Timothy Bradley says a gym fight arranged by his then trainer Joel Diaz salvaged two money-spinning events against Manny Pacquiao late in his career.
Bradley was already one hotly-debated Pacquiao victory down when he fought Ruslan Provodnikov nine months later.
The bruising battle took a lot out of “Desert Storm,” and there was talk of a potential retirement. But knowing Pacquiao wanted a rematch, Bradley and his coach hatched a plan to save the rematch and eventually gain a rubber match.
“I had the Fight of the Year with Ruslan Provodnikov. I took a lot of punishment in that fight, some big shots. But I knew mentally I wasn’t the same,” Bradley told FightHubTV.
“I was unsure of myself. I was uncertain if I could take a punch after taking that many shots during the course of a fight. So what my trainer did, Joel Diaz, at the time, put me in the ring on the first day in the gym against Lucas Matthysse.
Matthysse is a big puncher, and he said you’re either going to sink or you’re going to swim. Depending on how you look today, we will take the Juan Manuel Marquez fight. If you can’t take a punch or you are gun shy, then we won’t take the fight because I care about your health.
“So I got in the ring, held my own, and wasn’t spooked at all. I fought the best I possibly could.
“I was out of shape, but after that, he said we were ready because I was in there with a big puncher, and he wanted to see how I would react to it.
“You don’t want to wait until you get in the ring on fight night to see how your fighter reacts. You have to test them in the gym.”
The former two-weight world champion beat Marquez via split decision and immediately booked his place against Pacquiao.
Bradley would lose both bouts with Pacquiao and definitely lost the first one.
Concluding the interview, Bradley said the same protocols would have helped Miguel Berchelt after the Oscar Valdez knockout.
“He should have got tested before he got in the ring. I saw a guy that was gun shy. He looked confused. He looked unsure,” Pointed out Bradley. “But he looked a little bit out of his nature.
“It was taken away because he was trying to be a little bit more economical and more defensive with his approach. He didnt wanna get hit but it is what it is.
“It doesn’t just affect you mentally but physically when he got hit with that jab and went down. His legs never looked great at all. He was always walking on eggshells.
“The Valdez fight probably ended his career, no doubt about that.”
WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Follow WBN us on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.