Timothy Bradley announces retirement from boxing 

 

DSCN7143By Leighton Ginn

Five-time world champion Timothy Bradley announced Saturday he will retire from boxing, turning a page in his life that brought him international fame.

“Thank you for cheering me on when I didn’t deserve it, loving me most when I needed it and for being my heartbeat to keep going day after day. I am the man I am today because of you all,” Bradley said in a release.

Bradley’s full release is below.

There always comes a point in life where we have to make choices that no matter how much we know the right option, it still leaves us filled with mixed emotions.

Looking back at Timothy Bradley’s championship years

I have spent the past couple days trying to find the right words to describe this point in my life and no matter how long I sit and reflect, I still don’t know if these words can do my thoughts justice, but I’m going to do my best to open up my heart and share with all of you during this pivotal time.

How Timothy Bradley’s life intersected with 1968 Olympians George Foreman and John Carlos

It is no secret that a life of any professional athlete is not an easy one- yes it comes with a lot of fame and fortune but also comes with fear and fatigue. A balance that has to be achieved by ambition and maintained through perspective. For over twenty three years, Boxing gave me purpose and it defined me. Dedicated to my craft and fueled by my passion for the sport, my love for my team and my admiration for all of you who supported me day in and day out– I was able to give 100% of myself to be the best and to always get up when I was knocked down. It was the biggest challenge in my life but I embraced the sacrifice with every victory and milestone reached. Boxing gave me roots, it kept me off the streets, it gave me confidence, it taught me how to be a man and face every challenge head on and take the good with the bad. Yes I missed holidays, birthdays, even missed hearing some of my children’s first words but more than time, it took my blood, sweat and tears, all things I can never get back. Which is why turning the page for me is bittersweet. That once in a lifetime purpose to wake up everyday and give 100% is now fueled towards something else- my family. I find my strength in them, my peace and most importantly, unconditional love. I wake up wanting to spend all my time being a father, being a husband and being free. Although that square circle I lived to dance in everyday gave me so many smiles and blessings, it could never out weigh the smiles and blessings I receive from my wife and children. It’s now my turn to support them and encourage them to live their dreams and I couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter. I hope to continue to allow boxing in my world through teaching, commentating and being a fan of a sport I love so dearly.

New Timothy Bradley scores first knockout since 2011 against a guy who was never down in a fight

And to you, the diehard fans, man, it’s been one heck of a ride. The bumps, the bruises, the peaks, the valleys, the days I didn’t want to get out of bed and the nights I couldn’t sleep….So many occasions where my heart, mind and soul were tested but with every challenge there was hope and there was all of you…giving me the courage to fight another day and do what I loved to do. I can never find the words to convey how much I appreciate all of you and how truly humbled I am by the unconditional support the past 23 years, Thank you. Thank you for cheering me on when I didn’t deserve it, loving me most when I needed it and for being my heartbeat to keep going day after day. I am the man I am today because of you all.

Joel Diaz plans for ‘wrecking train’ Ruslan Provodnikov to ride over John Molina

weigh in-0006 (Ruslan Provodnikov and John Molina Jr)

Ruslan Provodnikov (left) and John Molina Jr. pose following the weigh in for their fight on June 11, 2016. Photo courtesy of Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME.

 

 

By Leighton Ginn

With a fighter who is a destructive force like Ruslan Provodnikov, trainer Joel Diaz said what he just has to do is unleash the beast.

That’s what he plans to do tonight when Provodnikov faces John Molina in a light welterweight fight. The telecast begins at 6 p.m. PST on Showtime.

Some have projected the bout as a Fight of the Year candidate because both fighters like to mix it up at the center of the ring. And Diaz hopes Molina continues to move forward to make a thrilling fight.

“Molina is a guy who wants to fight, he stands in front of you and exchange with you. That will be the worst mistake he’ll make against a wrecking train,” Diaz said. “Ruslan has power in both hands. When I say power, I’m talking about devastating power. Molina has been hurt in previous fights. If he gets caught with a right or a left with bad intentions, the fight is over.”

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Ruslan Provodnikov (left) and John Molina pose following the weigh in for their fight on June 11, 2016. Photo courtesy of Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME.

Provodnikov, nicknamed the Siberian Rocky, has become one of the boxing’s most exciting attractions. His 2013 fight with Timothy Bradley was the Fight of the Year, and maybe the fight of the decade as he was able to give Bradley a concussion in the first round and knocked him down in the closing seconds before losing a unanimous decision.

Ruslan has power in both hands. When I say power, I’m talking about devastating power.” Joel Diaz

Ironically, Diaz was working in Bradley’s corner in 2013.

Provodnikov has also had spectacular showdowns when he stopped Mike Alvarado and was in a war with Lucas Matthysse before falling in a majority decision.

However, it could be argued that Provodnikov needs to harness his aggression. He arguably punched himself out in the early rounds against Bradley, allowing him to dominate in the middle rounds.

Against Chris Algieri, Provodnikov knocked down his opponent two times in the opening round, but then didn’t adjust when Algieri changed his strategy.

Before Provodnikov’s fight in November, he decided to hire Diaz as his trainer. So far, they’re still learning about each other, but Diaz said they are making progress.

Diaz said working with Provodnikov can be tricky. He’s at his best when the lights are on for a big fight. In the gym, not so much.

 “Ruslan is not about technique and strategy, that’s why in the gym he never looks good,” Diaz said. “In the gym, he’s less than average.”

But Diaz said he’s integrating small changes into Provodnikov, hoping the small changes can make a big difference for a fighter who has been in brutal battles the last few years.

Ruslan is not about technique and strategy” Joel Diaz

And the two are getting comfortable, and are starting to understand each other better despite the language barrier.

“He feels like we’re part of the family,” Diaz said.

 A victory tonight, and Provodnikov could open the door to big match ups.

weigh in-0002 (John Molina Jr)

John Molina poses following the weigh in for his fight on June 11, 2016 against Ruslan Provodnikov. Photo courtesy of Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME.

Molina won’t be easy. Also an exciting fighter, he had a standout performance against Matthysse, who many considered the best in the weight class for a few years.

Molina knocked Matthysse down twice before getting knocked out in the 11th. It was the Fight of the Year for 2014.

Diaz thinks this could be a Fight of the Year candidate based on their styles.

“With Molina, there’s no way we’re telling him to hold back,” Diaz said. “Molina is dangerous on the outside because he has the reach and he knows how to use it. We tell him the thing with Molina is to get inside and to get close. That’s where we’re going to do some damage, on the inside.”

 

New Timothy Bradley will be unveiled against Brandon Rios

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One thing that has already come out of the newly minted Timothy Bradley and Teddy Atlas partnership has been an array of colorful metaphors.

Bradley, the WBO welterweight champion, hired Atlas to help with his defense so he will not take as many devastating blows like he has in recent fights. Bradley has promised he will be a “smart monster,” where he will be more cautious without losing his aggression.

Atlas, the longtime trainer who has been solely a successful broadcaster that last few years, said one of the main goals will be to eliminate “mortal sins,” or the mistakes that has resulted in Bradley getting hit with big shots.

Being a smart monster and avoiding mortal sins will be crucial tonight when Bradley defends his title against Brandon Rios, an aggressive fighter who Atlas says begins coming forward during the national anthem.

Throughout the years, Bradley has established himself as one of the sports best fighters, demonstrating a tough chin, relentless determination and athleticisms that fuels his versatility. But he’s been proving he has a tough chin too often for his own comfort.

In 2013, Bradley sustained a concussion in the first round and was knocked down again in the 12th round before scoring a unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov. In December, 2014, Bradley’s face was mutilated in a draw against Diego Chaves. In Bradley’s last fight, he got caught with a big right that wobbled him in the final minute against Jessie Vargas before scoring another unanimous decision.

But working with Bradley will be more tinkering, not an overhaul. Bradley returns to the Thomas and Mack, where he had his signature victory over Juan Manuel Marquez in 2013. Marquez was fresh off his devastating knockout of Manny Pacquiao at the end of 2012 that left the Filipino superstar out cold and face down on the canvas for nearly two minutes.

Bradley controlled the fight, avoided danger and won a convincing majority decision.

But even before the Marquez fight, Bradley had been an elusive boxer. Against future world champions Devon Alexander and Lamont Peterson, Bradley outclassed each. In the first of two fights against Manny Pacquiao, Bradley was able to avoid big danger against one of the sports biggest punchers.

Since the Provodnikov fight, Bradley has engaged more and gotten hurt more. The aggressive style has Rios believing that Bradley will re-engage in his brawling style when he either gets hit or challenged.

We’ll find out Nov. 7.