Timothy Bradley Meets the Press
Freddie Roach’s career is being reassessed. His star has lost its luster. Some blame the Parkinson’s. But others blame Roach himself…
In anticipation of Timothy Bradley’s return to the ring against Ruslan Provodnikov on Saturday, March 16, at the Home Depot Center in Carson California, Bradley and his trainer recently met with the press.
The WBO welterweight champion remains undefeated at 29-0 and is one of the premier fighters in the game today. But things have not gone smoothly. There were promotional issues. There were family issues. There were public relations issues. And there were issues with the fans of Manny Pacquiao, who he defeated, albeit controversially, in his last fight.
“Every fight from here on out is a statement fight, especially coming after the Pacquiao fight,” Bradley said. “I am looking to make a statement in this fight and I am looking to damage this guy. I am looking to put this guy out. I don’t want to go 12 rounds with this guy. The longer he stays around the more confident he will get so I want to get him out of there as soon as possible.”
Bradley is known for many things, but power isn’t among them. The same, however, cannot be said for the hard-hitting but overmatched Provodnikov (22-1).
“I don’t know about his knockout power,” admitted Bradley. “I’m not worried about his power. He needs to worry about my power. I am not worried about anything he is going to bring. He is going to stand in the middle of the ring. I know exactly how to beat this guy—outbox him. Provodnikov has to worry about me. I am not worried about him.”
Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz, feels much the same way.
“We don’t take anyone light,” he said, “no matter who it is or what style he has. Ruslan has his style and I know he is training really hard because this is a great opportunity for him. I watch Provodnikov fights every night and know what he is and he’s not going to change very much. I know he has power in both hands, but to catch Tim Bradley is going to be very hard. Tim is really smart and now his punching power has increased because we made some adjustments. You are going to see a different Tim Bradley on the 16th and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t go the distance.”
Wherever Bradley goes, it seems Pacquiao is soon to follow.
“The Pacquiao made me grow as a person and as a fighter and it made me realize who was important and who was not important and what is important in my career,” said Bradley. “What is not important is what people’s perception of me is. Everyone has an opinion and they can say whatever they want to say but it’s not going to stop me from what I do and that’s kick butt in the ring. What’s important is my family and I pay attention to my career and stop worrying about everyone else’s career and what they are making. I just need to focus on my career and my life. Stop reading all this garbage that all these people are writing about me. I stopped reading columns. I used to read it all the time now I don’t read it at all.”
It’s easy to understand why Bradley is upset. When he defeated the Philippine icon, many were unhappy. Some even went so far as to make death threats. But whether one agrees with the judges’ decision or not, it was hardly a dominating performance. The best one can say is that Bradley held his own, an accomplishment in its own right, if not quite enough to limp away with the crown.
“I don’t get any credit after the Pacquiao fight, whatsoever,” he complained. “People talk about me, my style, that I’m boring. Some people talk about my wife, my kids. People sent me death threats after the fight because I won undeservingly. I should have given the belt back. A lot of different things went on. I can talk all day about things that people said about me. But it doesn’t matter. None of these people are going to get in the ring with me. People can say whatever they want—it’s a free country—so I am going to say whatever I want, when I want to say it and how I want to say it. Those people don’t know me at all. If you get to know me, if you know what I go through, how I train and you still talk crap about me, then you have the problem. No one knows what I go through to prepare for my fights. People need to sell papers I guess. I am the nicest guy you will ever meet on the street, ever.”
Appearances can be deceiving, yet it’s the appearance of arrogance that turns many off. Blanket dismissals are not, after all, how to win friends and influence people. Bradley can no sooner be Asian than Pacquiao can be African American. But when says he’s “the nicest guy you will ever meet,” Bradley is tempting fate.
Like Bradley, Provodnikov will never be mistaken Pacquiao. For one thing, he is considerably easier to hit.
“Oh heck yes,” agreed Bradley. “Pacquiao is tough to hit. He is good defensively.”
Diaz seconded that emotion. “Pacquiao is really smart, but at the same time Tim is the same way. Pacquiao was throwing punches from every angle and missing most of them. For the Pacquiao fight we wanted to execute Manny’s strategy, movement, technique, but the injury made us survive for the fight. But this guy (Provodnikov) comes straight forward. He is just a target in front of you.”
One of the things that Provodnikov has going for him is cornerman Freddie Roach. Roach’s career, after the two Pacquiao losses, no less than Amir Khan’s loss to Danny Garcia and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.’s loss to Sergio Martinez, is being reassessed. His star has lost its luster. Some blame the Parkinson’s. But others, like Joel Diaz, blame Roach himself.
“Freddie Roach was just a name that was created,” he said. “I think Freddie Roach lost the love of the sport. He created a name and it’s out there but he doesn’t have the compassion for the sport that he had a few years ago. I’ve seen it in the last Marquez fight. I’ve seen it in the fight before, the third fight with Marquez. Freddie Roach is the least of my concern for any fight. I just focus on the fighter. Freddie Roach is always trying to play mind games. Freddie says Tim is going to run. That is just Freddie playing mind games. They don’t know how we are going to fight. He is trying to get under Tim’s skin. At the end of the day Tim is going to be a winner, and that’s what matters.”