By Kieran Mulvaney
Boxing fans know well the kind of fighter Timothy Bradley is. They know the undefeated former 140-lbs champ has taken out a solid list of opponents, and that he is a legitimate and potentially dangerous foe for Manny Pacquiao on June 9. To the more casual observer of the sport, however, Bradley’s name is not well-known, if it is known at all; and so, for those who are looking to find out more about the Pacman’s latest opponent, here are five things you should know:
His nickname is 'Desert Storm'
Although he was not in the military, the moniker is part homage to the military ethic, as well as an acknowledgment of his origins. "I just wanted a name that would stick. I'm from the desert down here in Palm Springs [California] … I wasn't in the military, but mentally and the way I train, I train like I was in the military -- a lot of discipline."
He started boxing at age 10
"I was always fighting in the street, you know, fighting in school," he has said. A friend suggested he take up boxing, and Bradley pestered his dad to drive him to the local boxing gym. His father resisted, believing that his son wouldn't show the requisite degree of dedication, until he finally relented; subsequently, Bradley Sr. took over junior’s training throughout his amateur career.
He has been a professional for almost eight years
After approximately 150 amateur contests, including fights against the likes of Andre Ward and Andre Berto, he turned professional at age 20 with a second round knockout of Francisco Martinez.
He won his first world title the hard way – on foreign soil
On May 10, 2008, he went to Nottingham, England to take on local favorite Junior Witter for the WBC 140-lbs title. He was a 6-1 underdog, but knocked the champ down en route to winning a split decision. The following year, he recovered from two knockdowns of his own (the only times he has been on the canvas as a professional) to take the WBO belt from Kendall Holt.
He is a vegan. Sometimes
For three months leading up to a fight, Bradley adopts a vegan diet, an approach he first tried before the Witter bout. He told the Wall Street Journal in February that during that time, "My thoughts are clearer, crisp. I am sharp. Everything is working perfectly—I feel clean. It's a weird feeling, man. It's just a weird feeling."