By Keith Idec
Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach aren’t the only ones concerned about Timothy Bradley butting the Filipino superstar with his head June 9.
Bradley admits he, too, has been cognizant in training of figuring out ways to limit head-butts during the biggest fight of his career next week in Las Vegas.
“It has altered preparation and we are trying to eliminate head-butts,” Bradley said. “Throwing my shots out before coming in with my head and then stepping in, as opposed to leaning in, then throwing shots. We’ve been working on it in the gym and have been very successful with it in sparring and keeping my balance. I definitely don’t want this fight to end on a head-butt.”
While some fighters contend Bradley is dirty, Pacquiao suspects Bradley’s butts are accidental clashes caused by an aggressive style Bradley has grown accustomed to using in the ring. Regardless, Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) realizes there would be about 16,000 disappointed fans in MGM’s Grand Garden Arena, in addition to millions watching worldwide, if a head-butt causes a cut that prohibits Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) from continuing in their 12-round HBO Pay-Per-View main event.
“No one wants to see the fight end on a head-butt,” Bradley said, “and I don’t want to leave a bad taste in the mouth of the fans. They pay to see a show. They pay to see a fight, not a head-butt clash. That’s not how you want it to happen.
“I have to take it into consideration to try to elude it. Just be smart, but it won’t take away from my game plan. I’m going to step inside, bang the body and apply the pressure. Against [Joel] Casamayor [6½ months ago], I was aware of the head-butts and kept my head out of the mix.”
Talk of his head-butts being used to his advantage previously bothered Bradley. The undefeated fighter from Palm Springs, Calif., no longer lets such criticism affect him.
“I have heard everything and it is old,” Bradley said. “And it doesn’t get under my skin anymore. I don’t care what people think about me. I know how to fight, I am 28 years old and won three world championships, and [am] going after my fourth. I am fighting the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.