by Paul Magno
Like a Wild West gunslinger, every world class boxer has just so many showdowns in his heart and body before a rival finally puts an end to his string of victories. No matter how good he is, every fighter has a finite amount of times he can go out to the ring and perform at tip-top form and to the best of his abilities. It’s not advisable that any boxer, especially one in his physical prime, go out and fight a fight that promises to deliver little, if anything, to the narrative of his career. However, this is precisely what 140 lb. kingpin, Timothy Bradley, is doing this Saturday, the 17th, against tough Argentine, Luis Carlos Abregu.
To be fair to Bradley, if he had his way, he’d be fighting Marcos Maidana instead of Abregu, but the Maidana fight fell through in a wave of bogus injuries, forged press releases and contractual disputes. And, of course, you can’t attack a fighter like Bradley, with such an old-school work ethic and a willingness to fight anyone, anywhere. This is the man who was set to fight Jose Luis Castillo in Mexico before Castillo dropped out due to weight issues and this was the fighter who beat Junior Witter in his own UK back yard. Bradley has shown, time and time again, that he’s someone you don’t have to come looking for when risk-taking is concerned.
However, one has to wonder why, exactly, he’s fighting Abregu at welterweight in his first high profile HBO bout. For someone looking to defend his spot atop the jr. welterweight division against young, hungry talents like Devon Alexander and Amir Khan, it makes little sense to take on a little-known welterweight from Argentina.
Khan and Alexander found Paulie Malignaggi and Andreas Kotelnik, respectively, to help them showcase their abilities while facing relatively harmless ex-jr. welterweight champs. Khan got a huge push after beating the stuffing out of Malignaggi and Alexander will get a similar push from demolishing Kotelnik on August 7th. Bradley’s bout with Abregu, in comparison, is meaningless to the 140 lb. division and to Bradley’s overall reputation.
Worst of all, this is a meaningless fight that poses a real, legitimate threat for Bradley. Abregu, while nowhere near elite level, is young, tough and in possession of real one-punch power. A loss for Bradley takes him down several rungs on the jr. welter ladder; A win, however, does nothing for Bradley’s desire to be recognized as the best 140 pounder in the world.
Surely, Bradley’s people and HBO could’ve put more thought into this HBO showcase. Any number of 140 lb. fighters could’ve been chosen for this date, all with more name recognition than Abregu; All more logical and significant for Bradley and where he wants to guide his career.
As it stands now, this is merely an empty pay day for Bradley. The card will no doubt tank in the ratings, HBO will question their choice of bringing him aboard and the end result can only be bad news for “Desert Storm.”
This is a real wasted opportunity for Bradley and, like a gunslinger who wasted two precious bullets on tin cans, let’s hope this doesn’t come back to haunt him.