Bradley takes aim at Khan, unification of 140-pound division
The criticism has come from everywhere. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines; it seems wherever Timothy Bradley turns, someone is bashing his last fight with Devon Alexander.
"It's unbelievable," Bradley said in a telephone interview. "I'm not getting any credit for winning."
Indeed, the subject of most storylines in the wake of Bradley's win over Alexander hasn't been the dominating way in which he did it. It hasn't been how he landed more punches than Alexander in six out of the 10 rounds or the how he backed up a bigger fighter all night.
No, the story in Bradley-Alexander was the way Alexander quit. It's how, in the 10th round of a championship fight, Alexander used a couple of cuts and a ringside doctor to wriggle his way out. Bradley understands why this is still being talked about. He understands everyone's frustration. He feels it too.
"Devon, he's just another crybaby," Bradley said. "He's the second biggest quitter I have ever faced. It's Nate Campbell [who quit after an accidental clash of heads opened a cut over his left eye against Bradley in August] to him. I can't stand quitters. He was losing and he needed a way out."
"It's a championship fight," Bradley added. "My eyeballs going to be falling out for you to get me to stop. I've fought with a broken rib, broken thumb. If you can't fight with a cut, you need to get out the game. You need to start modeling or doing something else. I got cut in my last fight, too. If the ref or the doctor told me I can't continue, I'd be pleading with them to let me go."
What Bradley takes issue with is with the notion that he didn't win the fight cleanly, that he, as some have said, headbutted his way to a win. He says he has watched the fight "about 80 times" and at no point did he see anything intentional or illegal.
"It was a dominant performance," Bradley said. "He couldn't get off like he wanted to. A lot of people don't realize that he was headbutting me too. In the first round, he got me on my chin. I didn't complain about it. But he gets head butt and he is hollering like a little girl in the ring. If you don't want to get in the ring with me, don't get in. If you don't want to go the distance with me, stop making excuses."
Bradley continued: "I isolated him with my defense and my reflexes. I don't have knockout power that all fans wish or want me to have. I'm not a big knockout puncher. Get over it. You are either born with it or you are not. My thing is speed, athleticism, determination, an ability to adjust. I have a will to win. I bring the pain. I'm sick of hearing about head butts. I don't really care anymore. Maybe I'll change my nickname. I won't be 'Desert Storm;' I'll be Timothy 'The Headbanger' Bradley."
Bradley says he is ready for his next challenge and knows exactly who he wants that to be: WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan. While Bradley believed Alexander wasn't ready for a fight of that magnitude, he believes that Khan, who won a life-and-death decision over Marcos Maidana in December, is up for the challenge.
"He's ready," Bradley said. "Amir let his hands go against Maidana. If you let your hands go against a puncher, you are going to let your hands go against me. And I'm going to let my hands go, too. I actually think Amir is quicker than I am. I've seen him live. He's got a little Manny Pacquiao in him. But can he outwill me? Does he have what it takes? I'm going to be there all night. You know I come in shape. I'm going to fight fire with fire. [Khan's trainer] Freddie Roach knows the game plan. I'm coming to get you. Can you stop me for 12 rounds?"
A roadblock to a unification fight with Khan, who's slated to meet Paul McCloskey on Apr. 16 at Manchester's MEN Arena, could be the Bradley's promotional status. While Khan is negotiating a new deal with Golden Boy Promotions, Bradley's status with co-promoters Gary Shaw and Thompson Boxing is far less certain. His next fight with Shaw and Thompson will be the last on his current deal and Bradley says he is looking forward to becoming a promotional free agent.
"It's the American dream," Bradley said. "It's like this: at the end of the day I have to do what's best for me and my family. I'm not saying I'm going to leave Gary and sign with this promoter or that promoter. But I worked my butt off. I fulfilled my contract. I did everything that's expected of me. I want to test the market. Whoever brings the best plan to the table is going to get Tim Bradley. That could be Gary Shaw, Ted Thompson, Bob Arum, whomever."
Boxing being a highly political sport, it's possible the battle over Bradley's rights could scuttle a summer fight with Khan. It's a possibility Bradley acknowledges could happen.
"It's a possibility," Bradley said. "I really don't know how it's going to play out. What I do know is that I want the fight. I want Amir Khan."