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Witter vs. Bradley: Will Hatton Face The Winner?

witter545353.jpgBy Michael Lieberman: As WBC light welterweight champion Junior Witter prepares for next week’s battle against #1 ranked challenger Timothy Bradley (21-0, 11 KOs) at the Nottingham Arena, in Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Witter, 34, hasn’t given up on his foremost goal of facing Ricky Hatton in the near future. However, with that goal in mind, Witter is hoping to defeat Bradley, 24, in an impressive fashion, so much so that Hatton will be forced to fight him rather than to continue to ignore him like he’s done in the past three years. Witter, however, needs to not look past Bradley, who is a hard-hitting knockout artist and perhaps the best rising star in the junior welterweight division.

It’s a credit to Witter that he’s chosen to face Bradley rather than ducking him like many fighters tend to do when faced with an equally tough challenger like him. Witter, though, has never ducked a tough opponent in his career, instead opting to fight the hardest fights possible in order to further his career and learn from it in the process. Bradley has many of the same attributes that Witter has, such as blazing fast hands and an excellent air tight defense. However, Bradley hits much harder than Witter and has true one-punch power. Though Witter doesn’t hit nearly as hard as Bradley, he makes up for it by his unorthodox punching style, which makes him capable of throwing punches from all angles when his opponents least expect it.

You can add to that his fast hands, which make up for his lack of power. It’s the punch that you don’t see that hurts you the most, the saying goes. In Witter’s case, he often scores knockouts of his opponents with shots that they never see coming, like for instance his fight with Vivian Harris. Going into the fight, Harris was thought to be an opponent that could potentially defeat Witter. However, Witter blew him out in short order, knocking him down multiple times in the process. This is what makes Witter so dangerous. Unlike some fighters like Hatton, Witter doesn’t try to mow down his opponents with punches.

Instead he uses his speed and ring expertise to box circles around his slower adversary. Perhaps for this reason, Hatton has been very reluctant to get in the ring with Witter, since it would be a matchup that wouldn’t favor the smaller, slower and less skilled Hatton. It will be interesting to see if Bradley can catch up to Witter with his big shots. Bradley tends to load up on pretty much everything he throws, hoping to score a spectacular knockout.

In most cases, he’s been successful in doing that in his short career. However, if he hopes to catch Witter with something big, he’s going to have to let up on his power and focus more on just trying to land period. If Bradley goes into the fight trying to land big windmill punches, he’s only going to end up hitting a lot of air as he miss the elusive Witter. For his part, Witter specializes in counter-punching. In effect, Witter loves to fight an opponent that is gunning for a knockout like Bradley no doubt will be attempting to do next Saturday night.

If this is what Bradley sets out to do, Witter will most likely take him apart with short shots to the head, hitting him frequently as he attempts to get in his own punches. Before it’s over, Witter will prove yet again that he’s the best light welterweight in the division and will in turn put more pressure on Hatton to have to fight him. After an impressive win over Bradley, Hatton will likely have to fact Witter, because there won’t be any question that Witter is the best fighter in the division. Hatton was at one time the best in the division, but due to his straying from the division as he moved up to the welterweight division, Witter has taken over the light welterweight division for himself. It’s up to Hatton to prove that he’s still the man at light welterweight.

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