Blake's Take: Tim Bradley Vs. Nate Campbell
Many contests in boxing are labeled as "pick 'em" fights. Saturday nights bout, featuring WBO jr. welterweight king Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley as he defends his title against former unified lightweight champion Nate "Galaxxy Warrior" Campbell, is one of those fights.
Fans who tune into Showtime will be treated to two incredibly talented fighters who each posses an incredible amount of talent when it comes to the sweet science. It's the timeless scenario of the younger, quicker fighter against the experienced, cagey veteran.
Fight fans in southern California will show up to the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, CA to watch the local hero Bradley (24-0 11 KOs) in his first fight back home since he bested then WBC champion, Junior Witter, in Nottingham, England with a 12 round split decision win.
Bradley would then make his initial defense against Edner Cherry in Biloxi, MS. He went on to fight in Montreal as he successfully unified his WBC title with Kendall Holt's WBO belt with a unanimous decision victory.
Tim Bradley, the unbeaten Palm Springs native, will face the toughest test of his career when he takes on Campbell (33-5-1 25 KOs).
While Bradley is the younger, less experienced fighter he fights far beyond his years. His greatest strengths are his discipline and speed.
In his last fight against Holt he was knocked down twice but was able to pick himself up off of the canvas on both occasions. He's seen his share of adversity in the ring, and he will have to rely heavily on that same discipline and focus against Campbell.
Campbell is known to pack quite a punch and even though he is moving up from the lightweight division it is still something that Bradley is going to have to be very respectful of.
For Bradley to find success against Nate he's going to have to utilize his speed. He's going to have to work off the jab, land some combinations and then use his legs to get out of the pocket. Bradley's incredible physical shape and conditioning should allow him to use full length of the ring for the full 12 rounds.
In the other corner you have Nate Campbell, who at 37 years young, is a fighter that seems to age like a fine wine. Whether he has a fight lined up or not you can find him working out in the gym.
We can give Nate the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't a lack of hard work and preparation that caused him not to make weight, and subsequently lose his title, it was that his body just simply could no longer get down to the lightweight division.
His body might have let him down on the scales in his last fight against Ali Funeka, but his skill and determination came through for him when it mattered most.
Fighting the exhaustion of trying to cut weight along with being matched against the tall, awkward Funeka, Campbell still managed to fight his way to a split decision win.
Even though Campbell is now 37, his relatively late start in the sport just before his 28th birthday has kept him far more preserved than most other fighters his age.
With 25 knockouts in his 33 wins, Campbell can obviously punch, but to say that all he can do wouldn't be fair at all.
He put on a masterful performance against then highly regarded workhorse and unified champion, Juan Diaz. Campbell's ability to out-punch and outbox Diaz was enough to give him the split decision win as well as Diaz' three title belts.
Many will say that he fought a one-dimensional fighter in Diaz.
As for Nate himself, he's anything but one-dimensional, and he's going to have to use every bit of experience he gained along the way to keep his five fight win streak intact.
Without a doubt, Campbell is going to want to get inside and test the chin of Bradley. Even though Bradley got up, it's not lost on anyone that when hit with a good shot he can be dropped.
He also has to remember that simply headhunting Bradley won't get him anywhere. He's going to have to use the work rate he displayed against Diaz to try and break Bradley down as the rounds go on.
Both fighters bring so much to the ring and each have the skills to walk away with the WBO jr. welterweight title. Like i said, it's a "pick 'em" fight.
Bradley was able to fight in the backyard of a more experienced world champ and wrestle his title away from him. He's proven he can handle fighters who have been to the top.
Nate has seen his share of younger undefeated fighters. More often than not he's been able to hand them their first loss.
But at the end of the day I'm going to have to lean towards the youth and speed of Bradley over the experience of Campbell in a very close fight that ultimately will have Tim "Desert Storm" Bradley walking away with a razor thin decision and his title in tow.
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