Timothy Bradley Jr. reveals his battle plan
June, 7, 2012
By Kieran Mulvaney | ESPN.com
Timothy Bradley Jr. is not, it would seem, the kind of fighter who goes out of the way to sing his own praises.
"I'm the kind of fighter that I don't look pretty. I don't look spectacular," he told reporters at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Wednesday, three days before the biggest bout of his career against Manny Pacquiao. "I don't have this, like, 'spark' that everybody's looking for. I don't do that one thing that makes everybody say, 'Wow, this kid can really box' or 'this kid can really fight.' Maybe I just do enough just to win the fight. Maybe I'm not going as high as I possibly can go, maybe I'm not fighting as hard as I possibly can fight. You can look at me on film and see how sloppy I am. I lunge in at times. You see all these things that I do wrong."
Just as it might appear that Bradley was trying to talk the world out of betting on him springing the upset against Pacquiao, the undefeated American added a qualifier: He might not be pretty, but he's effective.
"Once [fighters] get in the ring with me, their strategy or whatever their game plan is just goes out the window," he said. "Because if their strategy is to tie me up, that's not going to happen, I'm sorry."
As for his game plan against Pacquiao: Although he has spoken of his intent to knock out the Filipino, he concedes that standing in front of his opponent wouldn't necessarily be the wisest of plans -- it is, in fact, likely exactly what Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach would like him to do.
"They want to get me in a toe-to-toe fight with Pacquiao because he's a bigger puncher," Bradley said, "but I'll be able to judge after the first couple of rounds whether I can stand toe to toe with this guy and whether I can exchange with this guy."
Bradley does know, however, what he wants to do -- and what he wants to avoid doing:
"I know I can't throw wide shots, because anybody that throws wide, Manny just throws straight -- boom, boom -- down the middle, and I could get countered and get knocked on my behind. So I know that I've got to stay tight, I've got to stay behind a good jab, I've got to keep moving, I've got to have great defense and I've got to counterpunch the hell out of this guy with combinations to get this guy up off me. And I know I got to weaken this guy and go to his body really early, to slow his ass down."
He is also fully aware of many observers' biggest fear -- that, given his record of clashing heads, particularly with southpaw opponents, his cranium and Pacquiao's may come together, causing a cut and bringing about a premature ending.
"I'm definitely going to watch my head in this fight," he said. "We've been working in this training camp to keep my head out the mix. Hopefully, Pacquiao's gonna do that same thing, keep his big ol' head out the middle, too, so we don't clash heads.
"I don't want the fans to be upset, paying that kind of money to watch a great fight and then be disappointed if it goes to the scorecards after four rounds. I'd be disappointed. I wouldn't know what to do. I'd probably end up in tears."