Boxing Commentary: Why Timothy Bradley Has Earned His Respect In the Sport of Boxing.
Current WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley Jr.'s boxing career and personal life suffered what some would consider a life-altering turn nearly two years ago. The 30 year old currently undefeated boxer known for his boxing moniker, 'The Desert Storm', stepped into the ring on June 6, 2012 to face Filipino boxer, Manny Pacquiao. At the time, Pacquiao was viewed by most as boxing's number 1 pound-for-pound fighter.
Bradley, a huge underdog headed into the fight, ultimately defeated Manny Pacquaio by a highly controversial split decision that brought the boxing world to a standstill. A good portion of fans and experts believed that Pacquiao really won the fight, and that Bradley was dominated over 12 rounds by Pacquiao. However, Bradley received the nod from the judges, and claimed the WBO welterweight title. For Pacquiao, the defeat effectively brought an end to his seven year run of no losses.
Although Timothy Bradley is still undefeated and has held the welterweight title nearly two years, many fans are still not satisfied with him. Bradley has managed to somewhat find redemption among the mainstream media, however, he is still highly taunted and criticized by boxing fans via social media. The criticism that Timothy Bradley receives in unwarranted in my honest opinion, and I'm going to make a case as to why Timothy Bradley deserves to be respected in the sport of boxing.
Pacquiao vs. Bradley I Aftermath.
After defeating a world renown boxing icon like Manny Pacquiao, most would probably believe that Timothy Bradley would have been sitting on top of the world. A victory of this magnitude should have given Bradley the name recognition that every up and coming fighter seeks, and should have been the catalyst for Bradley forging his legacy in the sport of boxing. However, unfortunately for Timothy Bradley, just the opposite happened.
Following the victory over Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley quickly found himself in a very dark place through no fault of his own. In what should have been the biggest victory of Bradley's peaking career, quickly turned into a nightmare for Bradley and his family. For starters, the fight itself took a physical toll on Timothy Bradley. Bradley left the MGM Grand Garden Arena in a wheelchair from injuries he suffered to both of his feet during the fight. Probably more importantly, the fight affected Timothy Bradley from a mental standpoint as well.
Following the fight, a good portion of the boxing community was not satisfied with Bradley's victory over Pacquiao. Many took it to the extreme, and Bradley began to receive hate mail and death threats from many dissatisfied fans. The physical toll of going twelve rounds with Pacquiao, coupled with the injuries to his legs and the mental strain of the fight, left Timothy Bradley in a dark place for several month. Bradley even stated in interviews at that he considered retiring from boxing following the rough patch of hate and anger he received. However, Timothy Bradley obviously felt that his time wasn't done, and he decided to continue his career.
Why Timothy Bradley Is Worthy Of Being Respected.
I realize that Timothy Bradley isn't liked by a large segment of boxing fans. However, I do feel that he has earned his respect in the boxing game. I'm not only going to defend Bradley because I like him as a fighter, but I also feel that common sense prevails on why Bradley deserves more credit than he receives.
- Early Resume: When someone looks at Timothy Bradley's resume in the sport of boxing, you can't help but to wonder why he didn't receive more recognition several years ago. Bradley faced some quality fighters early on in his career. Some of the fighters Bradley defeated earlier in his career include: Miguel Vazquez, Kendall Holt, Lamont Peterson, and Devon Alexander. Although none of these names are regarded as superstars in the sport, they were all in their primes when Bradley defeated them.
- Bradley vs. Provodnikov: In March of 2013, Timothy Bradley stepped into the ring to face hard hitting Russian fighter Ruslan Provodnikov. Provodnikov was once a sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao, and like Pacquiao, Provodnikov is also trained by Freddie Roach. This fight was Bradley's first fight back following his fight with Pacquiao. Obviously feeling that he had something to prove to the fans following the Pacquiao fight, Bradley fought a dangerous and reckless fight against Provodnikov. Bradley repeatedly got into heated slug fests with Provodnikov, and was staggered by hard shots several times early in the fight. Once Bradley settled down and used his superior foot speed and movement, he was able to do well against Provodnikov. Bradley narrowly won by unanimous decision, but his will and determination is what prevailed. Following the fight, Bradley claimed to be concussed during most of the fight, but he continued to fight on.
- Bradley vs. Marquez: Timothy Bradley's next challenge came on October 12, 2013 courtesy of Juan Manuel Marquez. Marquez, a legend from Mexico, is known for his four epic battles with Manny Pacquiao. After three close fights that ended in a draw and two narrow victories for Pacquiao, the fourth bout was a signature knockout victory for Marquez. In Bradley's fight with Marquez, Timothy Bradley nearly knocked Marquez down in the last round. Bradley would go on to defeat Marquez by split decision. With the victory over Marquez, Bradley had now defeated the guy that Pacquiao has yet to beat convincingly after four fights.
- Will and Determination: Timothy Bradley has an amazing will and determination to keep fighting. A prime example of Bradley's determination was in his 2007 bout against a primed Kendall Holt. In the first round of the fight, Bradley was hit clean on the chin by Holt. The punch was so hard that Bradley's feet appeared to leave the canvas as he flew backwards and fell. Bradley was badly hurt, but managed to survive the round and ultimately win the fight. Still not convinced Timothy Bradley isn't determined? Bradley's fight with Pacquiao is another example of how determined he is. Bradley suffered ligament damage in his left foot early on in the fight, and then later suffered a severe sprain in his right foot. Despite having injuries to both of his feet, Bradley toughed it out and finished the fight with Pacquiao. Whether you like Timothy Bradley or not, the fact is that he is one determined fighter.
- One of Boxing's Hardest Working Fighters: All elite boxers have to train hard, but it can be noted that Timothy Bradley may be one of boxing's hardest working fighters. Bradley has stated in interviews that he runs 8 to 12 miles daily when he is training for a fight. Bradley is also a vegetarian, and fasts up to five days to help clean his body of toxins before training. He puts his body through very intense workouts to be fully prepared when entering the ring.
Has Timothy Bradley Done Enough To Be Respected In Boxing?
Pacquiao vs. Bradley II.
On Saturday April 12, 2014, Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao will be meeting inside the squared circle for the second time. However, unlike their first fight, both Bradley and Pacquiao understand the magnitude of what this fight, and what it means for their careers going forward. Timothy Bradley is looking to prove to the world that is worthy of being respected, while Manny Pacquiao is fighting to prove that he can be the Pacquiao of old. Both boxers are looking to end all the doubts that came along with the first fight.
Although Timothy Bradley isn't received well by many fans, nor is he always given his just do, I personally feel that he has at the very least earned his respect in the boxing game. When you take a look at the names Bradley has fought throughout his career, you'll see that Timothy Bradley has earned his way to where he's at in the sport. Furthermore, the man took a severe risk to his health in attempting to prove himself to the critics in his fight with Provodnikov.
My goal here isn't to get people to like Timothy Bradley, but rather prove why he deserves more respect than he receives. Regardless as to whether or not people thought Bradley defeated Pacquiao, the fact remains that it's a victory on Bradley's resume. In fact, if Bradley happens to pull off the victory for a second time against Pacquiao in their second bout, an argument can easily be made that Bradley is one of this eras best fighters period. If you classify yourself as a true fan of boxing, give Timothy Bradley Jr. the respect he deserves.