Bradley-Cherry On September 13th - Can "The Desert Storm" Stop "The Cherry Bomb?"

By James Slater: Unbeaten Timothy Bradley, who picked up the WBC light-welterweight title with an upset split decision win over defending champ Junior Witter back in May, makes his first defence this coming September 13th. Facing the more than capable Edner Cherry in Biloxi, Mississippi on the same card as the intriguing Nate Campbell-Joan Guzman bout, 24-year-old Bradley will be absolutely determined not to suffer the same fate many new champions have done in the past when making title defence #1 - and lose. Becoming world champion is hard, but holding onto the title can often be even harder.

In the 26-year-older Cherry, Bradley will be facing a fighter who has looked good in his last two fights. The 24-5-2(12) Cherry, nicknamed "Cherry Bomb," took out Wes Ferguson in fine style on the December 2007 Mayweather-Hatton bill in Las Vegas, and then in May of this year he brutally stopped Stevie Johnston - leaving the former lightweight champ on the canvas for a very long time in the 10th round. And while the Ferguson he stopped in six rounds of their rematch (having won fight one on points) is no world beater and the Johnston he met was both a somewhat worn and old man, the two wins were at least eye-catching.

Florida's Cherry is an at least reasonable challenger for Bradley. Blessed with good speed, reasonable punch-power and a good chin ( Cherry has never been stopped), the 26-year-old ought to make things interesting. He may be no huge puncher, with just half of his wins coming inside schedule, but neither is the WBC champion - again, with exactly half of his wins coming by stoppage. And, aside from two early-career setbacks, Cherry has only lost in good company. Ricky Quiles beat him at lightweight, as did Jose Armando Santa Cruz, while "Magic Man" Paulie Malignaggi defeated Cherry up at light-welter in his last loss, back in February of 2007.

Cherry has some notable wins on his record, too. His becoming the first man to beat the useful Monty Meza Clay by 11th round TKO two years ago, for instance, was a fine victory. The problem is, this win too, came at 135-pounds. Indeed, Cherry has only one light-welterweight fight to his name, the loss to Malignaggi. Will the challenger prove to be too small for natural 140-pounder Bradley? This may be the case, and it could be well argued that Cherry has not done anything to earn a crack at any version of the light-welterweight title.

As a first defence for "Desert Storm," however, considering the fact that there aren't too many other, bigger names available, September's match-up is one that is passable. Should he become the first man to stop Cherry, Bradley will be more than happy with himself.

Article posted on 19.08.2008

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