Calm Before the Storm: Bradley vs Holt
By JD Camacho, (April 2, 2009) Photo © Tom Casino/SHOWTIME  
On Saturday, WBC junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley returns to action in his second defense – a unification match against WBO champion Kendall Holt on Showtime Championship Boxing. Much has been written about the underrated importance of a junior welterweight unification, about the focus on future foes like Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao, and about the lack of ticket sales in Montreal for this bout. Few have weighed in on how good Bradley in particular might actually be.

Kendall Holt seems to be an open-and-shut case. He went life-and-death with the Colombian slugger Ricardo Torres twice and suffered his first loss via first-round knockout to an unremarkable opponent. Holt may be a solid fighter, but he’s already shown chinks that make it increasingly unlikely he’ll have crafted an all-time great suit of armor at the end of his career.

The boxing world, meanwhile, surround Timothy Bradley with a storm of question marks.

Veteran writer George Kimball, in his post-fight report for Bradley’s last bout and his preview for the Holt match for ESPN, failed to comment on Bradley’s potential and only mentioned his “quiet dignity” – and that his biggest scalp, former British titlist Junior Witter, was likely “overrated.”

The Ring Online ranked him earlier this year at #57 on its Top 100 active fighters, pound-for-pound. “Not a fighter where any one attribute leaps off the TV screen at you, but very solid and well-schooled all around,” read Bradley’s status report. Not exactly the most ringing endorsement.

And widely respected scribe Doug Fischer offered a reserved profile: “A fairly extensive amateur background adds to his above-average technique, but what sets him apart from his peers is his total dedication to training and conditioning. Unflappable confidence and the ability to relax in the ring enable him to overcome or even overwhelm better-skilled and more-experienced fighters.”

The reticence of the boxing world to assess Timothy Bradley’s abilities with any sort of gusto or excitement is understandable. After all, despite being an undefeated titleholder Bradley hasn’t done much – and hasn’t done it for very long – in the boxing game. And when your best win is over an arguably amateurish and undeniably flawed Junior Witter, skepticism is warranted.

But why is there so much more hoopla and “superstar” talk surrounding even more unproven fighters? Why do contenders like Victor Ortiz and James Kirkland receive premium cable titan HBO’s full backing? Why do some call Jorge Linares “the next Oscar De La Hoya?” Why do fighters like Paulie Malignaggi continually receive television time?

Sure, Timothy Bradley doesn’t knock people out like Ortiz, Kirkland, and Linares. Sure, Bradley doesn’t trash-talk like Malignaggi. But that doesn’t mean he can’t be a great fighter - and that doesn’t mean he deserves to be ignored.


-Maybe Kendall Holt will quell Bradley’s storm before it ever gets started on Saturday. If he does, hopefully Holt gets some credit for it.
-The WBA has imposed their ridiculous title divisions on the popular boxing archive Words like “super,” “ordinary,” and “interim” are enough to confuse even the titleholders, much more the casual boxing fan.
-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Ronny Hearns prove that solid technique can only get you so far in boxing. Relative intangibles like speed, power, and punch resistance have to come into play sometime.
-Eddie Chambers is one of the five best heavyweights in the world. And yes, that should be a bigger compliment then it happens to be.
-I’m not sold on Edwin Valero. For a guy that’s only fought one world-class opponent and never fought at the real lightweight limit, he sure receives a lot of attention.
-Ricky Hatton looked much healthier during the Hollywood press conference than he did for the one in Manchester. He looks to be taking his fight with Manny Pacquiao very seriously. Good for him.
-For shame, Team Margarito. For shame.
-Roy Jones, Jr. should fight Glen Johnson if he’s really in it for more than the money. If not, there’s no need pay attention to him anymore – and that’s a shame, too.

JD at:

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