Tim Bradley Eyes Amir Khan, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao
PONTIAC, Mich. -- When junior welterweight (140 pounds) Tim Bradley of Palm Springs, Calif., walked into the post-fight press conference, he did so after having added the WBC belt previously worn by southpaw Devon Alexander to the WBO version that he already owned.
Over the course of 10 brutal rounds of a scheduled 12-rounder that was fought before Saturday night's sparse crowd of 6,247 at the Pontiac Silverdome and televised on HBO, the 27-year-old Bradley (27-0, 11 knockouts) had taken the action to the 23-year-old Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs), so much so that the younger man succumbed at 1:59 of the 10th as a result of a fourth, accidental head-butt that opened a cut on his left eye while further damaging the already bleeding right one.
The cut from 10th-round, bout-ending collision of heads required two stitches compared to four more for the right eye. Bradley, likewise, displayed a slight laceration on his left cheekbone, as well as a cut over his own left eye.
Alexander complained that he could not see because of the marks on his eyes, leading to the fight's stoppage by referee Frank Garza on the advice of ringside doctor Peter Samet; it resulted in a technical decision for Bradley.
The winner, meanwhile, was unapologetic, in fact, wearing his injuries with pride, and, seemingly, with as much honor as he did his championship belts.
Bradley's trainer, Joel Diaz, had guaranteed that the fight "won't go 10 rounds," and his fighter made him prophetic.
"I'm in the ring to win. I know that it's not always going to look pretty, but I'm ruthless, I'm reckless. I'm in there to win, and it's going to be a street fight. He head-butted me too. Look at my eye. It's not just from me heads-butting," said Bradley, who won 96-95, 97-93 and 98-93 on the judges' cards. FanHouse scored it for Bradley, 98-93.
"He ran into me as well. I was really surprised. I have a history of head-butts in my fights, but I didn't know that he was going to use that as a cop out," said Bradley, who is nicknamed "The Desert Storm."
"But that's just sour-grapes. It's just styles. He was coming in, I was coming in," said Bradley. "We were both coming in together. I know that I was beating him, so they can say whatever they want, man."
One reason Bradley was such a force against Alexander was the fact that he employed a strength trainer in James Roughly for the first time ever.
"My walk-around weight is 160. I was 148 when he stepped on the scale tonight against Alexander," said Bradley. "At 140, I feel like I'm a beast. I feel like I'm stronger than anyone else."
Bradley was coming off of July's HBO-televised unanimous decision over welterweight Carlos Luis Abregu (29-1, 23 KOs).
"I went up against Carlos Abregu, a big puncher, the punching power is a lot different at 147 pounds. They're a lot taller, which I like. I like taller guys. But I feel I wasn't as sharp at 147 as I was at 140. Honestly, guys, that was an easy fight in there tonight," said Bradley.
"I just felt very strong in there. Thanks to my strength and conditioning coach, I was in there having fun, man. I felt more superior. I felt like a man in there," said Bradley. "I felt like I was fighting a boy. Alexander was trying to fight a good fight, but didn't have nothing to hurt me with. That's why I was able to walk forward and to just keep on coming."
Next up for Bradley is a likely clash with Golden Boy Promotions' sponsored WBA king Amir Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) of England, who is coming off of a Dec. 11, HBO televised unanimous decision over Marcos Rene Maidana (29-2, 27 KOs) that was named Fight of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, Khan dropped Maidana with a first-round right-left to the body, only to have to survive a more than 40-punch barrage during a 10th round when Khan was virtually out on his feet.
Bradley also has designs on facing Top Rank Promotions, eight-division, WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) champ, Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), who has a Showtime-televised, May 7 defense of his WBO welterweight (147 pounds) belt opposite Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs).
There is also the prospect of facing six-time titlist Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs), who survived being staggered by a second-round right hand to score May's lopsided, unanimous decision rout of Mosley.
"I'll fight any of them. I would like to fight Floyd Mayweather or Manny. I think that I've proven tonight that I'm a force to be reckoned with. I proved that I'm the best 140-pounder in the world. This is just one step closer," said Bradley.
"I think that I've got to take out Amir Khan next, and then, there will be no doubt who the best 140-pounder in the world is. But I would love to fight all of them," said Bradley. "I would love to fight Maidana. [WBO and WBA lightweight (135 pounds) champion] Juan Manuel Marquez. These are all great fights."
Bradley has envisioned facing and defeating Mayweather since early in his career.
"I see that I'll be the first man to beat Mayweather. Mayweather is the king of boxing right now, but it will be a tough fight. That guy's clever. He'll stay on the outside," said Bradley. "But eventually, he'll start coming to me -- bringing the pressure, trying to bang my body, trying to outwit me with his smarts. I think that's how it will go."
At that point, Bradley's body-punching could become a factor, just as it did in discouraging Alexander from throwing his vaunted straight left hand and right hooks.
"I wanted to break Devon down. That was the game plan, you know, come in and take it to him. To break him down, and to stay smart and to stay behind the jab. And try to dig the shots to the body. I'm a vicious body puncher. I'm very strong in there," said Bradley.
"Alexander threw one uppercut and caught me one time. You know. I felt it," said Bradley. "But I think that I did hurt him to the body on certain occasions and from certain angles. But I do know that I hurt him to the body, man. I know to the body, he was feeling it, and that's why he didn't want to be at close quarters with me."
Bradley's promoter, Gary Shaw, said that he will go to work on Bradley's next fight, and that he may even attempt to lure Pacquiao or Mayweather.
"If I can get Floyd to fight, that's where I'm heading. I'm not heading to Amir. If Floyd's not willing to fight Timmy, then yes, Amir Khan is my fight," said Shaw. "Tim Bradley is a bigger fighter today than he ever was. He's now considered the best at 140. If he fights Mayweather and Pacquiao and beats them, that's super stardom."
Bradley's manager Cameron Dunkin, however, called bouts against Khan and Maidana more "realistic."
"There's only a couple of guys who are a reality. That's Amir Khan of course, and the other guy is Maidana. I think that he's got to fight one of the other guys first. Tim wants to stay busy and keep fighting, and right now, who knows what Mayweather wants to do?. We can't depend on that," said Dunkin.
"Quite honestly, you always look for a fight like that's a great fight. Khan and Maidana are fights that we can make right now, and they are legitimate fights that can be made," said Dunkin. "I know that's what Timmy wants. But Floyd's not active or talking about fighting, so, as of now, I would have to say that that's not realistic."
On Monday or Tuesday, when he returns home next week, Bradley will tuck the warrior beast away deep down inside of himself and go back to driving his children to school and to their activities.
His wife, Monica, has a son, Robert, 11, and a daughter, Alaysia, 6, from a previous relationship, but Bradley calls them his own.
"My wife, I have to give special thanks to my wife. As you know, I don't leave home to go to training camp. I don't feel that I have to leave home and leave your family and your kids to get ready for a fight," said Bradley, whose first child with the pregnant Monica is due in August.
"I still go on with my day-to-day activities. I still pick up my kids from school.There are really no distractions at home for me," said Badley. "I love being around my kids, I love being around my wife. They helped me to get through this camp with no problems and no stress. Nothing. If you focus, you've got it right here [Bradley said, pointing to his head]."