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Three Punch Combo: Tim Bradley’s IBHOF Credentials, Ryota Murata and More

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  • Three Punch Combo: Tim Bradley’s IBHOF Credentials, Ryota Murata and More

    Click image for larger version  Name:	bradley.PNG Views:	1 Size:	459.7 KB ID:	14456

    By Matt Andrzejewski

    THREE PUNCH COMBO -- A seemingly innocuous tweet from ESPN’s Dan Rafael last week sparked quite a debate on social media. Rafael’s tweet read “Happy 36th birthday today to future Hall of Famer @Timbradleyjr!!!” Some fans voiced support in calling Bradley a future Hall of Famer and others strongly disagreed with Rafael’s assumption that Bradley is a lock for Canastota. So is Bradley in fact a Hall of Famer?

    There is no disputing that Tim Bradley was a very accomplished fighter. He won world titles at 140 and 147. He scored wins against two legends in Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez and was the first man to defeat Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander.

    Bradley’s resume goes further than just those aforementioned wins. In 2013 he won a 12-round unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in one of the best action fights of the decade. Four years earlier, Bradley climbed off the deck twice to win a unanimous decision over power punching Kendall Holt in a 140-pound unification fight.

    Critics of Bradley’s Hall of Fame credentials are quick to point out that most ring observers thought he was gifted a decision in his first fight against Manny Pacquiao. And they also point out that his split decision win over Marquez was a fight that could have gone either way. If those two wins are taken away, the critics argue, the quality of Bradley’s resume takes a major hit.

    To add some clarification to the Bradley debate, I’d like to do a side by side comparison of his resume with that of a Hall of Famer. The Hall of Fame fighter needs to have fought around the same weight class as Bradley and generally around a similar era. And the best fit that I could find is Kostya Tszyu.

    First the basic numbers. Tszyu finished with a record of 31-2, 25 KO’s. Bradley’s record was 33-2-1, 13 KO’s. Tszyu was a two-time champion in the 140-pound division. His record in world title fights was 15-2, 11 KO’s. As mentioned earlier, Bradley won world titles at 140 and 147. His record in title fights was 11-2, 2 KO’s. Both Tszyu and Bradley unified title belts in the 140-pound weight division.

    As far as resume goes, both fought and defeated many world class opponents. There really isn’t much that separates the two except when looking at the top end. Bradley’s official record shows wins against surefire Hall of Famers Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez. Tszyu’s defining win was his 2001 second round stoppage of Jab Judah to unify titles at 140. And Tszyu does have one win against a Hall of Famer in Julio Cesar Chavez. But that win took place in 2000 when Chavez was clearly a shopworn fighter.

    When I saw the social media debate on Bradley’s Hall of Fame candidacy this week, I started my own research with an open mind. The final results are crystal clear. In fact, in my opinion, Bradley’s overall accomplishments are not only on par with Tszyu, but may actually be slightly better.

    There is no question Tim Bradley has Hall of Fame credentials and should go into the Hall the first year he is eligible.

    Now What’s Next for Ryota Murata?

    It was no secret in boxing circles that Ryota Murata (15-2, 12 KO’s) was set to defend his WBA middleweight title against Jeff Horn later this year. But those plans came crashing down when Michael Zerafa shockingly stopped Horn in the ninth round of their scheduled 12-round fight this past weekend in Australia. So now what are Murata’s options?

    Michael Zerafa (27-3, 16 KO’s)

    I will start with the obvious. The win over Horn vaulted Michael Zerafa to number six in the WBA rankings at middleweight and in line to fight for their title belt.

    Prior to last year, Zerafa was best known for getting knocked out by Peter Quillin in 2015. In that fight, Zerafa was utterly outclassed.

    But last year, Zerafa gave Kell Brook a much tougher than expected challenge in dropping a twelve-round decision to the former welterweight champion. That performance helped earn Zerafa the date with Horn and his upset of Horn surely puts him in line for something much bigger.

    Zerafa is certainly a much better fighter than the one that fought Quillin in 2015, but he wouldn’t have anywhere near Horn’s box office drawing power. Zerafa will get a look but may be too risky for the potential reward for Murata.

    Liam Smith (28-2-1, 16 KO’s)

    Smith would need to first get ranked by the WBA at middleweight. But given the recent history of the WBA, if those involved want a Murata-Smith fight, then getting Smith into the rankings won’t be too big an issue.

    Smith is a bigger name and bigger draw than Zerafa. He is well known in the UK and is also well-known to U.S. fight fans due to his admirable performances on U.S. soil in world title losses to Canelo Alvarez and Jaime Munguia. Add to it that Smith probably represents a little less risk to Murata than Zerafa. If I had to take a guess, I would venture to say that Smith probably gets the first call from Team Murata about making a fight later this year.

    David Papot (22-0-1, 3 KO’s)

    The idea behind a Horn-Murata fight was that Horn’s box office appeal would ultimately help boost Murata’s career. With that box office appeal off the table, Murata’s team may opt for more of a stay-busy type defense while waiting for another big opportunity to develop. And Papot, ranked 10th by the WBA at middleweight, would make sense.

    Papot, who fought James McGirt to a 12-round draw in June, is a solid fighter, but he’s not a big puncher and has some noticeable holes in his defense. He probably wouldn’t pose much a threat to Murata. If Murata’s team opts for a stay-busy type fight, Papot is probably the most likely opponent.

    Under The Radar Fight

    The action will be light this week. In the U.S., the highlight is a Golden Boy card on Thursday from The Belasco Theater in Los Angeles that will be streamed live on Facebook Watch. The card is headlined by a crucial 122-pound crossroads fight between recent world title challengers Azat Hovhannisyan (17-3, 14 KO’s) and Franklin Manzanilla (18-5, 17 KO’s).

    Both Hovhannisyan and Manzanilla recently fought WBC 122-pound champion Rey Vargas. Hovhannisyan lost a hard-fought decision to Vargas in May of 2018. Manzanilla gave Vargas a scare, dropping him in the second round of their fight this past February, before ultimately dropping the decision. Now Hovhannisyan and Manzanilla will square off with the winner poised to be right back in line for another title shot.

    Hovhannisyan is a classic brawler. He knows only one way to fight and that is by coming forward, constantly applying pressure while throwing punches. He is the type of fighter who is willing to take a few shots just to create an opportunity to land one of his own. He may not be a big puncher but is heavy handed; his punches take a toll on his opponent as the fight progresses.

    Manzanilla is more of a boxer-puncher. He likes to work behind the left jab and set up his power shots behind that punch. As his record indicates, Manzanilla is a big-time puncher. In particular, he possesses a thunderous left hook that can instantly change the course of a fight.

    These two are evenly matched at this stage in their careers and stylistically mesh well for what should be a very entertaining scrap.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    No to Bradley in the IBHOF.

    Best thing he ever did was decision JMM.

    He got beat three times by Manny.

    The rest was generally entertaining but not "great".

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by KO Digest View Post
      No to Bradley in the IBHOF.

      Best thing he ever did was decision JMM.

      He got beat three times by Manny.

      The rest was generally entertaining but not "great".
      It was quite an interesting debate on social media that transpired last week. I followed along and then thought it best to do a deep dive to make my own determination in regards to Bradley's HOF credentials. And I came away with the opinion, after examining his resume and looking at other comparable fighters that are in the Hall, that there was no doubt in my mind that Bradley should be enshrined

      But yes the Manny trilogies were pointed out quite often by those opposing Bradley's HOF credentials.

      Comment


      • #4
        And Bradley retired too soon.

        Before he could ever (finally) beat Manny.

        Or add a couple/few more key wins to his record. If Bradley had actually beaten Manny (in let's say their final fight) and then gone on to do something memorable at welterweight, I think his case would be much better. Beyond mere accomplishments I doubt Timothy Bradley ever connected with the greater sporting public in a way that truly warrants Hall of Fame inclusion.

        Nice guy and good on the microphone though.

        Comment


        • Kid Blast
          Kid Blast commented
          Editing a comment
          Bradley did not beat Pac and every sane boxing fan knows that---even Bradley knows that. He also needs to tone down his "excitement" on the mike. But good point Jeffrey.
          Last edited by Kid Blast; 09-05-2019, 01:41 PM.

      • #5
        In my mind, Bradley is a borderline Hall of Famer, falling just a wee bit short in terms of what he accomplished in the ring.

        However, in my mind, a borderline Hall of Famer can get over the hump if he continues to give back to the sport after he retires. So I would have no issue with Bradley going into the IBHOF.

        His resume stacks up well with Tszyu, but Tszyu in his prime was on a higher pedestal. Other boxers would stop what they were doing to watch Tszyu work out in the gym, even if he was only skipping rope.

        Comment


        • #6
          Love Tim Bradley. Gutsy kid and a class act. Not Hall of Fame worthy, however.

          Comment


          • #7
            I think by Tweeting an affirmation of his own IBHOF vote in favor of Tim Bradley, Big Dan is doing two things. First he is reminding anyone and everyone who cares that not only is he himself (Rafael) worthy of future HOF consideration but that he's an active voter as well (unlike we the BWAA auxiliary crew) which brings me to the second thing I think he (Dan) is doing which is trying to be like gatekeeper journo Ron Borges is in football; an influential writer/voter who is the key to any player's induction. If Ron says a guy is HOF worthy the other writers jump on his back and get it done. Dan would lIke you to jump on his back and either argue in favor of or (if you're in the secret handshake club) vote for Bradley. They must be buddies. Speaking of football I'm going to The Patriots opening game night on Sunday. Maybe I'll see my boy Ron. Surely he will be there to cover another championship banner being raised and the incredible career of 42 year-old GOAT QB Tom Brady. He gets a wing at the Hall!

            Comment


            • Kid Blast
              Kid Blast commented
              Editing a comment
              The last thing I would ever want to do in this world is jump on Dan's large back. Ugh! And the day he gets into the Hall will be the day I say adios amigos to boxing.

              Fortunately, as a part of a small committee of historians, I get to vote and I treat that privilege as a dear one always trying to be objective as possible. I will never, ever "follow the crowd." Borges is a very fine writer in my view.
              Last edited by Kid Blast; 09-05-2019, 01:42 PM.

          • #8
            Originally posted by ArneK. View Post
            In my mind, Bradley is a borderline Hall of Famer, falling just a wee bit short in terms of what he accomplished in the ring.

            However, in my mind, a borderline Hall of Famer can get over the hump if he continues to give back to the sport after he retires. So I would have no issue with Bradley going into the IBHOF.

            His resume stacks up well with Tszyu, but Tszyu in his prime was on a higher pedestal. Other boxers would stop what they were doing to watch Tszyu work out in the gym, even if he was only skipping rope.
            By that logic, guys who went bad after having been inducted should be taken out. Jake Lamotta should be removed? Bowe should never have been inducted? Bradley had a fine career but almost got KOd by Vargas and was saved by the referee's mistake. If he is on the ballot, I will have to really ponder his getting in. One thing I know for sure. His "win" over Pac was a loss. Still, I agree that he is borderline.
            Last edited by Kid Blast; 09-05-2019, 01:45 PM.

            Comment


            • #9
              Whoa there. In questioning my logic, your logic is faulty. Just because we give a borderline HOFer a few more points for contributing to the sport after his career is done doesn't mean we would remove anyone for screwing up. If we took out everyone currently in the Hall who went bad, we would create a lot of room for new inductees. Let's not do that.

              Comment


              • Kid Blast
                Kid Blast commented
                Editing a comment
                Hmmmm. Ok. I see your point but now lets make it apples to apples. You have, lets say, a borderline situation. Let's say Vinny Paz is involved but he also got into some domestic stuff If I'm not mistaken. Using your spurious logic, that could work against him. Point: What a boxer does in the ring should be the ONLY basis on which to nominate for induction. Nothing else. Otherwise, it's way too subjective and the more subjective it gets, the more there is a likelihood for mistakes.
                Last edited by Kid Blast; 09-05-2019, 07:41 PM.

            • #10
              Bradley beat a Hall of Famer in JMM.

              If beating one gets you in, what about Tommy Morrison?

              Comment


              • Kid Blast
                Kid Blast commented
                Editing a comment
                JMM was totally shop worn at the time with an injured leg. As for Tommy, I can see him on par with Tim. Beating. Foreman was a major thing. And his record was very good as was his KO percentage. But beating a sure shot Hall f Famer DOES NOT mean inclusion. Otherwise, make room for the now exposed Horn. This is fun.
                Last edited by Kid Blast; 09-05-2019, 07:42 PM.

            • #11
              Tommy had the fame (and the crazy life story) to get in!

              Comment


              • Kid Blast
                Kid Blast commented
                Editing a comment
                He just might. It would be borderline.

            • #12
              Every year I attend HOF weekend in Canastota. And every year since I have been going I have seen Mickey Ward there interacting with fans, promoting the sport and the Hall of Fame.

              This past year, my wife asked me when we would see Ward get inducted. My initial reaction was that he had a solid career but does not have anywhere close to a HOF resume. She then pointed to him and said doesn't what he is doing now as well as every years since we have been going count for something. I thought about it and agreed she did have a point.

              I do think current and former fighters who go above and beyond in promoting the sport in a positive way should get credit, yes potential HOF credit, for doing so. This is a unique sport and the criteria to get enshrined is unlike that of any other sport. Arturo Gatti does not have the greatest resume but was a first ballot HOF because of how the level of excitement of his fights (even though he lost quite a few of those bouts).

              But all that aside, Bradley's ring resume in my opinion in more than enough to get him in the Hall. Take out the Pac fights and look at who he fought and when he fought them. This guy is a slam dunk Hall of Famer.

              Comment


              • Kid Blast
                Kid Blast commented
                Editing a comment
                Arghhh eragh

            • #13
              Does Bradley's IBHOF slam dunk break the backboard? 🏀

              Comment

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