By Rick Reeno
WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12KOs) admits he was having thoughts of suicide, because of the vicious abuse that followed his controversial twelve round split decision victory over Manny Pacquiao in June of 2012.
According to Bradley, fans would hurl verbal abuse on the street, he was being torn apart on the internet on a daily basis, and death threats began to roll in as well.
"Oh hell yeah [I considered suicide]. Hell yeah. No doubt. Me and my wife would sit there and read all this stuff and get phone calls. And once the death threats rolled in - I was like 'this is ridiculous,' Bradley said.
"I got letters from fans just belittling me, saying that I wasn't a true champion...don't go patting yourself on the back, you didn't win. I was like the laughing stock of the media. It was a bad moment. I was like 'I don't even want to box anymore, I don't want to live anymore. This sucks. This is not how it's supposed to be like.'"
But eventually everything changed when Bradley stopped reading the bad press and focused on his life and his career. And after nearly two years, Bradley believes the controversy had a positive impact on his career.
"Honestly, looking back at everything. I thought about it the other day - 'I'm so happy.' At the time, during the controversy when I was going through the storm it was terrible. It was terrible for my family. Looking back at it now I'm thankful it happened," Bradley said.
"We would have never got the Ruslan [Provodnikov] fight if that controversy would have never happened. We would have never got the [Juan Manuel] Marquez fight, because Marquez didn't want to fight me before that. He thought I was damaged goods [from the Provodnikov fight]. I got the Marquez fight and I beat him. Now Manny is trying to rebound and it's the perfect setup. It's the perfect time."
At the present, Bradley continues to receive negative comments from fans on the street. But now he takes it with a smile and refuses to allow the negativity to affect him.
"I was at Toys R' Us and this lady came up to me and said 'hey, how are you doing Bradley? I'm a huge fan. Who are you fighting again?' And I said 'you're a huge fan and you don't know who I'm fighting?' I said 'I'm fighting Manny Pacquiao on April 12.' She said 'when?' And I said 'April 12th' and said 'oh, I hope you win this time,' Bradley laughed as he revisited the incident.
The abuse and the comments have only increased Bradley's motivation to win on Saturday night when he faces Pacquiao in an HBO Pay-Per-View rematch, before an expected sold-out crowd at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"Although I am certain I won the fight it is now time to once again show the world who Timothy Bradley really is. On April 12 we will settle once and for all the uncertainty of boxing followers and those of the fans. This is my chance at redemption and I promise I will make the most of it,” Bradley stated.