Tim Bradley ready to regain fans' faith

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
9:35
PM ET
Bradley Chris Farina/Top RankTimothy Bradley Jr. is hoping for more big fights and, ideally, more mobs of adoring fans.
Timothy Bradley Jr. is angry.

Don't take my word for it. He says so himself.

"I've been angry for the last eight or nine months," he told reporters at the MGM Grand on Thursday. "I've been angry. I've got a chip on my damn shoulder, I really do."

What is he angry about? Well, how much time have you got?

For one thing, he is angry about what he continues to feel was the ineffective way he was promoted in his career prior to joining Top Rank, for whom he will fight his first fight, against Cuban veteran Joel Casamayor, in the chief support bout for Manny Pacquaio's clash with archrival Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday.

"I felt like I was standing still. I've been standing still for a while. I've only fought twice in the last two years, guys. And I don't understand why," Bradley said. "I came off one of the biggest fights in my career [January's junior welterweight unification victory over Devon Alexander], and I didn't really move anywhere. Fighting the Devon fight didn't do nothing for my career, man. Nothing. Didn't do anything for me. I don't know, man. This boxing game can be tricky, it can use and abuse you. Only the strong survive in this game, and I've learned that now."

Signing with Top Rank, Bradley believes, will give him the push over the top so that he receives the acclaim and fame he clearly thinks he deserves. "I've got a true, real-life promoter now that's going to push me and push me and push me to be superstar in this game," he said. "I'm a three-time world champion. I shouldn't be able to walk down these dang corridors right here. People should know who I am. People should know exactly who I am. I'm a three-time world champion."

But that isn't all. If not angry exactly, Bradley is certainly unhappy about the fact that, as he puts it, "I'm still fighting for respect."

"All the criticism, everything everybody said about me, I want to prove everybody wrong," he said. "People saying I don't deserve a shot at Manny, don't deserve a shot at this, or I'm going to get knocked out: Prove it to me. I don't fear any man. I don't. I don't fear Joel Casamayor. Do I feel he's a threat? Absolutely not. I'm going to destroy Casamayaor on Saturday. Period. Hands down. There's nothing he can do to beat me."

Bradley does, however, acknowledge that he lost a fair deal of the respect he had built up when he turned down an offer to fight rival titlist Amir Khan earlier this year. But as he insists, "I'm going to win it all back. I probably have lost respect from fans, yeah. Even after the Devon fight, people lost respect for me. But it's OK, it's alright."

That path begins Saturday, with a bout he recognizes he needs to win impressively to grab people's attention and perhaps put himself in line for a bout with the man who headlines Saturday's pay-per-view show:

"It's been a while," Bradley said. "This is serious business. I'm ready to go, man. Casamayor, I respect him. I respect him as a fighter, but his time is over. It's Timothy Bradley time. It's 'Desert Storm' time. I'm in the best shape I could possibly be in, man. There's nothing that I fear. There's no one that I fear. I don't fear anybody. Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather -- I'm ready for anybody. Any time. Right now, man. I'm ready. And I'm going to have a great performance Saturday night. I feel it. He can't stop me.

"I'm stronger than ever. Everything that I went through these last nine months has made me strong. My character is stronger than ever. I've grown. I've grown a heckuva lot, man. I'm a little emotional right now because I want it. You know what I'm saying? I want it."
Kieran Mulvaney covers boxing for ESPN.com, HBO.com and Reuters, and also blogs for Discovery Channel News.

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