Tim Bradley: I still can fight, man!
By Chris Williams: Former two division world champion Tim Bradley (33-2-1, 14 KOs) suffered his second loss in his last five fights last Saturday night in a 12 round unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bradley, 32, has won only two out of his last five fights, and those wins were against his promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank stable fighters Jessie Vargas and Brandon Rios. Bradley didn’t face anyone actually good other than Pacquiao. Bradley says he wants to continue his boxing career, but he wants the big fights that will help his legacy.
The problem is that Arum would need to work with other promoters to get Bradley the big fights that he wants because he can’t just stick him in with Jessie Vargas over and over again like he did with Pacquiao because that’s not the type of big fight that Bradley wants.
Bradley wants to fight the big names, which would mean the likes of Miguel Cotto and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. I don’t know if Arum is capable of getting either of those fighters to face Bradley. If not them, then IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook might be an option. However, with Bradley having lost his last fight to Pacquiao, it would put Brook in a tough situation with him fighting a guy coming off a loss.
“I’ll be back fighting, man,” Bradley said to the desertsun.com. “Come on. Hey, I still can fight, man. I still can fight.”
The closer reality is that with each important fight that Arum puts Bradley in, the more he’ll lose. I think Bradley is one step removed from Brandon Rios. In other words, Bradley is a guy that can beat Arum’s fighters like Jessie Vargas and Rios, but he can’t beat the good welterweights like Kell Brook, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Errol Spence or Amir Khan.
If you put Bradley in with those fighters, his lack of punching power will cause him to get beaten and possibly even stopped. The good news for Bradley is that Arum likely won’t be able to setup a deal with most of those fighters because they’re with Al Haymon. This means that Bradley’s wish to fight the big names to help increase his legacy could be limited to just Cotto and Brook. I think Cotto won’t bother fighting Bradley.
Brook probably will, but Bradley will lose that fight. I don’t see Bradley being able to do much in terms of getting big fights for the remainder of his contract with Top Rank. It would be a major move on Arum’s part if he could get Cotto to agree to fight Bradley. It’s possible, but I think it would end badly for Bradley because Cotto is bigger and stronger than him.
Bradley will be able to soak up a few losses to the better fighters, but once it’s apparent that the only guys that he can beat are the Vargas and Rios types, he’s going to start having problems getting big fights. The top guys won’t want to fight someone that is little more than trial horse for the contenders to beat up on.
Bradley was pretty excited about his new trainer Teddy Atlas having supposedly improved his game. But we found out last Saturday that Bradley was no better than he had been under the guidance of his previous trainer Joel Diaz. If anything, Bradley was better with him than with Atlas, because Diaz at least would have had Bradley attacking Pacquiao rather than wasting time running around the ring trying to avoid the Filipino fighter. It might be in Bradley’s best interest to go back to Diaz, and let Atlas go.
I don’t think Bradley has aged and gotten worse. I think he was never a high quality welterweight to begin with. He was always just a pumped up light welterweight with no punching power. Bradley could beat some welterweights like Brandon Rios and Jessie Vargas, but not the good ones with power. Bradley’s second loss to Pacquiao last Saturday only highlighted Bradley’s flaws.
If Arum were to suddenly start working with Al Haymon to set Bradley up with guys like Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Errol Spence and Khan, Bradley would likely wind up getting beaten over and over again until he was no longer someone that the top fighters were interested in fighting. That’s why I see Bradley only getting one or two more big fights before he’s seen as a trial horse, which he already is in my view.