Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Bradley wants no ifs, ands or butts
By Brett Okamoto
Timothy Bradley Jr. could face Yuriorkis Gamboa ... or Floyd Mayweather Jr. in his next fight.
LAS VEGAS -- Manny Paquiao declined to comment this week when asked if he believes that Timothy Bradley Jr., his opponent on Saturday, intentionally head-butts opponents in the ring.
As is often the case, however, Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, spoke on a subject when his fighter would not.
"[He does it] on purpose, of course," Roach said. "Anything to win the fight."
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Bradley (28-0) has been accused of deliberately head-butting throughout his career and it has had a visible impact on more than a handful of his fights.
None more so than his light welterweight title unification fight against Devon Alexander at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., in January 2011. Ringside physician Peter Samet was forced to stop that fight in the 10th round after multiple head clashes between the fighters opened deep cuts around both of Alexander's eyes.
After suffering his first professional loss in that fight, Alexander publicly admitted he wasn't prepared for Bradley's butts and had trouble dealing with the blood.
Bradley contests that the head-butting is a result of the way he tucks his chin and his opponents' tendency to hold him in the ring. He did add, however, that he and trainer Joel Diaz have made adjustments in this camp to avoid the issue.
"I keep that chin tucked, and where is that head? Straight down the middle," Bradley said. "When these guys come in and try to hold me, I'm right there. Boom.
"I'll tell you something, we've been really focusing on not allowing the heads to clash. We've been working on throwing our shots before we step in. I don't want any damn excuses at the end of the night after I whoop that butt."
Boxing observers know that any time a southpaw -- Pacquiao in this case -- matches up with an orthodox fighter, the tendency to clash heads increases. Aware of that, Bradley pointed out that if there is a head-butt in the fight, it might not be his fault.
"Go back and review Manny Pacquiao's last three, four fights," Bradley said. "This guy comes in reckless with his head, too, all right guys? You can't shy away from that. He storms in, lowers his head and he attacks."
Roach didn't seem overly concerned about the two butting heads, but added as a final note, "the referee has to do his job."