Figueroa: Tim Bradley Focused on Power For Provodnikov

by Chris Robinson

In late April of last year, I was able to spend a few days with one of the sport’s top prizefighters, Tim Bradley, as he prepared for his huge showdown with Manny Pacquiao.

Bradley’s camp in Indio, California offered up an intimate look at a man full of confidence and focus as he meticulously prepared the daunting challenge that awaited him.

Having always been a fighter who loves to impose his mental and physical will in the trenches, I was quick to notice just how much of an emphasis Tim was putting on his footwork, speed, and angles for that particular camp.

With the Pacquiao fight now behind him, as Bradley (29-1, 12 KO’s) would end up pulling out a controversial split-decision on June 9th inside of the MGM Grand, the man nicknamed ‘Desert Storm’ is now eyeing a match with Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO’s).

Bradley faces the rugged Provodnikov on March 16th inside of the Home Depot Center and while he seems elated to be getting back into the ring to defend his WBO welterweight crown, all reports indicate that the training regimen this time around has completely shifted.

Serving as one of Bradley’s sparring partners inside of the Indio Boys and Girls Club, lightweight prospect Omar Figueroa (19-0, 15 KO’s) insists that Bradley is a completely different fighter this time around.

Continue reading below for highlights from my interview with Figueroa, including the rigorous work he is giving Bradley, plus comments on his time working with his trainer Joel Diaz and thoughts on his past and future in the sport...

Sparring with Tim Bradley…
“Our work is awesome. It’s intense, it’s work. How it should be. He’s going to have a pressure fighter and I’m a pressure fighter, so it works out. I get to practice my pressure and he gets to practice against a guy that puts pressure. He moves a lot, he uses a lot of footwork; it’s really helped both of our camps come together.”

A completely different camp…
“He’s training differently. I witnessed the camp against Pacquiao, because it was a week after one of my fights. So, I witnessed his camp against Pacquiao. Completely different [camp]. It was more of footwork and counterpunching and trying not to get hit. But this time, he’s working on power. He’s working on devastating, knocking out his opponent. He’s working to prove that he’s a great fighter and he can fight too.”

Reaching his peak and looking into getting a new trainer…
“My Dad told me ‘Look, I only know so much’. We were pretty much learning at the same pace, me and my Dad. I was learning a little bit more, because I would get in the ring and I would go in there and spar and fight. And he told me there would be a point where we would reach our peak and I would have to go with somebody who has experience, who trains fighters from all over the world. I think we reached that point. Plus, father-son relationships, when it comes to sports, they’re kind of rocky.”

Communicating with Joel Diaz…
“That point came last year, in 2011 actually. I was looking for a tough fight and I wanted to prove to Golden Boy that I was worth their while. I had been looking for a tough fight for a while and they kind of pushed me aside. I guess that opportunity opened up with Michael Perez. And they saw that opportunity for Michael Perez to rise up, because I had a good record and they were trying to serve me up to Michael. If that was going to be my one and only opportunity, I wasn’t going to back down from it. I’m not going to back down from anybody. We took it and my Dad was like ‘You’re fighting a world class fighter; this guy is a world class fighter and I can’t train you anymore’. To take it to the next level, we talked to Golden Boy and Golden Boy communicated us with Joel Diaz in order to take a look at me.”

Wanting to make Michael Perez quit…
“I didn’t expect to lose. I went into that fight with a goal to stop him, to make him quit. When we first reached the fight, we told Golden Boy ‘Yeah, we’ll take that fight’. I reassured my Dad ‘This is what we’re here for, this is what I want. You know I can do this and much more’. When we told them ‘Yes’, Golden Boy called us back and they asked us ‘Are you sure? Perez’s camp wants to know if you know who he is’ or something like that. And ever since then, I was like ‘I’m going to make him quit’ and I went in there, and even the commentators were surprised that most of my punches were body shots. Because I went in there wanting him to quit, not wanting to knock him out. I went in there wanting to punish him and wanting to make him pay. I wanted to make him quit and I did.”

Where it all began…
“I was born and raised in Weslaco, Texas. And my Dad emigrated from Mexico, so when he moved over here, he went through a lot of bullying and I guess racism. They called him ‘wetback’ and they bullied him and picked on him. He went through that and decided that he wasn’t going to let us go through the same thing. Plus, he had always liked boxing. He wanted to be a boxer himself, but he didn’t have the support from him parents. So, he said ‘I’ll put you in boxing, that way you can defend yourself and you won’t get bullied’. While I was already training, he decided to get me some fights and that’s where it all began.”

Looking for a championship under Diaz…
“Honestly, it was a complete 180. Not that I was doing bad with my Dad, but now it’s a whole new dimension of boxing. The level of fighting and training that we do is completely different. Compared to what me and my Dad used to do, these guys are top of the line. It’s really helped a lot. If I was going to become a champion and people were saying that I was ready to become a champion, now with Joel and his team backing me up, there’s no way that I can’t do that. The only one who can stop me is myself.”

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User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by IronDanHamza on 02-26-2013

[QUOTE=rogdogx;13087872]I think Bradley means business. [B]He picked a dangerous Provodnikov[/B] but if he also beats him at his own game it makes a statement. Bradley needs an action fight and that "low" stock of his will rise sky high again.[/QUOTE]…

Comment by IronDanHamza on 02-26-2013

Tim's got this far without crushing power. He obviously doesn't need it. He's not losing to Provodnikov regardless.

Comment by josenoway on 02-26-2013

power? tim? whut?

Comment by Rome-By-Ko on 02-26-2013

Nice interview..I hope Diaz get's credit as a trainer one of these days..IMO dude is so underrated..

Comment by rogdogx on 02-26-2013

I think Bradley means business. He picked a dangerous Provodnikov but if he also beats him at his own game it makes a statement. Bradley needs an action fight and that "low" stock of his will rise sky high again.

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