Bradley welcomes Pacquiao rematch
Run and hide, Timothy Bradley. Scramble for cover. Miley Cyrus is ticked at you.
After Bradley defeated Manny Pacquiao by a split decision on June 9 in Las Vegas to snatch the WBO welterweight title belt, Cyrus was one of many who took to Twitter to complain about the result, and perhaps fish for a commentator position at HBO Sports.
“this just proves that everything boils down to politics,” she tweeted. “ugh. why cant people just fight fair?! let the WINNERS win!”
Bradley, 29-0 at 28 years old, admitted he read about the pop star’s missives and laughed them off, impressed she knew who he was. He is also somewhat bemused and defiant over the criticism heaped on the outcome of the fight, which had Bradley winning on the scorecards of two judges, 115-113, to give him the title.
“Everybody and their mama knows who I am now, regardless if it’s good or bad,” Bradley told The Daily recently by phone from the Palm Springs, Calif., area. “You know, when you have a person like Miley Cyrus, very popular, one of the top celebrities out there, commenting on the fight, I’m like, ‘Wow, we hit the top.’ ”
Even if it didn’t feel that way. Fans and the national media focused on the controversial decision, and few, if any, gave credit to the guy who, agree or not, had defeated the mighty Pacquiao.
So, who exactly is Timothy Bradley?
Perhaps the best insight into Bradley lies in what he wanted to do in the days after the fight.
The 12-round bout left him with a severely swollen right ankle and strained ligaments in his left foot, confining him to a wheelchair. His price of victory was being unable to pal around with his infant daughter Jada and two stepchildren, Robert and Alaysia. The fighter had to be carried into his home by his father, Timothy Bradley Sr., and was in the wheelchair until the last week in June.
“He had hoped that he would take them home to Chuck E. Cheese and play around,” said Bradley’s wife, Monica. “We figured out a way. Instead of getting the stroller down, we got the wheelchair down the first week and Jada sat on his lap.”
Said Bradley: “Emotionally, it took me. But once I got out of that wheelchair, I got the moonboot; man, I had a lotta life.”
The more Bradley talks about the bonds of family, the more animated he sounds. Most young, millionaire athletes embrace the nightlife culture — perhaps even dating a starlet such as Cyrus — with no regard for settling down.
Monica said that when her husband got out of the chair with a splint on his right foot and a boot on his left, he pulled early-bird hours to build a playground in the house. He is also a coach for his stepson’s youth flag football team, a program Bradley and his wife help operate.
“We were happy when we were dead broke, and we’re happy now,” said Bradley, who admitted he was nearly penniless before a 2008 light welterweight title fight with Junior Witter. “To be honest, money don’t make you happy, it makes you comfortable.”
The fighter said he lived comfortably when growing up in a rough neighborhood called the North End in Palm Springs, but his father made him work for everything.
“I go out there now, and I see the babies when I was growing up as a teen, I see the babies on the corners now,” he said. “I’m just like, ‘See, there it is.’ My dad didn’t want that for me.”
When he was 5, Bradley said, he wanted a toy motorcycle. So his father, a weightlifting enthusiast nicknamed “Big Ray,” told him that, to earn it, he had to do 100 pushups and sit-ups every day. The child soon was ripping off 100 crunches and then 100 pushups in a row.
“That Christmas, I had not one but two motorcycles in the living room. I don’t know how they got in the living room. I still don’t know today,” Bradley said.
His dad wasn’t always so proud. Bradley Sr., a security guard at Cathedral City High School, became irate when his son was kicked out of two schools — first in second grade, then in fourth — for bad behavior. The elder Bradley scolded his child and introduced him to the Palm Springs Boxing Club. The youngster also lifted weights with older kids at the high school after class — with his father supervising everyone.
“Don’t nobody mess with Big Ray. Nobody,” Bradley said. “My dad had that image. So I was able to look at him in a positive way. He said, ‘Son, stand on your own two feet. No one is going to hand you anything.’ ”
The sweat equity paid off. Today, though he is 5 feet 6, Bradley is a strong, sculpted welterweight. In his early 20s, he also reconnected with Monica, whom he knew in his youth because she worked as a secretary for his father’s department.
“His schedule was different when I met him, but right away, he made changes,” she said.
The Bradleys’ timetable currently includes a vacation with stops in San Diego, Oahu and Washington, DC, this month. There also is the Pacquiao question to consider.
The fighter, who will stay in the 147-pound weight class, welcomes a sequel. Perhaps only then will his nemesis Cyrus finally find pugilistic peace.
“Let’s do the rematch, man, and that will solve all of this crap that’s going on right now, once and for all,” Bradley said.
“I don’t understand why people say ‘Oh no, just give the belt back.’ And I’m just like, ‘Dude, there’s no possible way.’ ”