Bradley Upsets Witter

By Tom Donelson
Updated: May 11, 2008

GlovesIOWA CITY, Ia. — Timothy Bradley was given an opportunity of a lifetime. A fighter often seen on Showtime SHOBOX series, Bradley was seen more of a prospect as oppose to a true contender.

As Showtime’s Steve Farhood noted, “Bradley was not in my top 10, he would have been listed, maybe, between 15 and 20.”While he managed to become the WBC mandatory challenger, there were still questions on whether Bradley deserved a championship shot.

On this night, Bradley took his undefeated record and fought his most challenging foe, Junior Witter, the WBC junior welterweight champion. He’s one of those awkward fighters who make others look bad and his punches had enough pop to hurt Bradley.

In the early rounds, Witter’s style and quick hands gave him a slight lead in the early rounds. Bradley had trouble getting momentum; Witter grabbed him or popped him with his jab as he moved forward.

Witter changed from a southpaw to orthodox style with ease and this confused Bradley.Going into the sixth round, it looked like a typical Witter fight, a lot of grabbing and confusion. Witter is not the smoothest fighter and Bradley’s straight punches rarely made their mark.

Toward the end of the sixth, Bradley unleashed a round house right hand and as Witter moved straight back, the punch found its target and boom; Witter went down. He beat the count quickly but he was still wobbly. Bradley went for the kill but time ran out and Witter slowly walked back to his corner.

From this point, Bradley changed the pattern of the fight. He pressed the action and occasionally accurately landed his punches.Witter threw less and less punches while appearing satisfied with holding and grabbing to prevent Bradley from inflicting more punishment.

Bradley got stronger and Witter weakened as the fight progressed toward its conclusion. The only drama was the round house right that sent Witter down but it was the punch that changed the course of the fight.

Bradley escaped with a split decision as Witter won on one judge’s card 115-112 but Bradley carried the other two, 115-113 and 114-113. One point was the final difference and that was provided by Bradley right hand. If Bradley does not drop Witter in the sixth, Witter would’ve defended his championship.

For the past several years, Witter fought in the shadow of Ricky “the Hitman” Hatton and often called out his British compatriot. Witter’s goal was to escape Hatton’s shadow by beating him in the ring.

On this night, Witter didn’t show himself as a fighter who could have beaten Hatton as he could not even beat a young fighter like Bradley. At 34, Witter may be moving toward the downside of his career and the dream of facing Hatton endangered.

Witter’s style was and is not aesthetically pleasing and his awkward style often lead to boring fights. And most of this fight was just that, boring. Yet, boxing is one sport in which one moment can redeem an entire whole fight and Bradley right redeemed this fight.

This fight will be remembered for that one right hand and that is the one highlight that will define Bradley’s first championship win. For Bradley, he showed that he was more than just another top 20 fighter but for one night, a championship fighter.

Whether this Bradley’s victory is the harbinger of greater things or simply a flash in the pan, only history will tell. He had one big night, but a fighter’s career is more than just one fight.

As for Witter, he is still one of the best junior Welterweights and there are still plenty of championship belts left to fight for. The real question is whether we are witnessing the end game of a career or simply an upset.