Every cloud; Timothy Bradley arrives as a major player

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.”

Timothy Bradley

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.

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2 thoughts on “Every cloud; Timothy Bradley arrives as a major player

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  1. I’d encourage you to take in some of the Cherry fight on YouTube or elsewhere. It isn’t a classic but the tactics Bradley used were first rate, he only took one full blooded shot in 12 rounds.

    His movement first frustrated Cherry, then demoralised him and Bradley scored more on the inside too.

    It was a classy, professional, dynamic performance.

    I just hope he can stay busy, and keep knocking off contenders like Holt, Hopkins and maybe unify with Kotelnik.

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  2. He looks like one of those undiscovered diamonds, like Steve Molitor — a quality operator who simply doesn’t get coverage.

    I suppose this all casts in a better light Witter’s loss to Bradley, but even without seeing his bout against Cherry, I have doubts as to whether Witter can beat Bradley in a rematch.

    Anyway, the problem Bradley is going to face now is this: Hatton is tied up until summer next year at the earliest. Should he beat Mallignanni, which is highly questionable, in my view, he will look for, and get, a fight against Manny Paquiao.

    Where does that leave Bradley? Well, I suppose he needs to keep winning against credible 140lbers, cement his position as leading contender to the lightwelter crown, and perhaps try to develop a hard core following, as Chris Byrd did for a while as the heavyweight division’s man in the shadows.

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