American box-puncher Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley could never be accused of lacking confidence. The 24 year old light-welterweight from Palm Springs, California, may never have fought outside of his home state, let alone his home country, but he is confident that he will take possession of the WBC title in Nottingham, England, this weekend when he tackles champion Junior “The Hitter” Witter at the Trent FM Arena.
Bradley, 21 – 0 (11), has certainly been talking a good game in the run up to this fight, stating his intentions are to unify the division after beating Witter and going onto say he intends to become a ring legend like Ali, Leonard and Robinson but, the truth is, on the evidence of the names on their resumes, this Saturday’s combatants are worlds apart.
Before winning his title, Junior Witter had been a British, Commonwealth and European champion. Add that detail to the fact that the Bradford trickster has defeated four world titlists and you have a very accomplished 140 pounder.
Bradley, on the other hand, has not really fought anyone of note, with almost 50% of his victories coming against pugs with losing records and the rest made up of lowly rated fighters floating around the southern California club scene, so a win on away turf and in a clash of this magnitude looks an extremely tall order.
Despite this, Bradley should not be taken lightly. He has decent speed and can dig, eight of his eleven knockout victims not making it past the fifth, and Witter is not a fighter known for keeping his chin well guarded.
If the Bradford native comes into this bout looking at it as merely a stepping stone in this quest for a battle with Ricky Hatton, then he could be made to pay.
One similarity between the two combatants is that they are both returning to the squared circle on the back of lengthy lay offs (8 months for Witter and 10 for Bradley) and it will be interesting to see how they shake off the proverbial rust.
Both men were due to be in action before now. Witter was scheduled to face Philadelphian stylist Demetruis Hopkins on the undercard of the Casamayor – Katsidis clash in March but the fight fell though when the undefeated American had a dispute with his promoter and uncle, Bernard Hopkins.
Early that same month, Bradley was to take on Mexican great Jose Luis Castillo in an eliminator for Witter’s WBC title, but the bout was scraped at the eleventh hour when Castillo failed to make weight – no surprise there then – and Bradley was rightly moved into the organisation’s mandatory position.
As well as being screened in the UK on ITV, the bout will be televised Stateside on ShoBox and 33 year old Witter will be looking to prove to the American viewers that he is now a far superior operator compared to how he was when he dropped a wide decision to Zab “Super” Judah back in 2000.
In the build up to that clash, Judah described Witter as being like Naseem Hamed but without the power. Witter still has that Ingle honed elusiveness that the Prince once displayed but he can no longer be described as a non-puncher.
He has earned his “Hitter” moniker from his concussive shots and not just because it rhymes with his name and has the shots to rock Bradley down to his boots.
Verdict: Bradley certainly looks like a fine physical specimen and will have enough in the tank to go the full twelve rounds, the thing is though, he hasn’t fought anyone remotely in Junior Witter’s class and I see the champion retaining his crown with a stoppage somewhere around the tenth.