Boxing

'Call Em Out Fridays': Timothy Bradley - Very steady, but is he ready?

boxingBy Vivek Wallace: In this weeks 'C.E.O. Fridays' we examine the talents of a rising star who continues to remind us that despite being under the radar, his skill level is in fact above the rim. With a little more than 4 years as a pro under his belt, some openly question his level of experience, but this coming Saturday night he'll be presented an opportunity to not only establish himself as a fighter on the brink of that top tier, but also remove doubt from the minds of those who still don't believe. In complete parallel with the city in which he hails from, (Palm Springs), this contender is rapidly becoming a hot commodity on the tip of the tongues of fight fans around the globe. In an effort to see things full circle, this week we call him out like the many greats before him. Like each of my other 'Call Em Out Fridays', we'll look at all perspective angles. The 'supportive' angle, his 'critics' angle, and in the end, a more 'neutral' angle to tie all the loose ends. So, with no further ado, we suit up in our beige colored camouflage utilities and brace ourselves for the man simply known as "Desert Storm"....Mr. Timothy Bradley.....

Timothy Bradley - (Supportive Perspective): In today's era of the sport, it has become very common to find fighters with padded records that display higher than natural KO percentages based on a trail of cupcakes who were little more than journey man. That common trait in the world of boxing often makes it difficult to pinpoint a true diamond in the rough. In the case of Timothy Bradley, however, things are a bit different. True enough, with the exception of Junior Witter and Edner Cherry, the names on his resume don't exactly blind you with science, but one thing for sure, the talent he used to defeat those guys surely adds up like math. Despite the lack of notoriety, from a fundamental position, Bradley appears to be one of the more sound fighters in recent times; fully equipped with solid footwork, great punch placement, a consistent jab, and the conditioning of a world class athlete. One other key element that sets him apart is his patience. Reviewing past fight footage of the young stud allowed me to duly note that unlike many others today, trying to go for the juggler is not his M.O. Instead, he'll patiently take whatever's given to him and use those little cuts in the fabric to tear loose a gapping hole which few opponents can patch up by the time the final bell rings. Many question his experience, but it takes a certain talent to cross the pond on foreign terrain for the first time of your career and defeat a well established champion on his turf. That feat in and of itself serves as a major point of contention for anyone who thinks that he's not ready. Of course that example alone isn't enough to quiet his critics, and despite the fact that he pulled off that major feat, it doesn't change the fact that to their credit, he has only fought a grand total of 137 rounds, which in this sport leaves plenty room for a stern lesson. To dig a bit deeper into his critics perspective, we now turn the page.....

Timothy Bradley - (Critics Perspective): When the critics of Mr. Bradley speak, there's typically two words that serves as a platform for them to broadcast from. Those words are experience and power. Coming into this fight against Holt, literally everyone that predicts against Bradley cast those two stones as the basis of their argument, and many others would say rightfully so. Only five fights (and a year and a half ago), Bradley was being scheduled for a maximum of 8 rounds or less. Further evidence of his limited experience can be narrowed down to the fact that not only does his resume lack true veterans, but the only man it consist of with more than forty fights was a journeyman who tallied 42 losses to a somber 14 victories. Experience isn't everything, but when faced with some of the perennial figures of the jr. welterweight division, it can be the only thing. Relative to the lack of power argument, non-believers would have to look no further than his shallow 11 KO's in 23 professional bouts. When you parallel the fact that he hasn't fought too many notable contenders along with the fact that he was still unable to boost his KO percentage while doing so, all of a sudden reality serves us with good reason to subtract from that math we spoke of earlier. Oddly enough, until he shows otherwise and proves that he can do enough to keep a fighter with a solid chin at a distance, his worth may never be known in the mind of his critics because we happen to live in an era where the none knockout delivering fighter is viewed as far less thrilling - just ask Floyd Mayweather jr. So with so much upside to speak of, the critics perspective has a way of balancing out the argument and deserves serious consideration. That being said, despite the solid arguments presented by both those angles, a more neutral perspective may end the discussion, so for that, we enter our final segment.....

Timothy Bradley - (Neutral Perspective): When the rubber hits the pavement, Timothy Bradley is what most of us around the fight world think he is...A very solid fighter with amazing ability that continues to evolve right before our eyes. The operative term in that passage is EVOLVE, because as it stands now, there's plenty to be excited about, but there's also a great deal to be cautious of. Similar to the young and talented Andre Berto, Bradley is at a point where despite the fact that his evolution hasn't come full circle, his days in the classroom are over. Basically learn on the fly or wake up asking why? It's that simple. Being a champion in the loaded 140lb division, (and neighbor to the sports deepest division - 147), there's very little room to try to learn on the job, and that one truth I think can (and will) serve as not only his worst enemy, but potentially his best friend. He can either use that truth to elevate his game, or let the pressure it causes eat him alive. Some may find that to be a losing proposition, but I would quickly point them to a Miguel Cotto, who only years ago was questioned from every angle from a soft chin, to a poor stamina. Although his chapter is still being written, it's safe to say that his resume to date removes all doubt, and it certainly adds credibility that his only loss came to a former 'rocker' whose 'wrapper' went 'pop' (pun intended). Bottomline, if Bradley is to ever become what we feel he has the potential to be, defeating a fighter like Holt is simply a right of passage to reach that level which will get him there. Hatton, Pacquiao, and others have already crossed this river. If he wants to join them, he'll have to as well. Tune in Saturday night as that journey to tier one for "Desert Storm" begins on Showtime at 1045pm EST.

(Got questions or feedback?: Contact ESB's Vivek Wallace at vivexemail@yahoo.com and 954-292-7346, follow more of his work at 8CountNews and The Examiner, or show some love at Myspace and Facebook).

Article posted on 03.04.2009



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