Sharkies Machine: Bradley Too Fast for Cherry

Timothy BradleyBy Frank Gonzalez Jr. - September 14th, 2008 - I don’t know about you, but I was furious that Joan Guzman pulled out of the Nate Campbell fight on Saturday. Guzman couldn’t make weight and though he tried in the waning moments before the fight, he was still a little more than three pounds over the contracted weight.

While the defensively slick Guzman (28-0, 17 KO’s) has looked very good against mediocre opposition, it should be noted that he hasn’t scored a knockout since 2004. In a show of questionable heart, Guzman opted out of the fight after going back and forth throughout the day. When Campbell was asked what he would say to Guzman, Nate said, “I don’t have anything to say to him. He’s a professional with a long amateur history. He knows better than to be unprepared for the official weigh-in..

Campbell didn’t care if Guzman was over-weight; he just wanted to fight, especially after all the time he spent training to fight him. Guzman could have fought, but he opted not to do so, citing the risk to his health. I can’t think of anything more unhealthy for Guzman than to get in the ring with “The Galaxxxy Warrior” Nate Campbell (28-0, 17 KO’s). As Guzman wiggled out of fighting Campbell, the commission doctor confirmed that Guzman was severely dehydrated.

Anyone who saw what Campbell did to Juan Diaz back in March knows Campbell is no walk in the park.

Now, as to fighters who did want to fight, WBC Super Lightweight Titlist, Timothy Bradley (24-0, 11 KO’s) successfully defended his title for the first time Saturday in Biloxi Mississippi, taking on the ever game, but limited Edner Cherry (24-6-2, 12 KO’s). It was a good, competitive fight in spite of the fact that Cherry won two rounds at best. Bradley was simply too fast and too agile for the slower Edner Cherry to catch. Cherry did land some good shots here and there but it was Bradley who controlled the tempo and always beat Cherry to the punch.

Cherry landed a big right that stunned Bradley in the fourth and rallied late in the eleventh to land another “cherry bomb” right hand in the eleventh. Both the fourth and eleventh were Cherry’s best rounds and I gave them to him, though good arguments can be made that this fight was a shut out by Bradley, who showed superior boxing skills, greater agility and a hell of a chin on the occasions when he did get hit. Bradley used his jab all the time, running his combinations off the jab and always landed the cleaner shots.

In the end, the Judges scored it 119-109, 118-109 and 117-110 all for Bradley.

Bradley made his bones by defeating Junior Witter in England last March with an impressive performance that saw Witter downed in sixth from a Bradley overhand right. In that fight, Witter looked old and past his prime, focusing almost entirely on defense, rarely punching and losing most of the exchanges.

Congratulations to Bradley, who looks to have what it would take to unify the titles if we lived in another dimension of space and time where the word Champion means; the ONE man who actually beat all the other titlists. But that doesn’t happen in boxing anymore. Not here on Earth. So, expect Bradley and the other three major titlists at Super Lightweight to fight anyone but each other.

Current IBF titlist Paulie Malignaggi lost his last fight against Lovemore N’Dou but got a gift decision from the Official Judges that let him keep the IBF Title. Malignaggi is a strange creature, he’s the only fighter I’ve ever seen get a haircut between rounds. While that may sound funny, its not. Malignaggi is all about image. Image without substance. He has good boxing skills and likes to be flashy but he has about as much power as common House Fly. With 25 wins and one loss, Paulie has only five KO’s. To his credit, he has a lot of heart and showed it in his loss to Miguel Cotto in June of 2006, where he took a severe beating but never quit and fought to the final bell. I think Bradley would beat him handily.

Current “IBO” titlist Ricky Hatton (44-1, 31 KO’s) has been on the downslide (in my opinion) since fighting Luis Collazo in 2006. While Hatton got the W against Collazo, there are many who will tell you with conviction that Collazo actually won that fight, in spite of being knocked down in the first round. After beating a green prospect in Juan Urango (17-0, 13 KO’s) and a post prime, J.L. Castillo (55-7-1, 47 KO’s), Hatton was selected to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr., which is testament to Ricky’s decline since Floyd didn’t go after guys in their prime. I think Bradley would beat Ricky Hatton, possibly by knockout since Hatton likes to brawl even though he’s not a particularly big puncher, Bradley packs a pretty good punch and is a very good boxer, the kind of fighter that Hatton does poorly against. Considering that Hatton never wanted to fight Junior Witter (for whatever reason) it’s unlikely that Hatton would fight the guy who administered an ass whooping on Witter.

Then there’s WBO titlist Kendall Holt (24-2, 13 KO’s), who is still a bit green but has a true warrior mentality. His KO win over Ricardo Torres in their recent rematch was more the result of a head butt than any of the punches Holt followed up with. Holt and Torres should fight a rubber match and the winner would make an interesting opponent for Bradley. I have no idea how those match ups would turn out but I suspect Bradley is a more complete fighter than Holt. Torres has good power and is a pretty solid boxer. With a record of 32-2, 28 KO’s, Torres is clearly a big puncher. He’s the guy who put Cotto down for the first time in his career if you recall.

In his first fight with Holt, Torres won by TKO in the eleventh. If boxing were using instant replay to verify close calls, it would have rendered Holt vs. Torres II as a No Contest since it was a head butt and NOT a punch that felled him in their rematch last July. I think Torres vs. Bradley would be a very interesting match up.

Oh and let’s not forget the WBA titlist, Andreas Kotelnik (30-2-1, 13 KO’s) of Germany, who’s resume as deep as the section of the swimming pool where small children wade. Outside of beating former WBA titlist Gavin Rees, who won the title by beating Soleymane M’baye in 2007, Kotelnik is really still a prospect, who was still fighting six and eight rounders in 2007 before meeting and beating M’baye. Kotelnik is scheduled to turn his title over to Dimitry Salita this coming November so he’s not quite relevant.

So, out of the five or six top guys in the Super Lightweight division, Bradley may be the best of the lot. But don’t expect any unification bouts at 140 pounds. Expect Bradley’s next opponent to be Devon Alexander, who is ranked at the top of the WBC’s standings.

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Article posted on 14.09.2008

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