By Jake Donovan
Tim Bradley knew from the moment he signed to face Manny Pacquiao that he would land on the B-side of the promotion. It never meant that he was going to take a back seat and let the show be all about his more popular and accomplished opponent.
Throughout the promotion leading up to the June 9 event, Bradley has thoroughly embraced the extra attention paid to his career and to his every move. The unbeaten Californian remains a considerable underdog to unseat the welterweight titlist and pound-for-pound star, but the lack of confidence exuded by others only further motivates Bradley.
“Every little thing motivates me,” Bradley (28-0, 12KO) said while speaking with his reporters on the scene for his grand arrival at the MGM Grand on Tuesday afternoon among a throng of fans in attendance. “If you talk about me, I’m set out to prove that you’re wrong.”
Bradley has repeatedly upset the odds on his ascension through the 140 lb. ranks, dating back to May ’08 when he traveled abroad to the UK to unseat then-titlist Junior Witter in his backyard.
Six successful defenses have followed – two in unification wins over Kendall Holt and Devon Alexander – along with a non-title win over Luis Carlos Abregu in a one-and-done trip to welterweight. Bradley returns to welterweight for this weekend’s event, which serves as the headliner on HBO PPV (Saturday, 9PM ET/6PM PT).
His stoppage of faded Joel Casamayor last November was the first time Bradley recorded a stoppage since April ’07. Still, it hasn’t deterred the sculpted boxer from believing that he will not only end Pacquiao’s 15-fight win streak, but do so in emphatic fashion.
“I want a knockout and I want to put this guy on the canvas. He hasn’t been on the canvas in a very long time,” Bradley states. Pacquiao was actually ruled down on the canvas in his May ’11 fight with Shane Mosley, though even referee Kenny Bayless copped to a mea culpa afterward.
Semantics aside, Bradley wants to leave no doubt when he faces the Filipino superstar.
“I want to put him down. He has a granite chin and great speed. I have to be very cautious in the ring. I have to knock him out, knock him down. I can’t let this thing go to the scorecards.”
Among his own growing fan base in California is a large contingency of Latino fans. Bradley is affectionately referred to as “Blaxican” in such circles, with many hopeful that the 28-year old becomes the one to knock off the man dubbed ‘The Mexecutioner’ for his long-running win streak against Mexican fighters.
Bradley considers it an honor and a pleasure to represent his Hispanic friends, which he believes serves as greater motivation for the biggest fight of his career.
“It’s all about risks and rewards. If you don’t take risks, there’s no reward,” Bradley points out. “I pull this off this weekend, the reward is going to be huge. I want to take care of (Latino fans). I want them to feel happy, that someone came along and stopped this guy. I want them to be like “Thank you, he beat a lot of Latin fighters, thanks for taking care of him.’
Bradley plans to do just that. Though never the type to throw caution to the wind for no reason, Bradley carries a different aura about him heading into Saturday evening.
“I’m trying to knock him out. I’m trying to get rid of this guy. I’m going in there definitely trying to knock this guy out.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments via e-mail.