World championship boxing returns to The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas next week! Former two-division world champion TIMOTHY “Desert Storm” BRADLEY, JR. is back in the ring, facing one-time interim world champion DIEGO “La Joya” CHAVES, in a 12-round welterweight rumble. The co-main events will feature two world championship battles — World Boxing Association (WBA) interim super lightweight champion MAURICIO “El Maestro” HERRERA defends his title against undefeated Top-10 contender JOSE BENAVIDEZ, JR. and top-rated contenders MATT KOROBOV and ANDY LEE go mano a mano for the vacant World Boxing Organization (WBO) middleweight crown. All three fights will be televised live, Saturday, December 13, on HBO World Championship Boxing®, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
HERE IS WHAT TIMOTHY BRADLEY, TRAINER JOEL DIAZ AND TOP RANK VP CARL MORETTI HAD TO SAY:
CARL MORETTI: December 13 will be Tim Bradley’s return to the ring against Diego Chaves who we expect to be 100%. No Visa drama for Diego like the last time for the Brandon Rios fight. Diego has been training for three months and arrives in Las Vegas this weekend. I know Tim is extremely focused on this fight – it’s the most important fight of his career because it’s the next fight in his career. This, along with two other fights that are really intriguing – the WBO middleweight championship fight between Matt Korobov and Andy Lee and the WBA interim super lightweight title battle between defending champion Mauricio Herrera and undefeated Jesse Benavidez Jr. – are both 50/50 fights. So without further ado, the great Tim Bradley, who after this call will be watching his favorite team as well as mine, the Dallas Cowboys, who also need a big win tonight.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Hey everybody, first of all I would like to thank God for letting me get back in the ring once again, as well as Top Rank, HBO and Diego Chaves – respect to him for stepping up to the plate. This is my return after getting beat by Manny Pacquiao. I learned a lot from Manny Pacquiao – I learned not to beat myself in the ring and not to be someone that I am not in there. For this fight I am going back to the drawing board, to what got me to the top. My boxing ability, my speed and using my thinking cap in the ring. Diego Chaves is no slouch – he has fought some good guys – Keith Thurman and the rugged Brandon Rios. Brandon Rios is always tough for everybody. I heard he was tough in that fight. I know Chaves is primed and ready to fight me. I am one of the best and he wants to beat me. So I am focused and training camp went really, really well. I have sparred over 150 rounds and I am in tip-top shape. Everyone is wondering if I am on the vegan diet and no I am not on the vegan diet for this fight. I am actually eating fish and eating meat and I feel fantastic. I think it should be better – I think I’ll be better off. I am excited about this opportunity. I am excited to be on HBO Live on December 13 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and it should be a real exciting fight. It’s the best card going on that night.
Do you feel you have more incentive or a sense of urgency to win coming off a loss?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I don’t think about losing. All I think about is winning. A two-fight losing streak does not even enter my mind. The thing is you learn from losing battles. You learn a lot about yourself. And I learned a lot more while losing than I did by winning. I definitely want to get this win, I am going to get this win against a tough guy like Diego Chaves. He fought Rios then went back to the gym four weeks later so he will be in tip-top shape, and hopefully maybe he over trained a little bit, and if so that would work in my favor. I am expecting a tough, tough night against Diego Chaves. He’s not well known in the general public but in the boxing world he is well known. He’s a tough, tough guy.
What is the mindset coming in after a loss as opposed to a victory?
JOEL DIAZ: After the loss, Tim came back to the gym and his main focus was getting the title back and he told me, he said, ‘Coach I am going to be world champion again.’ You don’t see a lot of fighters like that. A lot of fighters, when they come back after a defeat, you don’t see the spark any more. Tim has not lost the spark. I know Diego Chaves. I was there when he fought Keith Thurman. I met him personally there and I was also there when he fought Brandon Rios. He’s not an easy opponent. He’s a tough opponent. He comes to give Timmy a hard night, but we prepare ourselves for the toughest fight. We prepared for this fight like it was the Pacquiao fight and Tim has no doubt in his mind. He’s got his preparation in. Mentally and physically he is focused and we are not even thinking about a loss. We are thinking about finishing the year with a spectacular win.
Are we going to see you box or go in there and slug it out to win?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: If I tell you what I am going to do it is going to give away my game plan and I want to keep that under the radar. I have to think what is the best way to approach this fight. And really think about it. I can box and I can brawl. Diego Chaves fights in the trenches. So I am ready for anything he brings honestly. Ready for anything he brings to the table.
Are you ready for the rough stuff?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: He is a dirty fighter. In the beginning I did think he was but then I went back and watched some film on him and he is a really dirty fighter. Throwing elbows and trying to scrape the eyes, rake the eyes with his gloves. Pushing down on the head. He has a lot of dirty tactics. But guess what? He hates being hit to the body. So when I get close on him I expect the roughhouse tactics. Hopefully we have a great ref in there that is going to take control, warn both fighters and keep control of the action. I am ready for that dirty stuff and I have some dirty tricks of my own and everybody knows what it is, so bring it.
Where does this fight lead you?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: There are a lot of options out there. Many Pacquiao is talking about going back down to 140, so his welterweight title may be vacant and maybe Marquez would want to fight again to get that fifth title.
CARL MORETTI: I had some conversations with Eddie Hearn and Kel Brook if he can’t get the Amir Khan fight put together. Tim ironically won his first title at 140 against a Brit so maybe he will have to fight another to win the title at 147.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Maybe even 154!
CARL MORETTI: We will go up but not down.
Regarding the speech you gave at the boxing writers dinner last year regarding the Cold War…
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I think what I said … there was no harm in it. It seemed as though no one else had the balls or decency to say it. Maybe that helped. Maybe everyone thought about it. We were in the same room conversing and buddy, buddy. But behind closed doors we are all slamming everybody and putting everybody down. I thought what I did was great and if it helped in any way that is fantastic. The fact that Top Rank and Golden Boy have put a couple of shows together this year and I’m sure many other shows next year. I think it’s great for the fans and for the sport of boxing. We need to start putting the best fights possible together. The fans are getting tired of it. I don’t know if you see it, but pay-per-view is not what it used to be and the fans are catching on and they are not buying like they used to. Some of the best fighters in the world can’t hit one million buys any more. The best fighters have to fight the best in order to get those numbers. People love boxing and they want to see the best fights. If it helped that’s great and if I pissed anybody off, that’s great too.
CARL MORETTI: I forgot about that speech. He did raise a lot of eyebrows. Ironically he is going to make a good politician when he is done or a good executive because since then a lot of fights have been made and at least there is dialogue, so it’s a good thing.
Do you see a fight against, Khan or Garcia or Maidana in your future?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I really don’t – this is the thing – I take it day-by-day. I live in the present. I don’t live in the future. There are still some bridges that need to be crossed. The Cold War they say is over and we kind of work together, but there are still some bridges that need to be crossed. I would embrace any of those types of fights you just mentioned. Until those things are fixed. I don’t know. I am in a lane and I do what I do and if these guys want to fight I am right here – reach out to my manager, to my wife, to my trainer and to Top Rank. If the fight makes sense then let’s do it.
CARL MORETTI: Not to look ahead, but Tim knows this, we tend to look ahead, but he’s got a fight on his hands on December 13. For Tim and for us that’s all that really matters. December 14 we can start talking about it but up until then it is all about the 13th.
Being there are two events on the 13th, do you feel incentive to be the star of the night?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I fight on the best network there is in boxing, HBO, and I don’t care what those other clowns are doing. I am here and I am going to be faced with a tough opponent and I am sure if all the fans around the world want to see a real fight they are going to tune into Bradley vs. Chaves because they know what they are going to get – they are going to get a fight. They are going to be talking about my fight, of course. I am one of the best fighters in the world so everybody is going to tune in because they want to see what I am going to bring. And they want to see what Chaves is going to bring. Chaves against me is a real fight. Those other fights that are made, they are just fight regular fights. This is a super fight what we are doing at The Cosmopolitan. Our fights are way better.
JOEL DIAZ: Of course. Tim is fighting a very tough opponent, a guy that comes to fight and always puts out the best. The boxing fans know the difference in styles. It is going to be a great night of boxing in Vegas and if they want to come and see Bradley they are going to see a great fight – they are going to see a well-matched fight. Or they can go watch the other fights where they know who is going to win. I think it is going to be a great night where people are talking about Tim Bradley and a great performance.
JOEL DIAZ: Timmy needs to just focus on his job and do his work that we trained for. Stick to his strategy and it shouldn’t be a problem. Get in there, fight smart and win. But knowing Tim, who is stubborn at times, you are going to see a fight. We always prepare for the best but always prepare for the worst. We plan for plan A and plan B. He will box but at some point you are going to see the stubborn Tim Bradley and exchanging and if they spark it up you are going to see a war. That’s the thing about Tim Bradley – he is unpredictable and you don’t know what to expect. The only thing you know is you are going to see a great fight.
How is your mindset coming into the fight after fighting the rematch against Pacquiao?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: The dark cloud has blown over. I am clear-minded and I am happy to be back. I’m happy to be back healthy and happy to be back in front of the fans. I am happy for the opportunity. Opportunities come and you have to be ready for them and this is another opportunity to shine. I am definitely up for it. When I was fighting the Provodnikov fight then the Pacquiao rematch and the fact that we settled it and it’s all over and I am moving on and my goal is to get my title back. Get my title back and win another title in another weight class.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: My mind is set on Chaves and not thinking about anything else, distractions or negative thoughts that would make me fight a certain way. I like the fact I am clear-headed and going in with a game plan.
Why leave the vegan diet now?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I have a lot of energy on that diet and I am able to lose weight easy on that diet. I enjoy the diet – it is really clean living. I did get injured in numerous fights, especially with Pacquiao, tore my calf muscle. I started doing some research and I thought maybe I didn’t get enough protein because the only protein I consumed was plant-based protein. I needed to find a way to get more protein and the best way is to eat clean meats and fish and my vegetables as well. I am still eating the vegetables but adding a little bit of protein – chicken, fish, and once a week steak to get some B-12 in me so I don’t have to do any injections or anything like that. When I am vegan I have to get injections constantly of B-12 and I was sick of that. I wanted to go more the natural way, the way given to us by God. So I wanted to try it for this fight and see how I feel and I feel fantastic. I have been training three months for this fight and I don’t feel like I have had a low point yet. Sometime when I am vegan I can feel a low point in my training – the energy is always there but I feel like I am tearing down. This camp I enjoyed it and I am going to see how I fight – if it benefits me.
Joel, how will it be working in two venues that night?
JOEL DIAZ: It’s very simple. When you have a stable and a team I believe a person can only handle so much. That’s why you need a strong team and I feel I have a very strong team. When I got the call regarding Victor Ortiz and he is in my camp, we have to make it work one way or another. He knows and is aware that Bradley is my priority. His manager knows I have Bradley that night and he said we can make it work for you – Victor can fight two or three hours earlier than Bradley. I said if that works, I can be there, if not, the other part of my team will be with Victor and I will be with Tim.
How is it training two fighters with different styles at different places in their careers?
JOEL DIAZ: A trainer learns to deal with managing everybody’s situation. I work with different fighters with different strategies in a different way. I know Victor and Tim is like a brother. I know when Tim is not even feeling good. I can tell by the way he is walking in the gym. I am not stressing about it. I am excited to take on the challenge. I am a true believer that everything falls into place. I have my responsibilities but at the same time I always prepare myself. I have my team and Victor has his strength and conditioning coach, who is always there. If I do not make it to Victor’s fight – I put the strategy together, I have been training him and my brother knows exactly what to do, and my brother’s got it. If the timing is not proper for me to be there then I’m not going to be there, I am going to be with Tim.
Have Victor and Time been interacting at camp?
JOEL DIAZ: Well, I know Tim’s schedule and I know that on Thursday he does track and when he does track he does 3½ hours. One day I thought I would bring Victor along and he didn’t know where we were going. Victor needs some mental help. He has a lot of ability in the sport but he needs strengthening in the brain. He didn’t know him so I took him to the track and told him we were going to work today, you’re going to get some real work. And he did. Tim finishes at the track then goes to the gym from there and Victor said he is crazy. That’s why Tim is who he is. So they started to get to know each other and when Victor is slowing down a little, Tim says let’s go.
How is Tim’s calf doing?
JOEL DIAZ: There have been no setbacks. There are experiences in life, both good and bad. In the past we have had a few bad experiences and we learned from the experiences that we had. From that first Pacquiao fight we learned a lot. After the first one I told Tim we have to start going to the gym. He wasn’t walking well and his leg was still hurting and I told him we need to start moving around we have plenty of time to work the leg. And we did. The first week he was hurting and it had been three months that we started training. We started to bring the weight down. We didn’t make the same mistake we made with Provodnikov when he was heavy, even the day of the weigh-in he was having problems making weight for the first time ever in his career so we didn’t want to make that same mistake. So we started really early for two reasons – the weight and his leg. Right now everything is great. He had fun today. He was happy and laughing and having a great time in the gym. Tomorrow we close camp and after tomorrow everything is ready. We rest and take care of the few pounds he has on his back and that’s it. Get ready for the fight. When Tim gets his proper rest, believe me, he’s coming, and someone is going to be in trouble December 13.
How long were you on a vegan diet?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: It’s been since I won the tile in 2009, then I became a vegan and started training vegan. I am not a total vegan. If I wasn’t fighting, I am eating meat. When I am training I switch over to the vegan thing. So I have been doing it for five years. For the Provodnikov fight I was not a vegan and for this fight I am not a vegan. Right now I am not saying I am not going to go back but I am just trying to test the waters.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I feel like I gain more muscle, but it is a little harder to drop the pounds. I will be weighing about 152 pounds tomorrow. Today I weighed about 153. I am consuming more protein because we care about it more now with strength work and interval training, sparring rounds and getting hit on. My muscles need the protein to be able to repair, along with sleep. You can get the protein while on vegan diet, there are supplements to take.
What is your motivation to fight Chaves?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Just coming back and getting into the winning column. Diego Chaves is the type of fighter that you have to get up for. You can’t sleep on him and those are the type of fighters I like to fight. I have been in the game for over 10 years now and I like to be inspired when I fight. I want to feel nervous. I like that nervousness, that’s why I like to fight the best. I want to feel nervous and Diego Chaves is one of those guys where I feel nervous. It keeps me sharp and keeps me training hard and it keeps me focused.
Are there any visa issues with Chaves for this fight?
CARL MORETTI: His visa is still good from the last time he fought and his travel has been done. He arrives into Las Vegas on Sunday morning. All of his medicals are done. We will not have to go through that again.
What did you learn from the Pacquiao fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I went in there with the mindset that I had to knock this guy out in order to win and having that type of mindset threw me off my game. The plan was to outbox Pacquiao and everybody knew it and Pacquiao himself knew it and I didn’t do that. I went straight at him and attacked him. I did have some success attacking him but I think I could have done a lot better if I took my time and tried to outbox him and if it goes to a decision and I lose then that’s fine. If I stayed true to my form and my abilities and did what got me to the top I should have been alright in that ring and been OK. But I didn’t do that and got a little out of my context of what I do. Like in this fight, I’ve just go to do me. Do what got me to the top and continue to do me from here on out. I can’t worry about judges and worry about decisions, just fight the best fight that I possibly can and win the fight and whatever happens after the fight happens, regardless. I have no control over certain things.
Do you think Mayweather-Pacquiao happens and who wins?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Do I think the fight will happen? I think the fight should happen. I don’t know if the fight will happen. Right now is the perfect time because after Pacquiao’s fight with Marquez, the fight with Mayweather kind of went down but now Pacquiao is coming off two great wins, actually three great wins, with myself included. I think he has redeemed himself – he beat two undefeated champions this year, myself and Chris Algieri — and Brandon Rios last year Manny is definitely a big threat in the sport still, still a top dog and I think he will be a threat to Mayweather, I honestly do. I think he can clip Mayweather. I think it’s a 50/50 fight and I think it should happen. We have to wait and see if they can put it together. I think it makes sense. I think the fight does over three million pay-per-view pay-per-view buys and it’s the fight that everybody wants to see and I think its great for boxing.
Do you have a final word on your first Pacquiao fight?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I’m glad it’s over. Manny Pacquiao is one true fighter. He is one of the greats and he will be remembered for a long time. He is a living legend and a fantastic person in and out of the ring. He’s a great fighter and much respect to him and his team.
Joel, do you know the timing schedule for both cards on the 13th?
JOE DIAZ: When I was called they told me they were going to make it possible. They were going to have Victor fighting early, about 5 or 6 o’clock.
If you are in the ring with Victor at 4, the start of that show and Tim is not in the ring till close to 9 PT.
JOEL DIAZ: It shouldn’t be a problem then. If that’s the time and schedule then it shouldn’t be a problem. If that’s the time I will try to be there. I would like to be there with Victor. Since he came here and since I have been working with him, he is showing me what I want. He is showing me my style of fighting and that’s what I want to see. I want to see a new Victor. You are going to see a new Victor inside and outside of the ring.
When do you need to know the timing of the fights?
JOEL DIAZ: By the time we get to Vegas I will know. By Wednesday I will have all of that information.
Tim, how do you feel about Joel being over there for a couple hours?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I am a big boy. I got this, man, no problem. As long as my trainer is back in time to be in my corner and to guide me, I’m good.
Were the two of you in the ring together?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: No, I have my own gym and Victor has his own schedule. We keep out schedules separate but I was able to talk to Victor. He’s a very nice kid, very humble. I learned a lot just from talking to him and he learned a lot from me. We are just trying to help each other. It doesn’t matter that we are in the same weight class, it doesn’t really matter. We are a team now and if he remains part of the team I will never fight Victor Ortiz.
How do you get ready to fight a guy like Chaves who doesn’t even think he is doing anything wrong?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: In training camp we work on things, intangibles that a lot of other fighters don’t even work on. We prepare for every aspect of what the other fighter is bringing. We know he is dirty and we have prepared ourselves for the dirty tactics and the things that he likes to do, we have stuff to alter that. We know what he likes to do – wrap around, scrape the eyes, hit with the elbows – we are ready for all of that. I am ready to alter that and hopefully we have a really good referee in there to take care of the action and to speak to both fighters before we get in there and control the action early on. So then Chaves won’t have the opportunity to get dirty.
Joel will you have to spend a lot of time with the referee to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand?
JOEL DIAZ: We are going to bring it up to the referee. Obviously that is a concern. Chaves has a pattern from the last fight but at the same time, if you look at it, it could work against us or it could work in our favor. This is his third opportunity coming to the United States for a big fight and everybody knows he is a dirty fighter. He might come back with a different mentality, we don’t know but we’ve got to be ready for it. Of course I am going to bring it up to the referee and I’m going to be very aware. In the corner I am going to be very aggressive, not only with the fighters but with the referee. If I see anything that is not right for my fighter, I am always going to be on the ref, every round.
Have you fought a dirty fighter before?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: I really haven’t fought guys that were extremely dirty. I have as an amateur. I have been in the ring sparring with guys that are really dirty. I just keep my composure most of the time. Bring it up to the referee and let him know what he’s doing. If I react, the referee is going to see the retaliation and then he is going to warn me. As long as I stay relaxed and bring awareness to the referee that he is doing this and doing that and as long as he doesn’t get too rough in there so that I don’t have to refrain from doing what I do. I am an eye for an eye type of guy man, and if the referee isn’t doing his job the I have to do my thing. Just like I tell all of the athletes that I work with in football – protect yourself – learn to protect yourself. Diego Chaves isn’t going to like it when I come back at him. I am just going to say that right here, right now. The referee better be a good referee and he better be in control of the match.
On Saturday you are being inducted into The Palm Springs Walk of Stars?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: That is crazy. I was born at a hospital, which is not even a mile away from the spot where I am actually going to be inducted into the Walk of Stars of Palm Springs. I am getting a Golden Palm Star in my name as a humanitarian as well as a professional fighter. It’s amazing and it’s unbelievable. I can’t believe it. Palm Springs is an historic city, very historic. We have a big statue of Marylyn Monroe that just came through that brought many tourists from around the world and they come into Palm Springs because of the great weather in the wintertime and I’m going to be a part of that. They are going to be actually walking on Tim Bradley.
Are there other stars there that catch your eye?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Suzanne Summers, Sonny Bono, Marylyn Monroe – those are the names that I can recall, but it’s huge. It’s a huge deal for me. I’ll be the 377th Star on the Walk. Every Thursday I walk down there and look at the stars and think one day I can do good and do good for the community and earn the respect from all of the people and maybe one day. I was born and raised in North Palm Springs and coming from that type of area and that type of environment is unbelievable. I have a brother and a dad and I am down there with all of those super wealthy people. I am like, ‘You sure you want to put me down there with those people?’
Is Joel next?
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Yes, you see Joel has many more years to accomplish that but for me it’s a short time. Boxing is very short, so I am happy that I got in now. Once my boxing career is over Joel will still be relevant and training many fighters and future world champions,
JOEL DIAZ: My star will be right there where they have Marylyn Monroe’s.
CARL MORETTI: We are all good and really looking forward to next Saturday night. Thanks to HBO, Tecate and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. We have three really intriguing fights that are going to lead to bigger fights in 2015, but they’ve got to win them and that we will find out next Saturday.
JOEL DIAZ: Most of all I want to thank Top Rank and all you guys that make it possible for us to a part of this event – HBO and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and Tim who gives me headaches at times but make is all possible. It’s great being here and being part of this great moment and having Timothy back in the ring again before the end of the year. So we will be great for the holidays and enjoy our families.
TIMOTHY BRADLEY: Joel, you sound like my wife saying I give you headaches, and that’s what I’m supposed to do. It’s part of the business. Thanks to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and thanks to Top Rank and HBO. I want to thank Diego Chaves and his team for taking this fight. I’m looking forward to a great night of boxing on the 13th. I can’t wait to get back in the ring – a lot of people have been waiting on me to get back. I’m excited to get back so tune in to HBO, LIVE, to watch a real fight – Timothy Bradley versus Diego Chaves.