“Give me more. I love it,” Timothy Bradley defiantly yelled at the booing fans during the live weigh-in.
The Pro-Juan Manuel Marquez contingent on hand at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas drowned out the handful of Bradley supporters. The two men drew a crowd for the official weigh-in for their WBO welterweight title fight on Saturday at the Thomas and Mack Center.
Bradley is used to being the underdog, and unfortunately, he’s used to being hated. He hasn’t committed any real crimes or gross sports injustices to warrant the reception he routinely gets. He has been accused of head butting in his career, but in boxing, that’s the equivalent of turning without using a signal a few times while driving. It is technically illegal, but no one is going to call you the worst driver in the world if your habit is exposed.
Despite holding the WBO welterweight title and an undefeated record of 30-0, Bradley is the Rodney Dangerfield of boxing. He’s not ranked in the top five of most any esteemed pound-for-pound rankings, Ring Magazine and BoxRec.com specifically.
Even worse than the disrespect for career accomplishments is the hatred. After Bradley scored his controversial split-decision win over Manny Pacquiao in June, he and his family received death threats, per Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports.
In Bradley’s last fight, he went to war with rugged Russian Ruslan Provodnikov and barely escaped with his title. Provodnikov rocked Bradley on more than one occasion and dropped him in the 12th round.
Because Bradley had outboxed the game challenger throughout the fight, he still earned the victory. Per Kieran Mulvaney of ESPN.com, Bradley suffered concussion symptoms months after this bout. He fought to KO Provodnikov, but in doing so he abandoned trainer Joel Diaz’s instructions. Had he boxed, he could have won an easy decision and taken much less punishment.
Why did Bradley choose to slug with Provodnikov? Per the first episode of the HBO series 24/7 Bradley vs. Marquez, he was angry at those who disrespected his success and threatened him and his family. He felt he had a point to prove. He talks about it in the video below. This part of the program begins at the 3:53 mark.
Though Bradley was able to win that fight with Provodnikov, he needs to have learned a valuable lesson. It is fine to be motivated, but he has to harness that and properly direct it.
At the weigh-in, Bradley looked calm, cool and collected. He took the chiding from the crowd in stride and maintained respect for his legendary opponent, but inside you can see there is a fire burning.
Even if Bradley wins on Saturday, he may never get the respect he deserves. But don’t bet on him giving up the chase.
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