By Chris Robinson
For several weeks inside of the Indio Boys and Girls Club in Southern California, former lightweight champion Julio Diaz immersed himself into the training camp of Timothy Bradley, serving as one of the chief sparring partners for the Palm Springs native ahead of his June 9th bout with Manny Pacquiao.
Twice the holder of the IBF championship, Diaz did his best to mimic Pacquiao by switching from orthodox to southpaw while offering up Bradley a variety of angles during their rounds together. As is always the case, Bradley got himself into pristine condition, leaving no room for error, and would indeed go on to defeat Pacquiao, capturing a split-decision verdict after two of the three 115-113 scorecards were read in his favor.
The backlash to the decision has been palpable, with several fans and insiders crying robbery, and even Diaz himself admitted that a hint of uncertainty has been left in the bout’s aftermath.
“I’ve got to be honest, it was a little controversial and everybody has their own opinion towards it,” Diaz stated from the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino in Indio ahead of tonight’s Cornelius Bundrage-Cory Spinks rematch. “At the end of the day it was the judges who scored the fight. Timothy worked hard and he did his job. This is out of the teams hands.”
The younger brother of Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz, Julio was quick to point out that Tim appeared to be at his best as camp closed and seemed to feel the leg injuries suffered by him during the bout likely affected his performance.
“He was really ready; he was sharp, he was on-point with his reaction time, his timing was impeccable,” stated Diaz. “I mean, he did twelve rounds with the best fighter in the world and he was injured. Who knows what would have happened if he wasn’t injured.”
Still, Diaz feels that Pacquiao’s lack of initiative, especially late in the fight, played a role in the Filipino icon’s undoing.
“A lot of people don’t see that Pacquiao only fought twenty seconds per round,” Diaz continued. “He is what he is but he took a lot of breaks. At the end of the day, you’ve got to put the work in to win the fight. Not just show up and be in the spotlight.”
Bradley’s claim that both of his feet were injured in the bout certainly adds an interesting subplot to the match and Diaz feels that Tim would likely be a whole new man in a second encounter with Pacquiao.
“I know he would have been a lot more active, a lot more aggressive, and he would have done a lot more work,” Diaz stated. “I think Timothy held back a little on his activity due to those injuries and he caught a little more punches than he should have because he couldn’t move as he wanted.
“In the gym he worked with great angles; he was on his feet,” Diaz added. “When I saw the fight I was like ‘Why is he staying like that?’? Instead of angling out of the way, he would just cover up. Later on I found out, he had no feet.”
Despite scoring the biggest victory of his career, Bradley has shown himself to be a little somber after all of the backlash he has received from the fight, even pointing out that his passion for the sport has left him. Diaz feels that the 28-year old champion will eventually get his desire back and that he is simply going through the motions at this point.
“Yeah, of course,” Diaz answered. “I personally think it’s a little disappointment, because nobody likes to be dissed at or put down. Timothy’s always been a good champion, he’s always been successful, and now he’s not receiving much love. Let’s just put it that way. It’s kind of surprising for him, but it’s part of boxing.”
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