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 Last update:  5/8/2012       Read more by Chris Robinson         
   
Bradley's Trainer: Mayweather's Age Catching Up With Him
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By Chris Robinson

While inside of the MGM Grand on Saturday night during the ‘Ring Kings’ pay-per-view event headlined by Floyd Mayweather’s excellent bout with Miguel Cotto, I spotted a familiar face in attendance I otherwise would not have expected.
 
Leading undefeated lightweight prospect Omar Figueroa into the ring for the untelevised portion of the card was trainer Joel Diaz, known best for his work with undefeated junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley.
 
Diaz is presently deep into training with Bradley in Indio, California as they are savoring the chance to shock the masses with their June 9th assignment against WBO welterweight champion and Filipino marvel Manny Pacquiao.
 
And while Diaz worked the corner of Figueroa as he dismantled journeyman Robbie Cannon in under two rounds and later stuck around for Mayweather’s grueling unanimous decision over Cotto, he soon headed back to his familiar confines in Southern California to get back to work with Bradley ahead of his biggest test as a professional.
 
Catching up with the former lightweight contender on Monday evening, Diaz and I had a conversation encompassing a few key topics, including his work with Figueroa, his unabashed thoughts on the Mayweather-Cotto melee, the latest buzz coming from the camp of Tim Bradley, and a bit more.
 
In his own words, this is what Diaz had to share…
 
Working with Omar Figueroa…
“You know what? It’s not that difficult. Because, that kid really wants it. As you can see, he’s a very strategical fighter, but man, that kid can hit. I train fighters for many, many, many years but there’s a big difference with this guy’s punch, I’m telling you. Even when I put that body bag on so he could hit it, believe me, he hits really hard.”
 
How he started working with Figueroa…

“Maybe two years ago, Robert Diaz, one of Golden Boy’s matchmakers, called me and told me, they were signing a kid by the name of Omar Figueroa. At the time, I had a kid by the name of Tomas Barragan. And I looked him up and I said ‘Man, this kid can get beat. He’s very wide, poor defense’. No big deal and I forgot about it and all of a sudden, his father called me one day and said ‘I’m Omar Figueroa’s father and I spoke to Robert Diaz and he told me that you would be a good trainer to work with my son, because it’s hard to work with him already. I can only do so much for him’. I said if he wanted to send him in, I can work with him, no problem. They never called me back but months later, Robert Diaz called me back and said Omar Figueroa wasn’t really focused much on boxing because acquaintances and friends and they were thinking of sending him to me, because Golden Boy just signed him. I said ‘I’m ready work, just give me the blueprint and I’ll be willing to work on him”.”
 
Embracing the unique style of Figueroa…
“Days later he came over here, I trained him for our first fight, and it was a tough fight. They gave me a tough blueprint. We were fighting Michael Perez, an undefeated Olympian. They had a lot of plans with Michael Perez, a future star you know? I said ‘Ok, I can work with this kid’ and really there isn’t much you can show this guy, because he has that unique style, as you can see. All I’m doing with him is, condition-wise, get him ready and working on his defense, because before he was standing tall and leaning back and he would get hit. Just keeping him low, moving his head a little bit more. What I’m doing mostly is improving his defense. This was my third fight with him and all I have to do is keep reminding him ‘Move your head’ and ask for more combinations that you want him to do. For his last fight, we are very adapt and good on combinations and stuff like that. There’s nothing I’m going to change with him, because that’s his style. If I tried to change his style, then I would confuse him and he wouldn’t look good. That’s the thing. This weekend, he went in there and did what he had to do. I saw the fight. I saw Omar knocking him out with either a left to the body or a left to the head. And that’s what happened.”
 
Sticking around to watch the Mayweather-Cotto fight…
“You know what? It was actually a more competitive fight that I thought it was going to be. I really thought that Mayweather was going to dominate Cotto in an easier fashion. He didn’t. No doubt Mayweather won the fight. I know a lot of people, I’ve been reading a lot of comments that ‘Oh, Cotto got robbed’. You know what? If you watch the fight again, you can see it. I watched it very clear; Mayweather lost maybe three or four rounds, but they were close rounds. Otherwise he dominated the fight. Everything he threw landed.”
 
Why Mayweather had a tougher time with Cotto than many expected…
“I don’t have an answer right now for you on that one. I think that Mayweather, his age is catching up to him already. Because I didn’t see the footwork from Floyd that he has when he performs at his best. I heard Mayweather, at the end of the fight, in an interview, that he wanted to give the people what they wanted to see and that’s why he stayed in front of Cotto and took his punches. Believe me, as a fighter, you can ask the fighter ‘Would you jeopardize a fight, risking a punch?’ No. If you can dominate a fighter from beginning to end, you will do it. There’s no such bullsh*t that you stayed in there because that’s what the people wanted to see. At the end of the day, the fight is going to end up the way people thought it was going to be. Floyd, I respect him, he’s a great fighter. To me, Mayweather is a fighter who is hard to beat because he has great skills. I’m always on his side, but when he said ‘I want to give the people what they wanted to see’, there’s no way. As a fighter, even if I know this fight is going to be easy, I would not stay in there and jeopardize the fight. You never know. One punch could change the fight.”
 
The latest from Camp Bradley…
“Everything is great. Timothy, last week, had a little too much work. So we decided to take Saturday and Sunday off in the gym. But he did run, which is called the Tramway Run, up the mountains out here in Palm Springs, which is a very, very tough run. You’re talking about three and a half, almost four miles at a forty-five degree angle, non-stop. That run doesn’t let you take a breather. He did that Saturday and then he came today and today he performed like a million dollars. He sparred three different guys. He sparred one guy three rounds and then another guy two rounds and he did seven rounds today. Seven four-minute rounds and in the last round he was throwing punches as if it was the first. He looked very rested, he looked very sharp, and he had that happy face on him, he was in good shape, he was happy to be there. His punches were doing some damage and he was very comfortable.”
 
Reserving his comments until after the fight…
“Coming out the ring he said ‘Coach, this is how I want to feel’ and I said ‘Believe me, all you have to do is listen and on that night, we’re going to shock the world’. I see it in his face. I see the determination and how hungry he is. I really don’t want to say much, because I know that people are going to criticize me and say ‘He’s just talking sh*t’. But you know what? I’ll reserve my comments, but at the end of the day, that’s when I’m going to start talking.”
 
Bradley’s sparring with undefeated lightweight contender Luis Ramos Jr….
“Luis, he’s a great kid, he has a lot of skill, he’s an undefeated fighter, and today Tim caught him with some good body shots and after that, everything changed. Luis was moving around instead of coming forward. Because Luis, the first day he came in and he was moving forward, throwing a lot of punches at Tim and Tim was moving and counterpunching and stuff. Today, he tried to do the same thing and Tim caught him with some good body shots. And then everything changed. Tim was more relaxed and he said ‘Coach, I got him already. I’ve dialed him in’. And once he dials you in, after that, he’s going to be in control.”
 
Why undefeated junior welterweight contender and WBC #1 ranked Ajose Olusegun wasn’t brought into camp to help Bradley after expressing interest…
“Let me tell you what the thing is. When I brought it up to them and said that he would be a great sparring partner, Timothy told me he followed that kid’s career since he started making noise here in the United States and that he was a beast. But Timothy said ‘You know what? He’s the number-one contender for the WBC. You never know, maybe we meet down the road.’ And then another thing, remember that Timothy Bradley and Gary Shaw, they didn’t end up in good terms. And Ajose has something to do with Gary and his people. They have their guard up for some reason. They’re really not too good about bringing Ajose to camp. For that particular reason, that he signed with Gary Shaw and Tim says ‘I wonder why he wants to come to my camp’. That’s the reason why. His father told me it doesn’t sound good. That’s why I don’t make decisions on my own. I have to bring them up to the camp. Because, at the end of the day, if something goes wrong, I don’t want to be blamed for it.”
 
Keeping his brother and former champion Julio Diaz in camp for sparring…
“Julio’s always in shape and Julio’s good because Julio has real good angles. Julio has that footwork that Manny Pacquiao has. Because Julio watches Manny Pacquiao’s footwork. And he’s getting better and better every day. And Julio’s a bigger, stronger, and more mature fighter and Julio can punch you lefty, right any day. But Timothy likes Julio, because Julio has a lot of footwork, moves in different angles, throws little feints every once in a while, and that’s what Manny Pacquiao does.”
 
Not worrying about Bradley burning himself out in training…
“No. I have everything on calendar. I have everything on paper, and also, I know Tim, just watching him work in the gym, his energy level, and that’s the reason why on Saturday we didn’t train. No gym work. On Sunday we took the whole day off. We’re sparring twenty-six rounds a week. Twenty-six rounds at four minutes. It’s like fighting twice in one week. And he’s looking good. He has not looked bad one day. And this weekend, I’m going to give him a light day Saturday and then Sunday a day off. Right now the work is not an issue so he’s not going to peak soon.”
 
Why Pacquiao’s side will also have trouble finding sparring partners to accurately emulate Bradley’s style…
“There’s no such thing as finding a perfect sparring for every individual in the world. You can find something similar or you can have a fighter sort of similar to what the fighter does. Believe me, there is no way that I would ever have a fighter who fights just like Manny Pacquiao. As well as them; they will never find a fighter like Timothy Bradley. As far as I’m concerned, they got Provodnikov, the Russian. Come on. There’s no similarities between that guy and Timothy Bradley. That guy is just flat-footed, heavy puncher, who comes forward. There’s no similarities with that guy and Tim Bradley.”
 
What’s coming their way…
“And that’s one of the things. Timothy can make adjustments in his fights. Timothy can adjust and that’s one of the things that these people don’t understand. And on that night of the fight, believe me, not even Freddie or his team are going to know what’s coming their way. They’re not even going to know how to adjust Manny when Timothy starts pulling his cards from under his sleeve.”

MAYWEATHER-COTTO SLIDESHOWS - Click the links for more images

A ringside view of the Mayweather-Cotto duel - Go ringside for the grueling battle between Mayweather and Cotto

Behind the scenes at the Mayweather-Cotto weigh-in - Candid images of Floyd, Cotto, Zab Judah, Roger Mayweather, Andre Ward, Paulie Malignaggi, Harold Lederman, Celestino Caballero, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Bernard Hopkins, Roy Jones Jr., and several others

Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com
Tags: Timothy Bradley



 User Comments and Feedback (must register to comment)

comment by nycsmooth, on 05-09-2012
TB needs 2 worry w/his problem as far as not letting Pac steam-roll him...

comment by The Gambler1981, on 05-09-2012
There are only a few fights Floyd really moved a bunch in, he is generally pretty efficent with his motion. He still moves when that is required but he doesn't take ten steps to get away when he can take 5 set up draw the other guy in and do work. He lays on the ropes a lot so I don't really see ...

comment by Fearless, on 05-09-2012
[QUOTE=UndefeatedJimmy]Lol @ saying that everything Mayweather threw landed and Cotto only won a few rounds lol. Tim Bradley stick to taking your PEDs, and stop analyzing boxing. Tim is walking around like a midget heavyweight right now. And Tim on PEDs is a dangerous thing because PEDs make your...

comment by Frank Ducketts, on 05-09-2012
I thought Marquez proved to everyone that Pacquiao couldn't beat Floyd, lmao. I guess I was wrong. Pacquiaos fans still beliiiiiiieeeeeeeve!

comment by spoonwars, on 05-09-2012
[QUOTE=Frank Ducketts]I don't talk boxing with clueless trolls.[/QUOTE] Not my words, but whatever helps you sleep at night.

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