Bradley vs. Provodnikov takes place on Saturday, March 16, under the stars at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and is promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Banner Promotions and Tecate. Timothy Bradley has been a world champion since 2008, first as a junior welterweight, where he twice unified the titles, and now as a welterweight. Timothy will be making the first defense of the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title he won by beating Manny Pacquiao last summer. The bout will be broadcast live on HBO World Championship Boxing®, beginning at 10:15 P.M. ET / PT.
(Listen to the entire call here.)
TODD DuBOEF: This is exciting getting Timothy back in the ring and I know he has the fire. When we first met with Timmy and got his career going under Top Rank we knew we had a special person who had a special sparkle and had an incredible ability to fight. I think he has delivered. This fight is in southern California, where Tim has not fought in a while and The Home Depot Center is a special arena. On March 16 it is going to be electric.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: I want to thank Top Rank, Cameron Dunkin, my wife and my team, The Home Dept Center and HBO. Training camp has been going well and I am 100%. I can’t wait to get into the ring on the 16th. It is a big challenge and I am excited about it. I know Ruslan Provodnikov is a tough guy and is going to bring the fight to me. I am confident I am going to get the job done and I am going to be victorious once again.
JOEL DIAZ: Camp is going great. Sparring days — Tim has not had a bad day – he has been looking really good. As far as getting ready for the fight, Tim could fight this weekend, that’s how ready he is. We don’t take anyone light, no matter who it is or what style he has. Ruslan has his style and I know he is training really hard because this is a great opportunity for him. I watch Provodnikov fights every night and know what he is and he’s not going to change very much. I know he has power in both hands, but to catch Tim Bradley is going to be very hard. Tim is really smart and now his punching power has now increased because we made some adjustments. You are going to see a different Tim Bradley on the 16th and don’t be surprised if it doesn’t go the distance.
Is this a statement fight for you?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: Every fight from here on out is a statement fight, especially coming after the Pacquiao fight. I am looking to make a statement in this fight and I am looking to damage this guy. I am looking to put this guy out. I don’t want to go 12 rounds with this guy. The longer he stays around the more confident he will get so I want to get him out of there as soon as possible.
How does Provodnikov match in power with others you have fought?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: I don’t know about his knockout power. I’m not worried about his power. He needs to worry about my power. I am not worried about anything he is going to bring. He is going to stand in the middle of the ring. I know exactly how to beat this guy – outbox him. Provodnikov has to worry about me, I am not worried about him.
How are you at 147?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: The speed is still there and the power will be there. In camp we have been working on a lot of techniques and turning over my shots and making them harder and more effective. The sparring partners are asking what am I doing differently because my shots are a lot harder now.
One of your sparring partners beat Ruslan? Have you spoken to him about that fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: Mauricio [Herrera], he’s a tough cookie. He always comes in great shape and has good defense. We sparred yesterday. He told me “you come to fight, every single day,” and he makes me work hard. He told me don’t exchange with him. He will apply pressure the whole fight but it is smart pressure. He is going to eat a lot of shots but will always be in front of your face.
How as your life changed since the Pacquiao fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: The Pacquiao made me grow as a person and as a fighter and it made me realize who was important and who was not important and what is important in my career. What is not important is what people’s perception of me is. Everyone has an opinion and they can say whatever they want to say but it’s not going to stop me from what I do and that’s kick but in the ring. What’s important is my family and I pay attention to my career and stop worrying about everyone else’s career and what they are making. I just need to focus on my career and my life. Stop reading all this garbage that all these people are writing about me. I stopped reading columns – I used to read it all the time now I don’t read it at all.
What were the things that upset you the most?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: I don’t get any credit after the Pacquiao fight, whatsoever. People talk about me, my style, that I’m boring. Some people talk about my wife, my kids. People sent me death threats after the fight because I won undeservingly. I should have given the belt back. A lot of different things went on. I can talk all day about things that people said about me. But it doesn’t matter – none of these people are going to get in the ring with me. People can say whatever they want – it is a free country – so I am going to say whatever I want, when I want to say it and how I want to say it. Those people don’t know me at all. If you get to know me, if you know what I go through, how I train and you still talk crap about me, then you have the problem. No one knows what I go through to prepare for my fights. People need to sell papers I guess. I am the nicest guy you will ever meet on the street, ever.
How did you get death threats?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: Mail and phone calls. I didn’t report anything. I am in my house and nobody will mess with me when I’m in my house. I didn’t really take them seriously. People were mad but I didn’t think they would come to my house and take me out I don’t think that would ever happen.
TODD DuBOEF: The result of the Pacquiao-Bradley fight was a very tough result for everybody in the sport and very tough for a lot of people. Fortunately Tim, Monica and myself have been able to communicate. There was no handbook for what the result of the fight was. No one knew how to handle it. We had death threats, Tim had death threats and it was a very spirited blogosphere campaign that we all got sucked into. Fortunately we have a healthy relationship moving forward and we are looking to keep him active and making the biggest fights we can for him.
Were you following the WBO’s re-judging of the fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: I laugh at that. Were there 5 judges at Pacquiao-Márquez III?
TODD DuBOEF: I get the questioning here, but look at the Big 12 when they just looked at a basketball game last week between Kansas and Iowa State, was it? People can say what they want about those judgments. We are on a very forward moving model.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: There is a difference when you view it live and when you view it on TV. Completely different.
What are your thoughts on the Pacquiao KO in his last fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: Do you want the devils side or do you want to good side of me? One side said ‘that’s what you get for not re-matching me.’ The other side said ‘that was a helluva fight and I can’t believe what just happened.’
Was there still a foot problem that made you forego a December fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: My feet were not 100%. In the back of my mind I was thinking about if I was ready or not. I also did not want the rematch with [Lamont] Peterson. It was a combination of the two things but mainly I did not want to fight Peterson.
TODD DuBOEF: For the December fight we were talking with both [Robert] Guerrero and [Andre] Berto. We had offers with them and we had accepted the fight with both of them. HBO was brokering a deal for us in December and we were going to go to Marlins Park [Miami, Fla.] and we were waiting for them to wrap that up; but both of them declined the fight and decided to fight each other – those were the real other offers that we were looking at. Then it came down to Peterson and Tim expressed that he already fought and beat this guy — been there, done that — so let’s go onward and upward and that was it. The Gamboa fight was a thing for March, we tried to get that confirmed but Gamboa didn’t want the fight either.
Did you train differently for this fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: I worked on a lot of technique. Just technique – turning our punches and sitting down on our punches. It’s showing in the ring. It’s way different now. My punches are a lot harder – a lot more solid. The power is there – I am hurting guys in camp. I was lacking technique and I think a lot of people are going to see it in this fight. I come out and throw my right and put my body into it and I think I am going to do some damage in this fight.
Joel do you think Timmy will be stronger in this fight?
JOEL DIAZ: Yes, I think he will be. Punching power? Yes. For the Pacquiao fight we wanted to execute Manny’s strategy – movement, technique but the injury made us survive for the fight. But this guy that comes straight forward, he is just a target in front of you. Now I have Tim hitting a lot harder. I can tell from the sparring partners that were going six or eight rounds that now can’t handle two rounds. We made some changes and they are working really well. I will tell you this – Ruslan will come forward, but he will only come forward until I decide he will not come forward. I will tell Tim we do now want him coming forward, just like the Pacquiao fight. By the eleventh or twelfth round [of the Pacquiao fight], who was pushing the other guy back? Tim was. Tim does what I tell him to do and when I tell him to push Ruslan back, Tim will do it. When I told him to push the fight back, he was pushing Pacquiao back. Ruslan is a straightforward fight. He has power but he is going to come forward until I say so.
Will Ruslan be easier to hit than Manny Pacquiao?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY JR: Oh heck yes. Pacquiao is tough to hit – he is good defensively.
JOEL DIAZ: Pacquiao is really smart, but at the same time, Tim is the same way. Pacquiao was throwing punches from every angle and missing most of them.
Are you concerned with what Freddie Roach brings to the table?
JOEL DIAZ: Freddie Roach is not my concern. My concern is the fighter. Freddie Roach was just a name that was created. I think Freddie Roach lost the love of the sport. He created a name and it’s out there but he doesn’t have the compassion for the sport that he had a few years ago. I’ve seen it in the last Márquez fight. I’ve seen it in the fight before, the third fight with Márquez. Freddie Roach is the least of my concern for any fight. I just focus on the fighter. Freddie Roach is always trying to play mind games. Freddie says Tim is going to run – that is just Freddie playing mind games. They don’t know how we are going to fight. He is trying to get under Tim’s skin. At the end of the day Tim is going to be a winner, and that’s what matters.
TODD DuBOEF: We have not only this main event but also a lot of other Los Angeles area guys on the card and we hope everyone comes out to see them. It is now time for one of the elite fighters in the world, Tim Bradley, to get back in the ring so we can see him shine.
JOEL DIAZ: On March 16 you will see a different Tim Bradley and a more explosive Tim Bradley.
MATT ROWLAND, BANNER PROMOTIONS: We are very happy for the opportunity that Tim Bradley and Top Rank has given us and we know that Ruslan will make the most of it.
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: First of all I want to say Happy Birthday to my trainer Freddie Roach. I haven’t seen him yet today but I’ll see him in about an hour. Freddie I will give you your present on March 16. Training is going very well. I am happy with everything.
FREDDIE ROACH: Ruslan is becoming a better fighter all the time. When he sparred with Pacquiao he learned Pacquiao’s style. He knows how to fight and he knows the art of boxing. He is looking pretty good and we’re doing what we need to get ready for this fight. We are fighting a very good boxer who can move if he needs to move. Ruslan’s working the jab and cutting the ring off. Everything is in place right now. The game plan is there. We have a couple more days of sparring to go and we’ll be there.
Joel Diaz stated that you have lost your love of the sport of boxing. That you are now just a brand name.
FREDDIE ROACH: I could tell him where to go but he doesn’t know me. He doesn’t know what I do every day. He doesn’t see me in the gym working with these fighters. I know he’s just saying it to get under my skin. I have a game plan and the right fighters to carry that game plan through and on the 16th we’ll see who’s the better coach or who’s the better man.
In retrospect do you think it would have been better to fight Bradley than Marquez?
FREDDIE ROACH: No. Part of life in boxing is losing and we have no regrets whatsoever. We felt like we didn’t need to redeem anything with the Bradley fight because we thought we won so easily. Most of the public in the world knew Pacquiao won. Just three people [Bradley and two judges] and Bradley’s trainer thought Bradley won – so you have four guys against the world. We are not worried about that.
Do you see a time in the future where the rematch with Bradley would happen?
FREDDIE ROACH: I don’t see a need for a rematch but if the business makes sense it will happen.
How do you feel about the weight switch?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: I think everything is going to be fine. The training camp is great and I feel great at 147. I do weigh a little more and it is easier now than it normally is at this time two weeks out.
Do you plan to stay at 147 or go back down?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: I don’t know what my plans are going to be after this fight. Realistically I have always been waiting for a fight against Tim Bradley and I would have taken the fight with him at 140 or 147. I think I can beat him at any weight class.
FREDDIE ROACH: Ruslan is a very good 147-pounder who happens to be able to make 140. 147 is easier to make but it is still no walk in the park. We have to watch his diet. He weighs about 153 right now so he is in striking distance. He feels pretty strong at the weight and I think he will be a better puncher at the weight. I like him at 147 more than I like him at 140.
How many fights have you been his trainer?
FREDDIE ROACH: I have trained him the last three fights, I just haven’t been able to get to the fight with him because of conflicts with Pacquiao and other fighters. I had my friend and assistant Eric Brown help me out a bit and he did a great job. Right now everything is falling into place and I’ll be in the corner this time also. (fourth fight in camp, first fight in corner).
How do you feel about the possibility of Ruslan getting the win against Bradley where Manny didn’t?
FREDDIE ROACH: I never really think about that. I keep them separated. What happened, happened and there is nothing we an do about it. This is a big fight for Ruslan – the biggest fight of his life. It is a great opportunity and I’m happy he has the opportunity. I always thought he was stronger and the bigger puncher of the two. I love his chances to win by knockout.
MATT ROWLAND: Ruslan is taking this fight because it is the biggest fight we could make. He is fighting Tim Bradley who has only fought welterweight twice. So we are not dealing with a big welterweight and he wasn’t a big puncher at 140 so he shouldn’t be a big puncher at 147, so weight will definitely not be an issue.
Bradley is using a sparring partner that beat Provodnikov…
FREDDIE ROACH: I think he is a different fighter than the one that lost. I think it is a smart thing for them to do. We got the best sparring partners we could to emulate Bradley. We spent a lot of money going out and getting the right guys and they did the same thing. The thing is when they get in the ring at match up on fight night it won’t be anything like the sparring. That’s how you get ready for big fights.
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: I heard that Bradley is using Herrera for sparring but they don’t know what kind of preparations I had for that fight or what kind of trainer I had. My training camp now is completely different and I don’t think I lost that fight anyway. I have been improving and with my new trainer and strength-and-conditioning coach [Gavin MacMillan] working with me and I going to be even more different than I was in the last couple of fights.
Why do you think you were not at your best for that fight?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: Unfortunately at that time and did not have the conditioning that I have now. I didn’t have everything that I have now. First of all I came into the country a lot later. I didn’t have the money to get a full training camp that I do now – I didn’t have the right trainer and I didn’t have the right sparring. Now everything is different. It has been different every fight after that fight.
What went through your mind when you found out about this opportunity?
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: I knew that my title shot was coming. There was talk of Brandon Rios who I know didn’t want to fight me. When this opportunity came around I said ‘yes’ right away. I think this is even a better opportunity. This win would mean a lot more than anybody at my weight.
Are you bothered by Joel Diaz’s statements about you?
FREDDIE ROACH: I met the person [Joel Diaz] maybe twice in my life. I see him around the boxing game. I know that he had a good record. He seems like he did a great job with his fighter. My fighter and I get along well. It’s not about the trainers. My fighter is the one who’s going to win the fight, not me. Whatever he says, I don’t care. I don’t have time to be mad at someone. I don’t read anything he says; I just don’t have time for that. I’m sure he is a nice person outside of the ring. This fight is very important for Ruslan and me and the entire camp and we want to win the fight.
FREDDIE ROACH: We know the style of our opponent and we have some tricks up our sleeves. He’s going to see some things he hasn’t seen before. He is right on cue with everything he needs to be ready for this fight. He’s getting better and better and we still have two more days of sparring to go. We just have to maintain and stay sharp right now, all the hard work has been done. We’re ready to go.
How will the movement of Tim Bradley affect Ruslan?
FREDDIE ROACH: It is obviously a big challenge but have a very good game plan. We will make that ring small – one that we can set up traps. We are fighting a world champion – this is for all the money. It’s the biggest fight of his life and we are going to do everything we can to win the fight.
MATT ROWLAND: We think it’s the right fight at the right time.
RUSLAN PROVODNIKOV: Everyone should come out and support us in this fight because you will never forget it.