For Timothy Bradley, his upcoming fight with Juan Manuel Marquez isn’t about money. This is all about respect. Although he is unbeaten with a record of 30-0-1 (12 KOs), the general boxing community doesn’t believe that he belong with the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Marquez and the man many think he was given a gift decision against, Manny Pacquiao. At this point, Bradley demands your respect and will run through any opposition that stands in his way. Knockout Nation spoke to Bradley and got his take on the upcoming fight, why he is “The Modern Day Marvin Hagler” and whether he wants to face Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao next.
KON: When was the moment that you figured that you and Marquez would be on a collision course? Was it after the Pacquiao fight?
Timothy Bradley: I’ve always wanted to fight Marquez. Most of the time he was either tied up with Pacquiao or somebody else. After he knocked out Pacquiao I knew I’d get a shot at him. It was weird. Early on this year his team put out a statement saying he would never fight me and I should forget about it. After the Provodnikov fight they were all “We want to fight Bradley!” They must have seen something in that fight. I didn’t fight like I normally fight. I chose to brawl more than box. They feel like I am damaged goods and they are going to expose me and knock me out. I’m here to tell everyone that’s not going to happen, I’m 110% and I’m fine. Everyone will definitely see a fired up and determined Bradley who is going to prove to the world that I’m one of the best fighters in the game today. Whether I’m #1, 2 or 3, I’m right there.
KON: Did they make a mistake by looking at your last fight with Provodnikov?
Bradley: Absolutely. I think they feel that I’m a fighter at heart and when the tough gets going and I’m going to fight, they are right about that. But people always say that you’re only as good as your last fight and I think that’s baloney. I think you can always get better and adjust. If that’s the case, why do fighters bounce back after a loss? Many fighters do that. They made a mistake wanting to fight me. He’s a great fighter and Nacho is a great trainer. He’s just got to come out and take my title from me. He wants to be the Mexican fighter to win five belts in five weight classes and that’s not going to happen.
KON: Do you think Marquez is a more difficult opponent style wise than Pacquiao?
Bradley: I’m not even sure. Dealing with lefties is a headache. Marquez is a technician. He’s very patient and poised. Pacquiao is quicker and he’s a lefty also. I’m not sure who’s the more difficult opponent. But because Marquez knocked out Pacquiao and they’ve had their fair share of controversial fights, I think Marquez is a better fighter and probably will be tougher in the ring. Pacquiao is intelligent too but Marquez was able to knock him out. That, to me, says he’s a better fighter.
I’m not taking anything away from Pacquiao. But I’ll just have to wait and see once I get into the ring with him. When I got in there with Pacquiao, after the first few rounds I said to myself “Okay, this is the best fighter in the world? I’m right there with him!” I didn’t feel that he was better. It wasn’t nothing I’ve never seen before. I’m curious how it will be against Marquez. I might say the same thing. I’ll be able to adjust myself in the first few rounds.
KON: What is the most underrated part of your game?
Bradley: I think people overlook my ability to make adjustments. People say they see heart and the will to win but don’t see a skillful fighter. I do everything well.
KON: Can you force Marquez out of his counterpunching shell?
Bradley: I think he’s going to come at me. I don’t think he’ll wait. He has to because I’m the champion. He wants my belt, come take it. He’s going to try and knock me out early because he knows, after six rounds, I get stronger and stronger baby. He has to try and come get me. I can fight going backwards, lure him in and I can back him up if I want to. I can do anything in the ring I want to. I do everything well. Not superior whatsoever. I’m not a superior boxer or inside fighter I just do everything well. I can brawl, be elusive, fight on the inside, move my feet, stand in front of you and not get hit, box from the outside. I can counterpunch and I love going to the body. When you prepare for me you better be prepared to go twelve hard rounds and you better be prepared for everything. I’m prepared for every aspect of the ring. I like to switch it up. I don’t want to be known as great at one thing. I want to be known as the guy who you don’t know what he’s going to do.
KON: You’ve received a lot of blame for things that have been out of your control. How does it play into your psyche?
Bradley: It just made me stronger. I’d ask God why. I’m a good guy that tries to live the right way. I can never understand it. After the storm, it just makes me stronger. It doesn’t matter what anyone has to say about me, I really don’t care. They talk about my head, boxing ability and called me a fake champion, I’ve heard it all. People can say whatever they want to say. I’m out to prove all the doubters wrong. They will no longer doubt me after this performance. If they do, so be it. They’ll still be watching.
KON: How important was it for you to have your family there through those tough times?
Bradley: Having your family is the best thing you can do when you are going through hard times. I was able to unwind and just get away from the crap. It took some time for all wounds to heal but I bounce back. It allowed me to realize who was important in my life. Who called me to give me words of encouragement? Those people are the ones I respect and care about. The people that didn’t call I keep my distance from.
KON: Do you think there’s another undefeated fighter that had to deal with as much adversity and not given the respect he deserves as yourself?
Bradley: I’m sure there has been fighters who have dealt with adversity. I know Hagler went through not getting respect and the big fights he deserved. I like Hagler a lot. He’s my favorite fighter. I’d say I’m the modern day Marvelous Marvin Hagler. I’m willing to fight the best out there and he was willing to do that. He took them out and so will I.
KON: Like Hagler, do you feel like you have to win definitively to finally earn the respect you deserve?
Bradley: I honestly do. I think that after beating Marquez I cannot be denied. I’m one of the best fighters in the world and they will have to give me my respect. They have to put me on their best pound for pound fighter lists if they haven’t already. I’m top three. This fight is important to my legacy. You can’t deny me the hall of fame after I win this. I’ve fought a lot of great champions and this is another fighter that is the cream of the crop. By beating this guy my career will leap into heights that I never expected.
KON: What interests you more after this out of a rematch with Pacquiao or a fight with Floyd Mayweather?
Bradley: You know what? I like both fights. I don’t like to think ahead but let’s say, hypothetically, I would love to get a shot at Mayweather before he gets out the game. I’ve been down the Pacquiao road and would love to visit that chapter again to handle that business. I’d love to fight Money. I honestly feel that I’m the only fighter in his weight class that can give him a challenge. I feel that I have the ability and the smarts to compete with him. I’m just as quick as he is. So, if I had to choose, I’d have to go with a fight against Mayweather.