By Robert Morales
Perhaps Timothy Bradley didn't realize last week that the 24th anniversary of Buster Douglas' shocking 10th-round knockout of Mike Tyson in Japan was Tuesday, when he used that fight as an example of one way he would like to beat Manny Pacquiao in their April 12 rematch at MGM Grand in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view).
Bradley was on the phone with yours truly a week ago Wednesday when he was asked how badly he wants the type of victory over Pacquiao about which no one - not even the Pacquiao fanatics - can complain. The first time they fought - in June 2012 at MGM Grand - Bradley won a very controversial split-decision, and took Pacquiao's welterweight belt.
"Man, I mean, it's very important to me," Bradley said. "I mean, you know me, I'm about the win, man, I'm about the win. But I need a decisive win, man, to where I've got to win every single round or kind of like in the (Juan Manuel) Marquez fight, where I was leading and I was, in everybody's mind, I was winning that fight fairly easy. It has to be similar to that or a spectacular knockout miracle."
Enter the Douglas-Tyson analogy.
"I'm not a big big puncher, man, but I always say a punch that you don't see, comes from the right angle and lands on that chin, man, it's a punch that can hurt you," Bradley said. "I'm a believer that anything can happen, man. I've seen some crazy things in boxing. We saw the other night when Luis Collazo knocked out Victor Ortiz and Collazo is not even a big puncher; he has what, 13 knockouts now?
"Roy Jones, and all them. When Mike Tyson got knocked out by Buster Douglas - unbelievable, man. But things can happen. And I'm a firm believer in that. But, yes, I want to win decisive enough to where people can't say, 'Ah, you didn't win.' "
Yeah, remember when Jones was stunningly knocked out by Antonio Tarver in the second round in May 2004 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas? There was a guy walking around afterward just outside the media center that night. He was mumbling to himself, "Man, I can't believe Roy got knocked out like that."
For the record, Collazo has a record of 35-5 with 18 knockouts, a knockout ratio of 45 percent. Bradley is 31-0 with 12 knockouts. That's a knockout ratio of 37.5 percent. If Pacquiao's post-Marquez chin is now closer to glass than granite, that - and Bradley's hunger to shut up a lot of people - could be enough.
Bradley still can't come to grips with death threats
Bradley told us about the death threats he and his and Pacquiao's promoter - Bob Arum - received after two of three judges - Jerry Roth and C.J. Ross - scored Bradley the split-decision winner over Pacquiao.
Bradley certainly was not prepared for that ridiculous aftermath, even though - when asked - he said he knew there were a lot of idiots out there.
"I knew they were always out there, man, I just didn't realize how big this fight really was," said Bradley, 30, of Palm Springs. "Like I knew it was big, but I didn't know what I was up against. I didn't know that this guy, as an icon to many people, (they) like look up to this guy - meaning Manny Pacquiao. And that after all of this went down, that I was going to be getting this type of treatment from people.
"I wasn't one of the judges. I felt the fight was very close, I felt I won the fight. I felt I edged it in the last couple of rounds and that's my honest opinion. But the fans and a lot of the media didn't believe that when they were sitting there watching, so this time around I need to make it more decisive."
Bradley believes he has improved, Pacquiao has regressed
When you think about it, Bradley is probably a better fighter than he was the first time he fought Pacquiao. After that fight, he went toe-to-toe with Ruslan Provodnikov, got hurt and decked, yet came away with a victory. He then won a unanimous decision over the aforementioned Marquez, a fight in which he stuck more to his roots - smart boxing.
"I showed what I'm made of," Bradley said. "I showed the world I can brawl, I showed the world that I can box, be smart and that I'm a good fighter. Now this is my third pay-per-view. The first time around it was nerve-racking. Don't get me wrong, first time around I'm fighting against Manny Pacquiao, one of the best fighters in the world and it was nerve-racking and nerves can get in the way of your performance . ... And this time around I'm a lot more poised, a lot more experienced.
"I fought Marquez, the guy that knocked out Pacquiao, and I should have been extremely nervous for that fight. I wasn't. I was very poised and calm and I knew what I could do. I know who I am now. And that's the difference now. There are no surprises. I know what his best punch is, I know his power, I felt his power."
On the other hand, Pacquiao is not the same monster he once was, Bradley said. He said he believes Pacquiao held back when he fought and defeated Brandon Rios in November in China. He also pointed to a "Face Off" episode with HBO's Max Kellerman that has yet to be shown as proof that Pacquiao's killer instinct is gone. When it came to a point where many would have expected Pacquiao to say he was going to knock out Bradley, he apparently wouldn't go there.
"He wouldn't say it," Bradley said. "And I'm like, 'Just tell him you're going to knock me out.' " Bradley said the best Pacquiao could do was, "I'm going to ask God for that fire back."
Bradley was not necessarily knocking Pacquiao the man for that, but Pacquiao the fighter.
"I just think that Pacquiao is really just a very compassionate person, man," Bradley said. "And it's probably due to just his belief system. He's very compassionate. In the Rios fight, he showed a lot of compassion, I felt. It wasn't like the old Pacquiao, where he just seeks and destroys."
Arum can't say enough about Lomachenko
Quite a stir was created when Arum announced that Vasyl Lomachenko of the Urkaine would challenge featherweight world champion Orlando Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs) of
Mexico for his title in just his second professional fight. They will tangle March 1 on the undercard of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Bryan Vera II from the Alamodome in San Antonio (on HBO).
Lomachenko (1-0, 1 KO), 25, won the gold medal at featherweight in the 2008 Olympic Games and then took the gold in 2012 at lightweight. He made his pro debut in October and knocked out Jose Ramirez in the fourth round of a scheduled 10-round fight at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Arum on Wednesday intimated that Lomachenko has a chance to be the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
"I think right now he is - with a little more experience - (he) will be the best fighter in the world, just the way he was the best amateur in the world for many years," said Arum, Lomachenko's promoter. "He is phenomenal. I mean, there is nobody like him. People who have seen him train, people who see his work ethic, they've never seen anything like him.
"He has all the skills. And I hope I'm not getting too carried away, but I really believe that he will be the best fighter in the world."
Speaking of Chavez
We asked Arum if he has heard any word out of the Chavez camp as it pertains to his weight. The first time he fought Vera - in September at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. - Chavez could not make the 168-pound weight limit and the weight was changed to 173 the week of the fight. He won an unpopular unanimous decision.
Interestingly, Arum could not say that Chavez is on point with his weight right now when the subject was broached.
"It's like dealing with North Korea," Arum said. "You don't know what to believe."
Antonio Orozco on rise, but will continue smart path
Any time Antonio Orozco steps in the ring, there is a good chance we are going to see some real excitement because he lives up to his moniker, "Relentless." He seems to be good enough now to where one might wonder when he is going to get a shot at a title.
Orozco, of San Diego via Tijuana, is 19-0 with 15 knockouts and has stopped his past seven opponents inside the distance. These are not top 10 contenders he's beating up on, but impressive nonetheless because of the way he goes about his business. He appears to have one thing in mind - knockout.
Orozco fights under the Golden Boy Promotions banner. Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy, also is of the mind that we will see Orozco in a championship fight in the future.
"It's a process," Schaefer said. "But the way he is coming along, the way he's working the process, how he's stepping up to face these growing challenges, which is basically the road to a world-title shot, I think he is not just running through that road, he is sprinting through it.
"Every time he steps into the ring, he delivers. He is not just an achiever, he is an over-achiever."
But Schaefer told us he wants to be certain that Orozco has the goods to not only win the title, but keep it for a while.
"You want to make sure that the guy who just became world champion has the necessary tools in the tool box to not just be a one-hit wonder, but to be a long-term world champion who can take out the necessary tools as he fights and defends his world titles, and has gone through some adversity in that road to the world title and has learned from that adversity," Schaefer said.
Orozco can't yet be found in the top 15 rankings of any of the four governing bodies, but he figures to be there soon, especially if Schaefer puts him in with another top prospect and he emerges victorious.
Orozco, 26, didn't turn pro until he was four months shy of his 21st birthday.
Robert Morales covers boxing for the Los Angeles Daily News and BoxingScene.com.