Mexican hitman Miguel Vazquez says he’ll be as deadly as fellow countryman and Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez when he faces WBO world lightweight champion Ricky Burns at Wembley Arena. Vazquez, the IBF World Champion, puts his title on the line against Burns in a big unification clash on Saturday, March 16 that also features Nathan Cleverly, George Groves, Dereck Chisora* and Liam Walsh.
Hernandez, currently the only Mexican playing in the Premier League, hails from Guadalajara – the same as Vazquez. Since arriving at the Red Devils in 2010 ‘Chicharito’ has terrorised defences with his speed and accuracy, hitting the net 46 times. He fired home twice in Saturday’s FA Cup match against Fulham.
And Vazquez has promised to make it a Mexican treble by battering the Scotsman and taking his belt: “When I fight Burns, I will be just like Hernandez, a cold and ruthless assassin. There will be no remorse when I’m taking Burns apart,” he said.
“Hernandez is a hero in Mexico, I saw the match on Saturday and I said that is what I have to be like to beat Burns. A striker and a boxer have the same mind set, a striker has to have to the killer instinct to score, the boxer to land a knockout punch, when the opening comes against Burns that will be the end for him.”
Vazquez isn’t worried about facing Burns who destroyed rival Kevin Mitchell – who holds a decision win over Breidis Prescott – in four rounds last time out. Vazquez, though, was the first man to beat hammer-hitting Prescott after the Colombian destroyed Amir Khan inside a round.
He added: “Burns is a good fighter, he is strong, he has good skills and he knocked out Kevin Mitchell which was impressive. But he has never faced a fighter like me before. I’m unbeaten as a world champion at lightweight. I beat a huge puncher in Prescott and he didn’t hurt me, I don’t see how Burns can hurt me. I will be Ricky Burns’ worst nightmare. I’m coming for his world title, his title is as good as mine.”
Burns v Vazquez joint-headlines a blockbuster show with WBO world light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly’s title defence against Robin Krasniqi, plus George Groves challenging for the vacant European super middleweight title, heavyweight Dereck Chisora* and Commonwealth super featherweight champion Liam Walsh.
*Dereck Chisora’s appearance on the show is strictly subject to him being successful with his license application to the British Boxing Board of Control.
Words: Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Photo: Team Klitschko
Dominant IBF/IBO/WBO/WBA heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko (58-3-0, 51ko), 36, extended his undefeated run to 16 wins on the spin, incorporating 13 by way of knockout and 12 title defences during that spell as, on Saturday, July 7 at the Stade de Suisse in Berne, Switzerland, he halted mandatory challenger and tall southpaw Tony Thompson (36-3-0, 24ko) in the sixth round.
On The Beak – Admin
Scotland’s Ricky Burns and England’s Kevin Mitchell will clash in a blockbuster showdown that ignites the Auld rivalry once again. Burns put his WBO lightweight world title on the line against his long-time rival Mitchell on Saturday, September 22 in Glasgow. Coatbridge star Burns, Scotland’s first two weight world champion in nearly 20 years, last boxed in March when he beat Paulus Moses with a commanding performance to retain his title.
Burns stepped up to lightweight last November when he beat Australian warrior Michael Katsidis – the only man to have beaten Kevin Mitchell – and put his name up with the best in the division. And now, the 29-year-old is looking forward to a classic battle with his English counterpart: “The fight’s been on the boil for the last couple of years and the fans and press have been desperate for it to happen, it’s fantastic that it’s on at last,” said Burns.
“We are both at the top of our game now and I’m in this sport to prove that I’m the best, next to me Mitchell’s the best around and it will be great fight between two warriors. He put on a great showing against John Murray last year that showed just how good a boxer he is to take apart another champion but this fight is the fight I’ve wanted and it’s got me really excited. Mitchell’s going to bring out the best in me and I believe that the fans are going to be in for an unbelievable fight.”
Londoner Mitchell’s fight against John Murray last July, in which he stopped Murray in the eighth round of a thrilling contest, was widely regarded to be one of the year’s finest. Earlier this year, in February, he beat the tough Dominican Republican Felix Lora over ten rounds and has been shouting for a confrontation with his Scottish adversary.
Mitchell said: “I’m promising you now you’re going to see the best fight of the year or any year. This is a real fight between the two best in the division and it’s not going to be for the faint-hearted. I rate Burns very highly, he’s a great fighter and has really proved himself as one of the top champions in the world.
“I’m going into the lions den and I know I can beat him and take the world title. Burns is a top kid and I’ve got to be at top of my game, the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been in my life to win.”
“This is the big one,” Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren added. “It’s the fight the fans have been waiting for and I’m delighted to say that it’s now finally on. There is plenty of pride on the line with both men and neither will want to lose. What a fight to start the autumn schedule with live on BoxNation and we’re also announcing details shortly of WBO light heavyweight champ Nathan Cleverly’s next title defence.”
Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
New WBO welterweight world champion Timothy Bradley, who outpointed former ruler Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 9, has indicated his victory was vindicated by his ability to “control the action with [his] jab”. Bradley received a majority decision courtesy of two scores of 115-113 overturning a 113-115 but faced immediate fan backlash following the official announcement of his tight triumph.
“It was a good, competitive fight,” said Bradley (29-0-0, 12ko) to HBO, inside the ring, after the official announcement of his shock win. “Every round was pretty close,” he added as a chorus of jeers could still be heard from the pro-Pacquiao crowd in Nevada. “I controlled the action with my jab, I gotta go home, review the tape and see if I really won the fight or not. He’s a strong puncher, he rocked me a couple times but I withstood it.”
During the promotion for the match-up, Bradley attracted headlines when he posed for photographs with a mock poster that indicated a rematch was set for November 10. That publicity stunt turned out to be a prophecy as Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38ko) will no doubt be eager to avenge his defeat, something Bradley is also keen on: “On November 10 we can do a rematch.”
Denzil Stone – Atlantic City
Boxing has undergone many damaging decisions in recent years that stunk of either incompetency or worse… corruption. From Erislandy Lara’s loss to Paul Williams and Richard Abril’s recent defeat to Brandon Rios to the current; a June 9 duel at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where Timothy Bradley‘s points victory over Manny Pacquiao will only be official in the record books as the latter threw more shots, landed more often and bossed the contest.
Official verdict: Bradley via majority decision (115-113, 113-115, 115-113).
Transformations… both of a personal and physical nature, were cited to be potential problems for Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38ko) going into the Bradley (29-0-0, 12ko) contest as his relationship with his God tightened and his age continued to increase. For the first two and a half minutes of the first round it appeared the criticisms of the Filipino were not unwarranted as Bradley boxed around Manny, forced the fight and could duck away from Pacquiao’s power punches. That was, until, the final 30 seconds when Pacquiao burst into action and threw three big left hands, all landing and all troubling Bradley.
It is with that late success that Manny returned to his stool with the ten score for the round and he took that confidence into the start of the second as Bradley continued to leak left hands to his face. While Bradley showed greater dimensions to his tactics – he found the body relatively easily as he tucked gloves below Pacquiao’s guard, he had good balance and showed a good boxing appreciation – it was Pacquiao who reaped success with pure power and was visibly able to knock Bradley back a step whenever he landed one of his huge lefts. That italicized word is one of the crucial factors that judges at ringside should have taken heed from when inking their scores. On that basis, the fight was Pacquiao’s.
In the second quarter of the fight, Pacquiao’s ability to land the left hand continued to either drive Bradley back, force him to tie-up or make him retreat. The American traded less and used ring movement more often, yet it was the Filipino who had the markings of a man in a fight as, at the end of the fifth, he was bleeding from the mouth.
In round six, Bradley appeared to establish an authority on the fight, but, like the opening stanza, Pacquiao rallied well in the final minute and wrested the higher score away from Timothy as he battered him into the ropes and just teed off, landing southpaw jabs, flurries and a right hook to the body. As the rounds progressed, the extra dimensions to Pacquiao’s game rose to the fore and each one proved too complex for Bradley to figure out – his defence just wasn’t built to cope.
A decline in Pacquiao’s activity occurred in round eight, yet Bradley did not offer much himself to capitalise on the lag in output to steal the round for himself. The slump in Pacquiao’s productiveness may have been fatigue… he was breathing out of his mouth and, even in round nine and he was boxing sluggishly.
In the championship rounds, Bradley was efficient, just not spectacular. He jabbed well, showed signs of counter-punching ability and boxed Pacquiao. The late bursts from Manny that won him the rounds earlier in the fight, though, had vanished and so there was more of a case to make that Bradley had turned it around – albeit far too late in the fight.
Pacquiao – who lost his WBO welterweight world championship to Bradley via a majority decision call – was the aggressor. He was the ring general. His power was the more damaging out of the two fighters. He was more accurate and he landed more often than Bradley… yet, when it came to the judges decision, there was undeniable controversy as it was the latter – the seemingly more inferior boxer – who left the ring with an outrageous majority decision victory.
Bradley had clearly been hit with the harder shots but the most damaging blow was dealt to boxing.
Words: Petra Kirsch – Gelsenkirchen
Photos: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
With his weight-lifter’s physique, Timothy Bradley‘s body is one of the talking points from yesterday’s weigh-in in Las Vegas. The undefeated boxer who boasts a record of 28-0-0, 12ko takes on Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9 but looked far more ripped, cut, shredded and athletic than the Filipino warrior. Floyd Mayweather Jr may rival Bradley for abdominal muscle, or heavyweight prospect Mark de Mori for overall power mass, but who else – pound for pound – can lay claim to possessing the best body in boxing?
On The Beak – Admin
Amir Khan is looking forward to the ‘crazy’ Manny Pacquiao versus Timothy Bradley fight that will be broadcast in the UK live on Primetime. Boxing superstar Amir Khan shared his thoughts with Primetime ahead of Saturday night’s super-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley. The former unified light-welterweight champion knows both fighters well, check out what he has to say about the eagerly anticipated world title clash.
“I’m always going to back my training partner Manny Pacquiao in this fight because he’s been in with better competition and reigned for such a long time. I think Manny will win the fight but don’t get me wrong it’s going to be a tough fight. I don’t think Manny will knock him out I feel it’s going to go the distance because Bradley is tough. There’s no doubt Bradley will come to fight, seeing him train on HBO 24/7 he seems focused and confident and he’ll go in there wanting to win.
“Manny’s not performed at his best in his last few fights so that might be on Bradley’s side and he could use that to his advantage. No matter what, it’s going to be an electrifying fight and one of those tough and crazy fights that boxing fans want to see. I’m looking forward to it as we offered Bradley the fight twice and he turned it down so I’m hoping my teammate can beat him for me in a way.”
“It will be a tough fight and a toe-to-toe scrap at times. Both guys can fight, and they like to fight, they throw a lot of shots and have great fitness. It will be a match-up that people love to see and fans will be on the edge of their seats, it will be an exciting fight no matter what because you have two guys that are in their prime and are hungry for the win. Manny won’t want to lose his pound-for-pound title and Bradley wants to move up and make a statement.
“I don’t think Bradley will be the same fighter at 147 as he was at 140. He thinks he’s a better fighter at 147 which I don’t thinks the case because he doesn’t have the power to knock Manny Pacquiao out or any other fighter at that weight. But he will cause a problem in the fight because he has a great engine, work rate and likes to keep coming forward.”
On Manny’s training…
“Manny always trains hard, I was out in the Philippines with him when I was training for my rematch with Peterson. Manny is always dedicated when it comes to training and you can’t knock him for that because he’s always strong and tough and likes to push himself to the limit. He always spars hard and he’s looking in tremendous shape.
“People can say what they like about his last few fights, and he hasn’t really performed well, but I think that’s down to how his opponents have been. When he fights top opposition he always boxes better but when he faces guys that people expect him to beat he doesn’t really put on the ‘A’ game that he has.”
On sparring Manny…
“Manny is a tricky guy to beat. I’ve sparred with him and shared a ring with him, and he sometimes adapts quite late in a fight because the first few rounds he eases into it and sees what the opponent does and kind of breaks him down. Whereas Bradley is a bit wild and seeing him fight he goes in there with his head. Manny needs to watch his head because they are a similar size but Bradley’s game plan will be to put pressure on him, push him back and throw four or five shots at a time.
“Speed is going to be crucial, Bradley knows Manny is fast so Bradley’s going to try and use his speed against him but I think Manny has way more ability and eventually his class will shine through. What Manny has to be wary of though is Bradley’s head and the looping shots that don’t come from far away.”
“You always have that one opponent that knows your style inside out. I think Marquez has that style to beat or look really good against Manny Pacquiao that’s why the last fight was so awkward.”
On fighting the winner…
“I would love to fight Bradley at 147 if he somehow manages to come through. I don’t think he’s going to beat Manny, but it’s a fight that we put to him before when he was at light-welterweight and he turned it down twice. I wouldn’t face Manny because we are friends and share the same trainer and there are plenty of other big fights out there.”
Words: Alan Dawson – London
Photo: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Meticulous boxing trainer Freddie Roach, the chief cornerman for WBO welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao, has appraised the Filipino’s June 9 opponent Timothy Bradley. Roach regards Bradley’s style to be incomplete and foresees ways through the challenger’s defence. He did, though, marvel at the Californian’s sculpted physique but opined that build alone will not see Bradley triumph as Pacquiao is said to emulate his prime form.
“We had a really great training camp… the first three weeks in Baguiao [were] very successful – and the last three weeks in Los Angeles [were] great. Manny’s focus is the best I have ever seen,” Roach said recently.
Roach is known for his studious approaches to camps and sets his fighters up (whether they are Pacquiao, Amir Khan or Julio Cesar Chavez Jr) to capitalise on the weaknesses the opponent possesses. Ahead of the MGM Grand Garden Arena brawl in Las Vegas later tonight, Saturday, Roach paid respect to Bradley’s athleticism but alerted Manny to the chinks in Desert Storm Tim’s armour in advance.
“We are going against a tough opponent, a tough undefeated opponent in Bradley,” Freddie, a five-time Futch-Condon award winner stated. “I have watched a lot of tapes on him, have seen a lot of holes in his defence and we are going to take advantage of them.”
Whilst Bradley (28-0-0, 12ko) lacks the star-name of Pacquiao’s most recent victims like Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto, there is intrigue over the stylistic match-up as the challenger is five years the junior of the champion, is undefeated, on a hot streak of form and, like Pacman, throws an abundance of punches. However, Bradley is orthodox while Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) is southpaw and so toe-treading and head-clashing could occur.
“Bradley does come in head first,” noted Roach. “We have been working on how to nullify that. We have a lefty fighting against a righty. The two heads may clash, that could happen and it’s something we have to be aware of and something we will be prepared for.”
Since tasting the canvas against heavy-hitting Kendall Holt, Bradley has seldom tasted the canvas and has collected a bounty of ten scores. In contrast, Pacquiao, in his most recent outing against Juan Manuel Marquez, was pushed to the wire and secured a disputed majority decision. Roach, though, believes Bradley will not achieve the same success Marquez enjoyed as he lacks fundamental counter-punching ability.
“I have been watching Bradley a lot and he doesn’t rely very much on counter-punching. He is very offensive. He comes to fight which will make it a good fight for everybody. He comes forward and is very aggressive, he will try to fight. He is a well-conditioned athlete. He will try to prove he is the better athlete – the better-conditioned athlete [but] Manny should have a very good fight.”
Bradley has stated that he has multiple game-plans, will assess Pacquiao early on and decide when to bang or if he should box. If the latter occurs, Roach has indicated that his premier prizefighter will be “prepared”. He said: “We have a mover in camp so we are prepared if Bradley decides to move around… we are prepared for anything he brings. We make adjustments to prepare Manny for whatever may come. He’s ready for a boxer and I’m covering all my bases.”
What has been common in Pacquiao’s welterweight campaign – whether he took on Cotto, Joshua Clottey, Margarito or Mosley – was that he was the smaller man, relinquishing the height and weight advantage to his opponent. Even against Marquez, Juan Manuel weighed in one pound lighter than Pacquiao but outweighed him – unofficially – in the ring. Pacquiao is accustomed to attacking – and trumping – bigger men than himself. And, though he is slightly taller than Bradley, he will again look like the smaller man due to Timothy’s weight-lifter’s body.
“Bradley is a good opponent. [We have not fought anyone like Bradley] because he is very strong and very muscular up top. I don’t think we have fought anybody that muscular.”
Roach intends on countering Tim’s build with “experience, speed and power.” He claimed: “Experience is hard to deal with, power will knock you out.”
In a concluding remark, Roach issued a caveat to Bradley: “[Manny] is a better fighter now; he is more focused. If a knockout comes it will be a bonus. Bradley is a great fighter and he’ll be resilient, but I think you’ll see the best Manny Pacquiao yet.”
Photos: Stacey Verbeek – Maple Avenue Boxing Gym, Dallas
Reigning WBO welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao and his challenger, three-time junior welterweight world titlist Timothy Bradley, arrived in Las Vegas on June 5 to much media hurrah and attracted a plethora of camera flashes at the final press conference yesterday, June 7. Filipino icon Pacquiao was his usual chipper self, while self-assured Bradley was all business during the face. The two headline the June 9 card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
An accomplished welterweight, Pacquiao’s body of work in the division is impressive as he has already accumulated victories over Miguel Cotto (12 Rd TKO), Joshua Clottey (12 Rd UD), Antonio Margarito (12 Rd UD), Shane Mosley (12 Rd UD) and Juan Manuel Marquez (12 Rd MD). All of his triumphs at 147lbs have been comprehensive aside from his most recent, to Mexican nemesis Marquez, as analysts regarded Juan Manuel to have bossed the contest for the majority of rounds. Against Bradley, though, Pacquiao is said to be eager to put in a performance that will remind fans of the skill-set he used to notch up a variety of titles in eight divisions.
Bradley, in contrast, has only once fought at welterweight in the past five years; against Luis Carlos Abregu. The American’s quality, though, shined at 140lbs as he demonstrated fine ring skills and a winner’s mentality. His most notable scalps include Devon Alexander (10Rd TD), Lamont Peterson (12 Rd UD) and Junior Witter (12 Rd SD).
Words: Robert Delgado – Los Angeles
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
With the collapse of two high-profile fights – Victor Ortiz versus Andre Berto II coupled with the Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan rematch – drug-testing continues to be one of boxing’s hot topics and, ahead of his duel with WBO welterweight world champion Manny Pacquiao on June 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, undefeated Californian challenger Timothy Bradley has stated that clean fighters should have no issue with blood testing.
“Drug testing was never brought up during our negotiations,” said Bradley (28-0-0, 12ko), revealing the only testing both fighters have been subject to will be by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. The 28-year-old, though, would have wanted more: “Is it something I would like? Sure, I wouldn’t mind.
“If you are clean, you shouldn’t have a problem taking the test. I’m not worried. Pacquiao is Pacquiao. I don’t know if Pacquiao ever used steroids or not, you know, bring it on. His last couple performances have not been that great.”
Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38ko) was once considered the undoubted pound-for-pound champion, however, an underwhelming performance over Shane Mosley (unanimous decision; May, 2011) followed by a narrow and inconclusive victory over long-time rival Juan Manuel Marquez (unanimous decision; November, 2011) have left question marks over the Filipino’s grip on that accolade.
“Personal problems can definitely affect a fighter in the ring,” said Bradley of the vices and troubles that were cited as distractions that led to a sub-par but still triumphant Pacquiao.
“Mentally you have to be dialed in and be focused. If not, it will take a toll on you in the ring. You need to be dialed in on what you need to do. If that’s the excuse he is using then I believe it. Marquez has that style that gives you fits and they have fought three times already and each was a very close fight. I think Marquez just knows how to fight him.”