by Francisco Salazar
When you lose, you win. When you win, you lose.
When Timothy Bradley won a highly-controversial split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao on June 8th, he thought that he would have a number of high-profile fights lined up and the adoration of fight fans.
Not to say his scheduled 12 round bout tonight against Ruslan Provodnikov at the Home Depot Center in Carson is not.
However, he did not expect death threats to him or his family to be rained down on him.
It is not Bradley’s fault that two of the three judges gave him the nod over Pacquiao that night. It’s not his job to judge whether he wins or not, but he will say that he did enough to outbox the popular Filipino star.
So instead of his victory over Pacquiao (others call it a loss) that would translate into the mega fights that he so longed for since making his professional in August of 2004, he will fight before over a half-filled venue against a fighter whom he did not think he would fight even three months ago.
According to Bradley, that is fine. He has persevered and is willing to “start over” to prove a point: that he is the best at 147 pounds.
Like it or not, he is going about this goal without having to worry about what others think of him, especially the decision in his last fight.
"Everyone has an opinion and they can say whatever they want to say but it’s not going to stop me from what I do and that’s kick but in the ring,” said Bradley during a recent conference call. “I just need to focus on my career and my life. Stop reading all this garbage that all these people are writing about me. I stopped reading columns. I used to read it all the time now I don’t read it at all.”
Hindsight is 20/20 though. What if Bradley did lose the decision to Pacquiao? Would Bradley still be fighting Provodnikov or would there be a rematch with Pacquiao? Would anyone care?
Boxing brings out the best and the worst in people. People will always cheer and applaud wildly when they see a Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado fight or any of the Israel Vazquez-Rafael Marquez. That is what makes the sport special and fun to be around.
However, the bad came when Bradley received death threats. Not letters, tweets, message of congratulations for pulling off the upset, but death threats.
Bradley did not report the threats to local authorities in his hometown of Palm Springs, CA. But it still bothered Bradley, who is a devout Christian.
“I don’t get any credit after the Pacquiao fight, whatsoever,” said Bradley, who is promoted by Top Rank and managed by Cameron Dunkin. “Some people talk about my wife, my kids. People sent me death threats after the fight because I won undeservingly. A lot of different things went on. I can talk all day about things that people said about me.”
“None of these people are going to get in the ring with me. People can say whatever they want – it is a free country – so I am going to say whatever I want, when I want to say it and how I want to say it. Those people don’t know me at all.”
People were wondering why Bradley did not take up an initial offer of fighting at the new Marlins Park in Miami in December. It would have been televised on HBO and possible opponents for that fight were Andre Berto and Lamont Peterson.
However, Bradley was still recuperating from the injuries he suffered to both ankles in the Pacquiao fight.
Through the whirlwind of ups and downs after the Pacquiao fight, it is now fight night for Bradley. A win could see another high profile fighter at 147 pounds. A rematch with Pacquiao? Maybe. A fight with Andre Berto? Why not?
Bradley is going to Bradley. As in he will do what he, along with Top Rank and Dunkin, is right for his career. If Provodnikov is the right fight for him now, so be it.
Fight fans who cheered for Pacquiao will probably cheer for Provodnikov. Why not? They have the same trainer in Freddie Roach.
If confidence wins you titles, then Bradley would be an undisputed champion for a long time. However, he will settle with the WBO title and maybe more down the line. He could win or lose, but he will remain in the boxing game in a while.
Like others, he is a firm believer of when you win, you win and when you lose, you lose.
Francisco A. Salazar has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. His twitter handle is Salazar_soccer and he could be reached at [email protected]