want to work every single day.
RingTV.com: Do you see any analogies or gain anything from the way that Mayweather, the veteran, handled Ortiz, the less-experienced fighter?
I just not there to brother-in-law a fighter, man. When I’m in the ring, I’m in there to seek and destroy, and that’s the difference between me and other fighters.
RingTV.com: What do you mean by that?
My complete focus is on my fighter, my opponent, and, you know, I’m not going to keep shaking hands with him. I shake hands with him in the beginning. That’s what we do in the beginning.
So, you know, I’m not really worried about being inexperienced in a big fight. You know, I’ve had big fights before. I flew over to England to face the champion, Junior Witter, and I was in front of his crowd.
I was able to come back with a victory. You know, it was no problem. No problem, so it is what it is. I’m ready. I’m really ready for this fight. I feel that this is my moment, and I’m definitely going to seize the moment.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts and assessments of the Judah-Paris, and, Garcia-Morales fights, where the significantly older, more experienced fighters faced younger ones?
TB: I thought that they were two, good, compelling fights. My assessment is that Zab Judah was in there with a young guy, and he used his experience against the young guy.
You know, the kid, Paris, he wasn’t ready. He wasn’t ready for that level of competition. I also learned that Morales can still fight, man.
If Morales would have been a couple of years younger, man, then he would have beaten that young boy. You know, he had the young boy hurt.
Morales busted him up, broke his nose, busted his face up. I mean, he did some damage to that kid. I thought that Morales did really decently in the beginning.
But I think that age just caught up with him. You never know what can happen, or when age is going to catch up with you in that ring.
But Morales really did some damage to that kid. The kid didn’t look that good to me in there. You know, but Zab Judah, he looked spectacular that night.
RingTV.com: What did you appreciate about Judah’s performance?
I believe that that’s one of the reasons that he was able to do what he did and why he was able to shine.
RingTV.com: So as it translates into your fight with Pacquiao, you have to show the elder fighter respect, right?
Manny Pacquiao has a bigger reputation. But I respect him like I do Casamayor, because Pacquiao has two hands and two feet just like I do.
So, there’s no more respect than Casamayor or any other fighter that I’ve fought before in my career. I just respect every fighter that I get into the ring with.
Because I know that they’re out to hurt me. So I have to prepare myself physically, mentally and spiritually for each and every one of my fights.
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on random drugtesting, which is being used in the Alvarez-Mosley, and, Peterson-Khan II fights?
They don’t help you. If you used those drugs in the past, then you’re going to break down, sooner or later. I’m more of a natural guy.
I take the natural approach on it, and I’m the real deal. So, in the long run, you might win this fight because you’re on them drugs.
But just know this: When you retire from boxing, and you have all of those health issues, was it worth it? Was it really worth it? That’s what I think about.
But being natural, I don’t care what you’re on when you fight me, man. No matter what you’re on. I’ve been working out since I was about five years old, man. I’m naturally strong.
I don’t need any steroids. This is all natural right here. You know what I mean, man? So I’m confident in my abilities. I don’t care what you take, you won’t beat me.
RingTV.com: Would you embrace being randomly tested?
Any day of the week that you need to. Any day, week or month of the year, you can come and drug test me. It’s all natural over here with Tim Bradley. Natural. God-given talent.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org