This was far from the finest performance of Timothy Bradley’s career, this Saturday night unanimous decision over Luis Carlos Abregu, but it did the trick of “introducing” him to the HBO audience and showing he could viably fight at welterweight if he wanted to do so. The top junior welterweight in the world was sloppy and reckless at times, the way he used to be before sharpening up his game in recent fights, perhaps eager to impress by scoring a knockout. Yet he was the far more accurate puncher, at times wobbling Abregu, and he stood up to what punches Abregu, a heavy hitter, landed in return. In an ideal world, what comes next for Bradley is nearest 140-pound challenger Devon Alexander, or, with Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather not happening, a shot at Pacquiao. Neither of those things are likely next.
On the undercard, junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo crushed Joachim Alcine in one round, getting outboxed for part of it then taking advantage of Alcine holding on to his arm by punching with the free hand and forcing Alcine to defend himself up close. That went poorly for Alcine. Angulo is a bad, bad man.
That, and other results from the weekend, await.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY-LUIS CARLOS ABREGU
Bradley lost maybe the 12th, maybe the 8th or 9th. Abregu connected a little in those rounds, especially the 12th, when Bradley opted to stand and trade. In the 8th was the only time Abregu landed anything that seemed to hurt Bradley. He got reckless enough at times to get hit, but he showed he has a 147-pound chin, did Bradley.
The pattern was clear fairly early — the far quicker Bradley would connect with big rights when he led, then counter with big lefts when Abregu did. He would hit Abregu hard enough to wobble him every other round or so, although he also didn’t connect as cleanly as he might have if he didn’t get sloppy like he did. Abregu couldn’t make use of his height advantage because he’s a limited brawler, plus Bradley is a good defensive fighter who also disrupted Abregu’s rhythm with the jab. Also, Bradley had set aside his head butt habit in his last fight against Lamont Peterson, but that came back. Bradley has re-taken his rightful place as the boxing league leader in head butts.
This perfunctory appearance now behind him — Abregu is a fun fighter, but he should stick to opponents who aren’t in the pound-for-pound top 10 — it’s time for Bradley to return to fighting the best competition. He called out Pacquiao afterward, and he’s one of two acceptable opponents for Pacquiao with Paul Williams. Problem is, Bradley is promoted by Gary Shaw, and Pacquiao promoter Top Rank is obsessed with matching Pacquiao only with other Top Rank fighters, which means a Miguel Cotto rematch or Antonio Margarito. Shaw was right, and HBO’s Max Kellerman was right, to point out that this Top Rank/Golden Boy keep-it-in-the-house mentality is terrible for boxing. Maybe it’s for the best for Timmy, though. Bradley is a qualified opponent for Pacquiao but probably wouldn’t present much of a challenge to the top man in the sport. Better would be Bradley-Alexander, a fight we’re unlikely to get until 2011 because Shaw and Bradley insist on “marinating” the fight, the way every desirable fight allegedly needs to “marinate” these days. Boxing needs fewer chefs these days and more fighters.
Your other results, which I’ll update some more tomorrow when I catch up on my DVRing:
- What more can you say about what Angulo did to Alcine? That was nasty stuff, as always. Kudos to Angulo for refusing to stop punching when he had a free hand in that clinch, and a big “what the hell were you thinking, pal?” to Alcine for allowing it to happen. Next: Angulo vs. any top junior middle, please. Alcine doesn’t quite make the cut.
- Bantamweight Fernando Montiel tore up Rafael Concepcion in three. If Montiel doesn’t fight Nonito Donaire, there’s a strong chance I will tear out my hair in giant, bloody clumps.
- Middleweight Fernando Guerrero decisioned Ishe Smith after getting up off the canvas. Junior middleweight Shawn Porter decisioned Ray Robinson. Junior welterweight Mike Dallas decisioned Lanard Lane, showing tremendous hand speed and good defense — but he’ll need to stop tying up so much if he doesn’t want everyone to hate him.
- Heavyweights David Tua and Monte Barrett fought to a draw that many seem to think Barrett deserved to win, especially with him having decked Tua for the first time in Tua’s career. How in the world did THAT happen? Tua by 1st round KO was the consensus pick.
- Zab Judah knocked out Jose Armando Santa Cruz in a welterweight bout. Zab looked decent early, but exploded with a sneaky left uppercut that hurt Santa Cruz — a lightweight for most of his career — and spelled the beginning of the end.