Timothy Bradley - "I'm Looking For A Takeover Year Next Year."
Exclusive interview by James Slater - Reigning and undefeated WBC light-welterweight champion Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley will be a very interested observer of tonight's big Hatton-Malignaggi fight in Las Vegas. Though he is in line to meet the winner of the upcoming rubber-match between Kendall Holt and Ricardo Torres, the 25-year-old from Desert Springs also has his eye on facing tonight's winner. Indeed, Bradley has no shortage of potential mega fights at 140-pounds.
Article posted on 23.11.2008
Very kindly taking time out to speak with this writer from his home this evening, the always polite Bradley discussed his future and also gave me his predictions on a number of upcoming bouts.
James Slater: I really appreciate you time, champ. Firstly, will you be fighting the Kendall Holt-Ricardo Torres III winner, as we hear?
Timothy Bradley: Yes, it will be the winner of Holt-Torres..
J.S: Has it been signed?
T.B: No, it's not been signed yet. There's no contract yet, but we have a promoter's agreement.
J.S: It will be a great fight, between you and either guy. Who wins on December 13th in your expert opinion?
T.B: I pick Kendall. He's a superior boxer, and I always pick the boxer over the puncher.
J.S: Do you know Kendall Holt personally? Have you sparred with him?
T.B: No, I've never sparred with him. I've never sparred with any prospective opponent. I had a chance to spar with Ricky Hatton, but I didn't. I never spar a guy I think I'm going to one day meet. Ricky Hatton called me to spar with him, ahead of the [Jose Luis] Castillo fight, I think it was. But my father said no. He won't allow me to spar a possible future opponent.
J.S: You have enough experience now it seems, what with you being the WBC champion. Do you feel you are the best 140-pound fighter in the world today?
T.B: I feel it, yes. I wouldn't be where I am today if I didn't believe it.
J.S: Who do you pick in tonight's Hatton Vs. Malignaggi fight?
T.B: I go with Ricky Hatton. The change of trainer worries me, at the end of his career, as Hatton pretty much is. I know Malignaggi can out-box him, but I'm not sure he will do enough to win - in the eyes of the judges. Hatton has such a high work-rate, he is always throwing punches and he is always on you. I don't know how Malignaggi will do enough to offset that work.
J.S: You pick Hatton, but who would you prefer to win? Who would be the better fight for you?
T.B: A Hatton fight would probably be more attractive, but it doesn't really matter. It's not just about money. I want to fight the best. I'd like to fight both of them to be honest with you. Malignaggi is an excellent fighter.
J.S: As you may or may not know, Junior Witter, who you beat to take the WBC belt, is desperate for a rematch with you. I know you won fairly clearly, wider than just a split decision - but would you give him a return, and in the U.K?
T.B: The fight has to make sense. You know, business sense. And it wouldn't make sense for me to come over to his home town as the champion. Don't get me wrong, he deserves a rematch. But it has to make sense for me. I don't want to have to leave my family to go over and fight a guy I've already beaten.
J.S: Around the time of your fight with Edner Cherry, your first title defence, we heard rumours that you may be considering dropping down to lightweight. Is that true?
T.B: Yeah, that's true. I always thought about doing it. My trainer has often suggested it. The doctors say I could make it. They say I would suffer the last two days of training - it would be hard shedding the last bit of weight, whether it be water or whatever. But it could be done. The thing is, my father and my team, we have to agree. If one person disagrees we won't do something. There are a lot of stars at 135, but I honestly feel they will be moving up, to 140 soon.
J.S: Talking of stars moving up, has Manny Pacquiao got a chance against De La Hoya?
T.B: Yes, he has. A big chance. A lot of people don't see it, but they are just looking at size. But look at Evander Holyfield. He regularly beat guys around 60 pounds heavier than him. I've sparred bigger guys myself, and I've been too elusive, too fast. Look at Oscar, his best punch is his left hook, but Pacquiao will go on angles - he will be flying in and he will be flying out. Don't forget, Shane [Mosley] was also smaller than Oscar and look what happened there.
J.S: It's great to get your expert analysis. Are you a fan, do you watch fights on TV at home?
T.B: Oh, all the time. I'm having some friends over to watch tonight's fight (Hatton-Malignaggi). And I watched last night, when the big super-bantamweight scored the 4th round KO over Steve Molitor. That was one big upset! He's [Celestino Caballero] huge for the weight!
J.S: You feel you are the best in the world at 140, are you at your peak now at 25 though?
T.B: I'm not a superstar yet. I feel my peak is about two years to come. Once I get all the big, defining fights, I will be a superstar. I want to beat the best to show I am the best. I'm never looking to duck anyone. But at the same time, I know I am still learning. I'm picking up things in each and every fight.
J.S: It's been great speaking with you, Timothy. For my final question, how would you see your ideal year going for 2009?
T.B: First, I would fight the winner of Holt and Torres [ III], then I would fight the winner of Hatton-Malignaggi, and then I would fight [Andreas] Kotelnik (the WBA 140-pound champ). I'm looking for a takeover year next year. I'm looking for a superb year.
(Sincere thanks go out to Timothy Bradley, the WBC light-welterweight champion, for kindly taking time out to speak with this writer).
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