BRADLEY: learning experience in his last fight.
Chumash casino resort, Santa Ynez, CA, Feb. 2
Graham's Odds: 
Bradley -200; Garnica +160
Over 7.5 -195; under 7.5 +165

Timothy “Desert Storm" Bradley struggled a bit in his last fight although he got the win over Colombian southpaw Jamie Rangel. It was a learning experience for the 23-year-old light-welterweight from the Coachella desert country in California. He even got staggered, but he was well in front on points when the fight ended on a technical decision in the eighth and last round due to the Colombian suffering a cut in a clash of heads.

Fights like this are all part of a young boxer’s ring education. I got the impression that Bradley was simply trying too hard in the fight with Rangel. I think we might see a steadier, more controlled performance on Friday when Bradley, in his second ShoBox appearance in a row, meets crafty Mexican veteran Manuel Garnica in an eight-rounder.

Garnica had six years away from boxing because he was in a well-paid job — and apparently a bit disillusioned after losing an unpopular decision to former world champ John John Molina — but he decided to give the sport another try and has surely lived up to his own expectations. After losing on a cut-eye stoppage in Mexico, he pulled off a big upset by boxing rings round the former 140-pound champ Carlos Maussa. He nearly upset the odds again when giving the highly ranked Juan Lazcano all sorts of problems before losing a split decision in a fight that many believed Garnica had won.

This is the toughest test so far for Bradley, a former national amateur champion who has won 17 bouts in a row. Garnica is tough, smart and tricky, adept at keeping out of trouble and stealing points by fighting in spurts.

Bradley is going to have to be careful not to get frustrated when he is made to miss. Garnica is capable of messing anyone around, and Bradley has certainly no one like the 32-year-old from Guadalajara. Still, Bradley has to be the favourite. He is the younger, stronger man and the stiffer puncher. If he keeps the pressure on Garnica and concentrates on hitting the target rather than trying to blast his man out, he should be okay. If Bradley is going places, this is the sort of fight he really ought to be able to win and I expect him to do so.

Last Updated: 
January 30, 2007 - 2:09pm