Timothy Bradley (26-0, 11 KOs) made a successful welterweight debut tonight (July 17) on HBO by outclassing Luis Carlos Abregu (29-1, 23 KOs) to a unanimous decision.
Bradley’s dome-leading tactics backfired in the 1st when a head-clash opened a small cut on the 140 pound titlist. But Bradley maintained his composure kept Abregu off-balance by doubling up his jab. Towards the end of the round, Bradley briefly stunned his foe with a sharp right hand.
The second round saw Bradley hurt Abregu again, this time with an overhand right counter. But Bradley’s momentum was stifled when he received a stern warning from the ref for butts. Abregu asserted himself more in the third and caught Bradley with a solid straight right. But Bradley was still the more active fighter and looking to land combinations whenever Abregu attempted to lead.
The fourth was a close round where each fighter landed significant blows. Bradley left-hand jabs where an eye catcher, snapping back Abregu’s head with regularity. But the referee seemed to rattle him with constant warnings of fouls, and Abregu made his own case for winning the round with several clean straight rights.
Rounds five and six were all Bradley. The junior welterweight titlist punished Abregu with left hook counters, but Bradley utilized the right hand enough to keep his opponent guessing on the next offensive outburst.
A Bradley hook to the body earned him knockdown in round seven, a shot that Abregu complained was from another headbutt. The Desert Storm pushed for a TKO with a whirlwind of combinations, but Abregu hung tough and survived another round.
Going into the championship rounds the new weight of 147 pounds began to take a visible toll on Bradley. Normally resilient and active for entire fights at 140, Bradley was now laboring and looking to fight in spots to slow his fatigue. Abregu limited speed and lesser athleticism prevented him from entirely taking advantage of this opening. In the ninth, Bradley crashed him multiple left hook counters in addition to beautifully slipping punches with upper body movement and a low guard.
Bradley continued the trend in the 10th and final round to earn a well-deserved unanimous decision by scores of 118-110, 116-112, and 117-111.
In the post-fight interview Bradley was very vocal in calling out Manny Pacquiao and Marcos Maidana for fights. He also expressed satisfaction in being able to take clean shots from a welterweight.
“I’m making a challenge right now, baby. Manny Pacquiao, come break down this wall, baby,” Bradley told HBO’s Max Kellerman. “I challenge Manny Pacquiao at 147 pounds. Any of the top guys out there. Especially you, Devon Alexander. If everything is alright, if the money is right, I’ll fight you next. You Devon, Maidana, and Khan. I’ll fight all of them. I’m a throwback fighter, baby, I’ll fight all of them.”
HBO commentator Max Kellerman had some harsh words for Amir Khan, who feels has been a protected fighter since suffering a 1st round knockout in 2008. The UK fighter holds the WBA junior welterweight strap, and Bradley still has the WBO belt. A unification bout should be a no-brainer since both fighters have had recent bouts on HBO.
But no-brainers are rarely followed in boxing, a sport where politics and promoter short-sightedness abound. In the lead up to Juan Diaz-Juan Manuel Marquez II on July 31, Golden Boy promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has alluded to Amir Khan fighting the winner. Both guys are natural lightweights would face a significant size disadvantage against Khan.
The junior welterweigtht class has three prime fighters in Timothy Bradley, Devon Alexander, and Amir Khan. And if Manny Pacquiao returns to defend his linear title, it adds to the division arguably the biggest star in boxing.
The beginning of 2011 should be kicked off with some combination of these men facing each other. The time for “showcase bouts” is over.
On the undercard, Alfredo Angulo (19-1, 16 KOs) completely annihilated Joachim Alcine (32-2, 19 KOs) via a first round TKO. Alcine was able to land punches, but was not match for the stronger Angulo who just walked through him.