This weekend, former WBO welterweight champion, Timothy Bradley, returns to the ring against tough former titlist, Diego Chaves. The bout will be the first for Bradley since losing his undefeated record and title to Manny Pacquiao. While some people questioned Bradley’s strategy to go for a knockout in the rematch, he also gained respect from a lot boxing fans for the choice to try and end the fight without going to the judges again.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” interview well respected boxing trainer, Joel Diaz, I talk with him about Tim Bradley’s upcoming return this Saturday against Diego Chaves. I got his views on possible dirty tactics by Chaves and what he thinks a win will do for Bradley’s career. I also get Diaz’ thoughts on Bradley’s loss to Manny Pacquiao and if he thinks the strategy was the wrong one to win the fight. Here is what Joel Diaz had to say.
Jenna J: Your fighter, Timothy Bradley, will be fighting in Las Vegas this Saturday against Diego Chaves. How has the training camp gone?
Joel Diaz: The training camp has been great. Timothy is ready to go, he is waiting for the moment. We started training a little over two months ago due to the fact that he gained a little bit of weight after his last fight. He had to take some time off, he had an injury on his calf on his right leg but everything went well, we came back to the gym and focused on the weight so that we didn’t have the same problem that we had going into the Provodnikov fight.
Once we started losing the weight, we focused on training camp, which gave us eight weeks of training camp and he’s looking great. He is on weight already — he was at 152lbs today and he’s basically closed camp with like one hundred and forty eight rounds. Other than that, he’s ready to go physically and mentally, we’re just waiting for Saturday.
Jenna J: Diego Chaves is known as a little bit of an aggressive fighter, a little bit dirty at times. What are you expecting from him?
Joel Diaz: We prepared for the best but I also prepare for the worst. I know Diego Chaves, I’ve seen him — I was actually there on both of his fights here in the United States. I was there when he fought Keith Thurman, I personally know him as well, I had a chance to talk to him and I was there when he fought Brandon Rios.
Chaves is a very rugged fighter, I am aware of that and I also know that he is tough. But due to the fact that he was disqualified in his last fight because of his dirty tactics, he can either learn his lesson and not do it again and be very careful coming into the fight and not make the same mistakes. He knows that all eyes are on him and if he’s gonna do it again, we’re ready for it. I just gotta be very careful and talk to the ref.
Tim himself can get aggressive at times but we’re gonna handle it very professionally. We know he’s gonna be a little frustrated with Timothy’s speed, so if he’s gonna get dirty, of course we’re gonna take it the best possible and professional way to not make it a dog fight. We want to give the fans the best possible fight.
Jenna J: Are you at all worried about Tim in terms of his health because in two of his last four fights he got injured a little bit, especially his feet and legs. Are you worried about him becoming injury prone at all?
Joel Diaz: Of course, I’m always aware and I’m always concerned. Injuries can happen at any moment and it’s happened three times with him, that one time when he fought Miguel Vasquez when he had a rib injury and fought, then he had an ankle injury with Pacquiao and then he had a calf injury with Pacquiao.
We always think about it and we make adjustments, we improvise every time. Of course it’s a big concern but we’re gonna fight and Tim knows that. If any injury occurs, we already know how to deal with it. Depending on the magnitude of the injury, we can either follow the fight and he’ll be okay, if not, we’ll just stop. The most important thing is taking care of him, that he’s okay.
Health wise, Bradley is great, he’s good. His feet have given him problems but he’s a strong guy and he heals fast. He went to therapy and he’s good now. Early in camp it bothered him a little bit but it was all about just getting in training and focusing on the fight and it’s not an issue anymore.
Jenna J: The fight with Diego Chaves happened because other opponents were unfortunately not available. Kell Brook was a possibility and even Miguel Cotto was mentioned before. How big of a fight is this for Tim in terms of setting it up for a big fight in the future?
Joel Diaz: It’s a big fight because Bradley right now is at a point where he can’t afford losing this fight, everything is at stake because Tim Bradley needs to win this fight and big names are mentioned.
Like you said, a Kell Brook fight, a Miguel Cotto fight, there’s a lot of fights for Tim Bradley next year but right now we’re not thinking about that. Right no our minds are set to fight and beat Diego Chaves. The strategy right now is just to beat Diego Chaves, after that, look for bigger and better things.
Jenna J: In Diego Chaves’s career, people have noticed that he seems to tire late in fights. Do you think Tim’s best gameplan is to push the pace early so he can take Chaves out of there?
Joel Diaz: We know that Diego Chaves is a dangerous fighter through the whole fight but we notice that he fades as the rounds go. Four of five rounds maybe he’ll be strong but at the same time, Tim needs to maintain a pace where he’s gonna be doing damage. If you don’t do any damage to Diego, of course you’re not gonna make him fade.
Our strategy for this fight is basically be smart, be effective and wear him down because Bradley gets stronger in the later rounds, that’s the difference. Chaves fades in the later rounds and Bradley gets stronger in the later rounds. That’s what we’re gonna do, we’re gonna take Diego Chaves into deep water.
Jenna J: Before this fight was made, Tim had his long awaited rematch with Manny Pacquaio. In that fight Tim was looking for the knockout, do you regret that Tim didn’t use his boxing and athleticism like he did in the previous fight with Juan Manuel Marquez?
Joel Diaz: It was a different story with Manny Pacquiao. With Manny Pacquiao, it was more of a personal issue in the way that the controversy in the first fight put us in that spot where we had no other choice but to knock out Manny Pacquiao. Even though Bradley doesn’t have that knockout power, we tried to go in there and in one way or another stop Manny Pacquiao or knock him out. Other than that, we were not gonna win.
We felt like we owed the fans, we owed the boxing world something, and that was that controversy fight against Manny Pacquiao the first time. The rematch, the only way to beat Manny Pacquiao that night was to knock him out. Even if he boxed him and out pointed him, he was not gonna win because the world of boxing was upset due to the controversy of the first one.
We knew that we had to beat him clearly or we had to knock him out, there was no other option. As you can see, the decision was ridiculous — Bradley was winning the first five rounds up to the sixth round we were four to one and when he had that injury on the calf, he couldn’t box anymore, he couldn’t move around, he couldn’t set the weight on his legs and what he did was, he decided to go forward.
Even though we did not win the fight, the fight was a lot closer than the judges gave it. They gave a ridiculous decision; it was like a shut out. The judges gave Tim maybe one round and that was the point, there was no way that Bradley was gonna win the fight unless he knocked Manny Pacquiao out.