Who is Tim Bradley and why is he given a chance by many to upset the prolific and dangerous Manny Pacquiao Saturday night?
He’s a born fighter who grew up in the rough North End neighborhood of Palm Springs (who knew there were rough neighborhoods in Palm Springs?). He said he was suspended in second grade for fighting . . . and fourth grade, according to USA Today. And he even once punched a classmate who was in a wheelchair.
So much of a fighter as a youth, a friend suggested he combine his penchant for fighting with training at the Palm Springs Boxing Club. He was 10 years old. It started then, with his father as his coach.
From then to now, Bradley has emerged as a world class fighter with three world championships and now a chance to upset the boxing landscape with an upset of Pacquiao in the WBO welterweight championship bout that has been moved back to the conclusion of the Miami Heat-Boston Celtics Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals Saturday night. In other words, instead of starting around 11 p.m. on the east coast, the bout likely will begin closer to midnight.
The stroke of 12 is a great time for something special. To achieve it, the 5-foot-6 Bradley would have to be special. He’s as tough as they come, but does not have discernible punching power. That, however, has not prevented him from compiling a 28-0 record with one no contest.
Bradley is atypical of most championship-caliber boxers. He rarely is boastful or boisterous. He simply conquers the opponent.
The boxing world clamors for a Pacqqiao-Floyd Mayweather fight. Bradley could throw that fight, which is not close to being made, into even more uncertainty.
“There’s a lot of pressure riding on this,” Bradley said by phone while on his team bus a week ago to USA Today. “By winning this fight, this changes our lives forever. We’ll be able to put some money in our pockets, and by winning a huge fight like this we can secure our futures.”
Bradley will earn at least $5 million (plus money from the pay-per-view sales), by far the biggest payday of his career. He said he will manage his money wisely so that when he retires he is not forced to come back to the game for money.
One thing’s for sure, Bradley does not seem fazed by the attention fighting perhaps the game’s best fighter brings. “Once I set foot in that ring it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done,” he said. “I don’t care if he climbed Mount Everest. I don’t care if he’s walking on water. This is about me,” he told reporters last week. “Every morning I wake up and look at myself in the mirror. If I am at my very best, I will win the fight. I will be victorious. I put in the time, the dedication and the hard work.”