Bradley's goal is to be remembered
A title unification fight between undefeated fighters in their prime is the closest thing to boxing's version of the Super Bowl, and boxing fans will get one of these rare treats when Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley meet in an early candidate for fight of the year Saturday in Pontiac, Mich., for Bradley's WBO and Alexander's WBC super lightweight titles. We recently caught up with Bradley during a break in his training camp to talk about the much anticipated fight.
What can you tell me about your training for this fight? How long have you been training for it?
I've been training for about eight weeks now. My training camp has gone very well; I am ready to go. I am in great shape and just working on the game plan.
You are probably the best athlete in the elite group at 140. Do you see your athleticism and your preparation as your biggest weapons?
Absolutely. My preparation and my conditioning are big factors in my fights. That's my biggest advantage over the majority of these athletes: my conditioning and my ability to throw lots of punches and still keep the same level through the fight.
Do you ever feel the risk of overtraining yourself?
Yeah, I do. I pay close attention to my body and I coordinate with my trainers. We all talk and we see how much work we're doing and see how much rest we have to add to it. There are a couple of techniques that I do to see if I am overtraining or not, and I use these techniques to see if I am overtraining.
The Maidana-Khan fight can be seen as an endurance contest that both of them lost. Would you say that this is the most obvious advantage you would have against either of them?
I didn't see them out of shape in any way. I did see them get tired, though. Maidana applies a lot of pressure on you, and he would wear anybody out. Khan, he did the best that he possibly could, and he had to stand there and fight sometimes, because he came on to him all night, and you get tired. But I mean, that's boxing. These guys are in great shape, they just used a lot of energy, a lot of nerve and they did a lot of hard work in that ring, and that gets you tired.
Did your picture of the division change after watching that fight? Do you now see only Devon Alexander as your biggest threat?
All these guys are great fighters. All these guys are threats. All these guys are top quality fighters. As far as the way I rank them, I believe they're all even to me. They are all tough fights for anyone.
Do you believe that the 140-pound picture can be cleared by simple elimination style, or does everybody have to fight everybody before anyone can claim superiority?
I feel that I have to beat everybody in the group. Everybody. I want to fight all of them. I want to fight Alexander, Maidana, Khan, Victor Ortiz; I want to fight against [Juan Manuel] Marquez, I want to fight all of these guys. It's either Maidana, Khan, Marquez, or Manny [Pacquiao] and Floyd [Mayweather]. It all comes down to those guys right now.
Since you were the unified champ at some point, do you see yourself as the man to beat in this division? If not, who would it be?
Absolutely. I feel that I am the big dog in the division. I feel that everybody is chasing me. I am No. 1 in more than 10 different websites and I am No. 1 in The Ring magazine, so I feel I am the man to beat, and that's why Devon wants to face me, because he wants my position.
Your promoter and your team seem to have all the faith in the world in you. How does that affect your boxing career as far as confidence goes? What's your biggest confidence booster in life?
I get most of my confidence from all the hard work that I put in. My team, my family, my faith. Believing in God. I am in this position for all of these things, but most of all it's all about hard work. Hard work and dedication. Like I said, I just want to be the best that I can possibly be, and I want to fight the best out there in the world.
What's more important for you in this fight: Keeping your undefeated status, or causing a great impression to get to a certain fighter in the future?
My main goal, and not only for this fight, is to be remembered. That's my greatest goal: To be remembered in boxing and be talked about years from now. That's absolutely my main goal. As far as keeping my zeros goes, if you look at the history of boxing, the best fighters in the world that are talked about today, they lost their zeroes but they are considered the best fighters in history, pound for pound. So if you're going to sit there and protect yourself or whatever, you want to hand-pick your fights against nobodies just to build your record, that's boloney, that's a phony '0.' But if you were to fight the best out there, then the '0' don't matter. I'm going to keep my '0', regardless, at the end of the night. But all in all, through my whole career it didn't matter to me. I want to fight the best fighters out there in the world. I want to beat the best in order to be the best.
Would you say that Alexander is perhaps the fighter with the most similar style to yours?
Yeah, he's a high-volume puncher, throws a lot of punches from a southpaw angle, that's pretty much what I see. He's quick, fast, but he gets hit a lot.
Do you envision yourself at 147 with your small frame?
Yeah, I see myself moving up to 147; not anytime soon, maybe in the future, maybe a year or two for now. Right now I want to fight at 140 and be the best at this weight and then move up. If you go back in history you have a lot of small guys who were 5-foot-6, 5-5 and had a lot of success. Pernell Whitaker was 5-5½ and he fought at welterweight. Chavez weighted 142 pounds when he fought Whitaker, and that was for the welterweight championship. So size doesn't matter. Size does not matter. It's about boxing ability, it's about following a game plan and it's about God-given talent.
How do you envision the fight for Saturday?
I think it will be a very technical fight in the beginning, and then it will get really interesting in the middle of the fight. It will depend on how many punches are thrown early, and it will depend on the conditioning of both fighters. I don't make predictions. I promise my fans at the end of the night my hands will be raised victoriously, the "Desert Storm" will remain undefeated, and I will be a three-time world champion.
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.