Contrary to some curious commentary from Col Bob Sheridan, who tried hard to make the fight more competitive than it was, Timothy Bradley delivered another complete, considered and positive performance to repel the challenge of Edner Cherry this weekend. In defending his WBC 140lb strap Bradley showed development from his victory over Junior Witter and emerged, in my eyes at least, as a world-class performer of real merit.
Others may be flashier, others may hit harder, but Bradley does everything well, has a good chin, can box for 12 rounds and is a shrewd tactician. He also has swift hands, good movement and picks his shots well. I really think he is a major league force and I would strongly favour him to beat the likes of Malignaggi, Kotelnik and Holt. And if Hatton demonstrates the ebbing motivation and decline I believe has been evident in the past year, I would back the improving Californian to better the ‘Hitman’ too.
Bradley also possess an all to rare workmanlike professionalism. Resisting the shallow imagery of his contemporaries, Bradley struck me as entirely more level-headed practitioner during the build up to his victory over Junior Witter. He had clearly studied Witter’s style across a host of performances and had developed a strategy to nullify Witter’s strengths and impose his own will on the fight.
In the aftermath, Witter claimed a lack of focus caused by personal problems and that he felt he’d “done enough to nick it”. Those distractions may have affected Witter’s performance but they shouldn’t detract from Bradley’s superiority and old-school discipline. He had a game plan and he executed it perfectly.
Against Cherry, he respected his opponent’s single shot power but negated it with lateral movement interspersed with rapid combinations to the body on the inside. He was able to sail through the first five rounds simply by using superior footwork and cleaner shots. He doubled the jab well before stepping in behind it, scoring on the inside and moving out the side-door. It appeared effortless, but it wasn’t, it merely highlighted the emergence of a top-draw fighter from contendership to fully-fledged champion status.
“That’s my James Toney right hand, he [Toney] rolls with the shoulder and comes back with the right. It was just a good punch.”
He’s a cute performer and a very, very rounded fighter. Credit for Cherry for hanging tough, he was never in serious danger of being stopped nor overly hurt when dropped in the eighth round, but Bradley is a precise puncher and when he connects with the straight right, opponents are usually facing an eight count.
It is to Don King’s credit that the he had these two classy fighters as his chief support following the withdrawal of Joan Guzman from the show’s main-event.
I had it 119-108 to Bradley, a fighter I hope we see more of.