In an unusual twist of events, two world title belts — one currently owned by Timothy “Desert Storm’’ Bradley, and one he recently relinquished — will be on the line during a unique world championship doubleheader featuring four of the most talented 140-pounders in the world on Saturday, Aug. 1, live on SHOWTIME® (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast). Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs) will risk his WBO belt against former unified lightweight world champ Nate “The Galaxxy Warrior” Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KOs) in the main event. In the co-feature on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, the boxer Bradley dethroned to capture his first world title — No. 3 -ranked Junior “The Hitter” Witter — will face undefeated, No. 2-rated Devon Alexander “The Great’’ for the WBC title that Bradley voluntarily gave up.
The exciting twinbill will originate from the classy, brand-new The Show at Agua Caliente Casino • Resort • Spa in the desert community of Rancho Mirage, Calif., a short distance from Bradley’s lifelong home in North Palm Springs, Calif. The event will be promoted by Gary Shaw Productions and Thompson Boxing Promotions in association with Don King Productions and Agua Caliente Casino • Resort • Spa. Tickets go on sale July 3, at 10 a.m. (PT) and will be available for purchase online at www.HotWaterCasino.com/TheShow or by calling (800) 585-3737..
Homefield advantage or not, the talented, confident, supremely well-conditioned Bradley will have the toughest fight of his career against Campbell, of Jacksonville, Fla., a hard-hitting, determined veteran who captured three of the 135-pound world title belts when he shocked the boxing world by beating previously undefeated Juan “The Baby Bull” Diaz.
Bradley, a non-stop puncher who makes for crowd-pleasing fights, is one of the elite fighters at 140 and will be the favorite, but he has been known to go down and Campbell has registered knockouts in 25 of his 33 victories.
The promising Alexander is the most highly touted fighter to come out of St. Louis since four-time world champ Cory Spinks. Alexander has stopped 11 of his 18 opponents, including the last three in a row. The vastly more experienced Witter, a Brit who’s making his second start in the United States, lost a split decision to Bradley in his outing before last in Nottingham, England. Witter’s other defeat came against then world champion Zab Judah in June 2000.
Are the winners headed for a unification showdown? That question and many more will be answered on an evening of exciting fights on a hot summer August night in the desert.
What Bradley, Campbell, the promoters and Aqua Caliente executives had to say at Tuesday’s press conference:
“I don’t think people realize or understand how exciting it is for me and how important it is for me to fight at home and on SHOWTIME. I have been asking for a fight here for a long time.
“It’s weird, really. I’m more well-known in England, the United States and Canada than I am in my own backyard. But that’s going to change on Aug. 1 and I am extremely happy about that.
“This will be a great night for boxing and an exciting night for the fans in this area to see one of their own in a great fight of this stature. I really appreciate Aqua Caliente for stepping up to the plate like they have.
“The recognition I get has been fantastic, but home is where I need the support. Home is where I want the support. Only stars and celebrities play the arena where we’re fighting, and I know I am going to shine.
“I’ve known Nate for a long time. I know what he brings to the table and that he is going to try and bring it to me. This is a tough, hard-fight. But that’s what I want. I want to fight the best.
“I didn’t have to take this. But I didn’t feel (Devon) Alexander had done enough to deserve a shot. Now, he’s fighting a guy I beat to win my first title, Junior Witter, on the undercard.
“That only makes this card better. I have to beat a highly regarded, determined, tough guy like Nate. I need his name on my resume to help get me where I want to go and am going to be.’’
“I am just happy to fight. I had three lightweight belts and I couldn’t give them away, much less get anybody to fight me. I’ve fought bigger guys before so 140 is a very comfortable weight for me. I train all the time so the layoff won’t be a factor.
“There’s a lot of respect going on here both ways, but once the bell rings we’ll be trying to tear the other’s head off.
“I have no problem fighting in his backyard, or anywhere for that matter. The only thing that matters is that I’m the baddest guy not only in the ring, but in the building whenever I fight.
“I’ve known Tim since when he was barely a blip on the radar screen. He fights with a lot of heart and he’s got the belt now, but I always feel like I’m the champion. He’s undefeated, but I am going to get that (zero). I plan to do it all on Aug. 1.
“I fight because I love to fight and I love the sport. Mostly, though, I love to win. This fight has all the makings of a great one. Style-wise, it will be amazing. It’s going to be a monster ordeal.’’
PHIL COOPER (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, AQUA CALIENTE BAND OF CAHUILLA INDIANS)“The Show was made for this type of knock-out entertainment; this is the beginning of a new era for top-level sporting events in Southern California.”
DAVID FENDRICK, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, AQUA CALIENTE BAND OF CAHUILLA INDIANS)
“We have the right venue and the right team in place—this fight will be spectacular.”
PROMOTER GARY SHAW
“I want everyone to be aware that Timothy Bradley didn’t have to take this risk of taking on Nate Campbell but he did so because he is a true athlete.
“Timothy gave up his championship title with the WBC to go with the WBO title in order to seek out more opportunity and this fight offered him that opportunity.
“Not only is this a battle for a championship title but it is a battle in his very own backyard. This is something very special to Timothy to be able to bring the fight home.
“Nate Campbell is a great fighter, as is Timothy Bradley. They are both professionals and on Aug. 1 fight fans are going to see a real fight from two great fighters.
“Having added the Witter-Alexander match as the co-feature is something very special because two great world title fights in the same weight class (on the same night) rarely happens in this sport.
“We are honored to promote the first boxing event at Agua Caliente Resort and Casino, which is a first class resort with superior service that is very detailed — in much the same way, both Timothy and Nate bring the same type of superior performance in the ring for the fight fans.”
PROMOTER KEN THOMPSON
“We’re especially excited to bring this stellar event to Bradley’s hometown. Bradley has proven time and time again on foreign land that he is a true champion and on Aug. 1 he will have the opportunity to treat his hometown fans to witness another one of his great victories.
“Agua Caliente Resort and Casino was our first choice when considering the venue and the magnitude of this fight. Southern California fight fans will enjoy the resort immensely.’’