Bradley excited about fighting for WBO title against Jessie Vargas
By Dan Ambrose: Tim Bradley (31-1-1, 12 KOs) will be looking to recapture his old WBO welterweight title on Saturday night against Jessie Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs) in their bout at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. For Bradley, a victory over the unbeaten Vargas would give him his firth world title in two divisions. He’s keeping track of these things, and it’s a very big deal for him even though it’s a world title he’s already had in the past.
What’s more important than Bradley winning a title is for him just to get the win, period. He’s not won a fight in a long time since 2013, and he can’t afford to take another defeat or another draw. To remain relevant in the welterweight division, you’ve got to win on a regular basis, and it doesn’t fly if you’re winless for two solid years like Bradley.
If he gets beaten by Vargas on Saturday night, then it’s likely to send Bradley towards the bottom of the top 15 rankings. He’ll still be ranked in the top 15, but depending on how badly he loses, it could prove to be the end for him as far as him being a viable opponent for the top fighters.
“I’m excited about this opportunity, fighting for the world championship,” Bradley. “This will be my fifth world title. …I’m a two-division world champion, but I’ve got four world championships. This will be fifth — going for five.”
No one really cares whether Bradley has a title or not. In the watered down welterweight division the only thing that really matters is the level of opposition you’re fighting, and whether you’re winning or not.
Bradley’s last win was over Juan Manuel Marquez in 2013, and in order for Bradley to get that win, he had to move all night long. Had he stood stationary and attempted to fight Marquez in the pocket all night, he likely would have been beaten. Instead, Bradley was on his bike for 12 rounds in a dull to watch fight.
Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz has been working with him on developing his punching power in training camp, and he believes that they’ve succeeded in finding more power for him. Bradley sent one of his sparring partners to the hospital during the camp, and this was said to be a very good fighter.
If Bradley is punching with more power at 31, then he’s a rare case because usually fighters have already developed their punching power in their 20s. If anything, a fighter loses power in their 30s rather than gains it, so it’s possible that Bradley’s so-called increase in power is a figment of his trainer’s imagination rather than reality.
“He has that pop in his punches,” Diaz said via the desertsun.com. “He’s more powerful because of the training he’s had.”
If Bradley tries to prove that he has more power than Vargas, I think it could lead to him getting hurt. Bradley was battered from pillor to post in his last fight by Diego Chaves when Bradley tried to slug with him. Eventually, Bradley got smart and ran the entire second half of the fight, because he couldn’t stand up to the punching power of Chaves.
Vargas isn’t a big puncher, but he’s younger than Bradley and he’s capable of producing enough power to hurt the aging fighter if he can land enough of his shots. This means if Bradley tries to slug with him, we could see Bradley hitting the deck like he did against Ruslan Provodnikov. Bradley lost something from his game from the Provonikov and in his second fight against Manny Pacquiao. Vargas could take advantage of that if Bradley chooses to slug with him on Saturday night.
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