Bradley/Campbell: Keys to Victory, Four to Explore, Official Prediction!
By Vivek Wallace: This evening at 9pm est on Showtime, the world of boxing will be treated to two showdowns that could go a long way in solidifying the future of the jr. welterweight division. Of the four men on the bill, each enter the equation with plans to rise to the top, but aspirations aside, we often learn in the sport of boxing that only a precious few truly represent the 'cream'. On the undercard, fight fans will get a chance to see the U.K.'s Junior Witter square off against the thoroughly vetted Devon Alexander. In the nights headliner, fight fans will see the latest phase in the evolution of Timothy Bradley, who faces salty veteran Nate Campbell, who will make his first appearance in the suddenly crowded jr. welterweight division. For a comprehensive breakdown in tonight's headliner, we take a look at keys to Victory, four critical points of emphasis to explore, and an official prediction:
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: KEYS TO VICTORY
For Bradley, this fight will be either won or loss early. Campbell is known to be very aggressive, and rarely slows his smothering pace. Bradley will have to prove to the older veteran early and often in the fight that he will not be pushed back or intimidated. Bradley will need to use his speedy combinations and keep the constantly prodding Campbell off balance. Another key for Bradley is to use better defensive techniques. Some fighters try to use offense to serve as their defense, but as we learned in the Holt fight, Bradley's chin is a big concern and some would venture to say it still has yet to be completely tested. Conditioning is far from an issue, so if Bradley can use his stamina and consistent workrate like he did in the second half of the Holt fight, he may not get the KO, but he could get the points victory.
NATE CAMPBELL: KEYS TO VICTORY
Campbell has long been considered in my book as a 'junkyard dog'. Quiet as kept, but ready to make noise when his position or turf is compromised. Tonight, he'll have to live up to that reputation by turning this into an absolute dog fight. Campbell was able to conquer Juan Diaz based on constant, yet controlled aggression, and that's precisely what the doctor ordered against Bradley, who also has yet to taste his own blood at the hands of a shark. The energy depleted version of Campbell who failed to lose weight against Funeka turned in a very solid performance, so the few extra pounds can only serve as a kick in power section, making him even more dangerous than he already is for an unseasoned opponent. If Campbell can stay in Bradley's face and keep the pressure on - giving him little room to breath, think, or react - Campbell will make his mark and get the nod.
FOUR TO EXPLORE
1.) HOME COURT (DIS)ADVANTAGE? - Bradley enters the ring tonight for pretty much the first time of his career as a celebrity-in-the-making. Some have suggested that this 'extra' attention may be too much. Many of us remember Cory Spinks dancing and entertaining his homegrown peeps as he entered the ring in his rematch against Zab Judah. After 9 rough rounds, he learned the hard way that those blasting sounds wasn't quite music to his ears. Will all the highway billboards lead to Bradley believing too much in his own press?
2.) OLD DOG WITH NEW TRICKS - Recently, fight fans have seen a modification in the style of Campbell. In his older age, he seems far more composed, far more ring savvy, and clearly more intelligent in his ring approach. Consistency is everything. He did it against Diaz. He did it against Funeka. Can he stay poised enough at age 37 to complete this trilogy by doing the same thing to a much more polished Timothy Bradley?
3.) LIKE A VIRGIN - Bradley comes into this fight after suffering his first (two) career knockdowns. Even though he tasted the canvas against Holt, Kendall's effort was far from the type of pressure Bradley will get tonight. Will he be able to hold up in what will be arguably his first true dog fight?
4.) JINX EFFECT - Nate Campbell is 0-2 all-time in the state of California. Superstitions aren't typically to be taken seriously, but in this case, there's no clear indication of change. Legend has it that the third one is always the charm. But then again, if the 0-2 jinx streak is a superstition, what weight does that give to this being his 3rd attempt?
This is a classic matchup in every sense of the word. Youth against experience, power versus speed, and the list goes on. Of all the many subplots one could identify, it's the youth versus experience part which will clearly play the biggest role, simply for the fact that there's no substitute for it. You can get a sparring partner or two to emulate an opponent, but there's no way to predict the clever reactions of an opponent who knows precisely what to do when you didn't know he knew to do it. The experience factor is only one part of the equation. The second part - which is necessary to complete the first - is the fact that Bradley has shown signs of a less-than-stellar chin. If this fight takes on the wicked pace that many expect it will, a fatigued Bradley down the stretch would be ripe for the taking, and a salty vet like Campbell will be there to bag him up. Reviewing the buildup buzz to this fight, no doubt, Bradley is the flavor of the month, so a close decision will undoubtedly go his way. That being said, of all the things Campbell has learned over the years, the one he will apply most accurately tonight is to trust in his hands, not (leaving it in) the judges.
(NATE CAMPBELL - VIA 10th RD STOPPAGE)
(ALEXANDER - VIA SPLIT DECISION)
(Vivek Wallace can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954-292-7346, Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and www.vivekwallace.com)
Article posted on 01.08.2009