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|Timothy Bradley Jr., who has 12 knockouts in 28 fights, believes he has the power to trade punches with Manny Pacquiao.|
“"I really thought they were going to fight Cotto, to be honest," Bradley said. "They fought once before and Cotto is recharged, so why not do a rematch? That's what I thought. Pacquiao's wife [Jinkee] even went on the record saying that is who she thought it would be. Then Cotto didn't agree to the weight, so I was thinking, 'Shoot, who else is out there?' "I knew they weren't going to fight Mayweather. It's hard to deal with Mayweather. I knew they wouldn't come to terms." Because Bradley easily defeated Peterson in a 2009 title defense, he discounted him as a Pacquiao opponent. "When I heard Peterson, I just laughed," Bradley said. "I beat him. It wouldn't make any sense. It would be hard to sell. Lamont is a great fighter, a great champion, but no way. He's not even with Top Rank. That wouldn't make any sense at all." And with Marquez, Bradley said he didn't think the public wanted to see a fourth fight with Pacquiao so soon after the third. "Absolutely not," he said. "I just think that the fights are too close. You're going to get that fight every time." So now Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), of Palm Springs, Calif., has the fight and is convinced he can win. "It's time for a new face and I'm gonna win this fight. It's what I believe," Bradley said. "Nobody expected me to win in England when I was a 6-to-1 underdog [against Junior Witter in 2008] and I took the title. I'm willing to shock the world. I feel I can beat this guy. "I have always been an underdog all of my life. But I know how to win. I talk winning. I go into the ring and win. Manny Pacquiao is the world's greatest fighter. After I win, the rematch will be in November." At 28, Bradley is in his prime. Many have him ranked in the top 10 pound-for-pound. He's probably just as fast as Pacquiao and very skillful, even if he isn't a big puncher. But he has faced quality competition, albeit at junior welterweight, in Devon Alexander, Peterson, Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt and Witter, just to name a few. Bradley is right when he said Pacquiao has not faced a younger fighter in his prime with equal speed in a long time. Instead, Pacquiao's recent fights came against the 38-year-old Marquez, Shane Mosley (39 when they met) and Antonio Margarito (32 but well past his prime). "I feel that I am very well rounded in my craft. I can box, I can mix it up. He hasn't seen that in a long time," Bradley said. "My youth is a big factor and I'm the hungrier guy. That's why I'm so confident. I have as much speed as he does. I got a really good chin. I got great defense. I'm hungry and determined to shock and prove all the critics wrong. "People say, 'Bradley doesn't have power.' But guys haven't been willing to stand in and fight me. Instead, they're hugging on me, want to dance with me. That's not my fault. Look at Casamayor and Alexander. I don't have any power but these dudes sure do like to hold when they get close to me. I don't have that one-punch knockout power, but I can back you off me and I have put guys on the canvas, including Witter, Peterson, Edner Cherry. I keep guys honest with my power." Bradley also said he believes being on the big stage against an A-plus opponent will bring out the best in him. "I'm pumped up for this," he said. "What I tend to do is fight to the level of my opponent. I do enough to win, but in this fight Manny will bring the best out of me. He's the best in the world. I know what I am capable of doing. I have to be on my A-game all the way. I haven't had to do that in a while. I can't make it close. I have to win this fight convincingly and I'm ready to do that. Manny is going to make me fight like I have never had to." "That night we come to fight, not to make friends," said Joel Diaz, Bradley's trainer. "We will be there that night to defeat Manny Pacquiao. I train my fighters not to [just] show up. We're not going to the event to show up and look good. We're going to be there that night ready to win the fight. I am going to prepare Tim Bradley to go to war and take that throne from Manny Pacquiao. With all respect, we will be victorious that night." Despite his considerable talent, Bradley acknowledges he's an unknown to most. But he said that does not mean he can't beat perhaps the most famous fighter on the planet. "Look at [Muhammad] Ali. He was the underdog against Sonny Liston, not all that well known, and came in and took him out," Bradley said. "People said he didn't have a chance. Took him out. Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas? Douglas, huge underdog. Took him out. There is a time for everybody and this is my time."
It's time for a new face and I'm gonna win this fight. It's what I believe. I'm willing to shock the world. I feel I can beat this guy.” -- Timothy Bradley Jr.
Dan Rafael is a boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.