Bradley 'willing to die' for title in one of cable's big bouts

10/12/2009 13:26
As 2009 comes to a close, the premium cable channels are closing strong and chock full of significant matchups:

•Timothy Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs) doesn't shy away from tough opponents. He'll have one in Lamont Peterson (27-0, 13 KOs) on Showtime (9 p.m. ET/PT).

"I'm willing to die Saturday; I'm willing to die for that title," said Bradley, who holds a major belt at junior welterweight and will be fighting near his hometown in Palm Springs, Calif. "I've got to have it.

"I know I'm going to hell and back to get it because Lamont Peterson is a great fighter. It's my time, and I'm willing to die Saturday night for that title."

Bradley has emerged as a major player at 140 this year. He rose from two knockdowns to win a decision from Kendall Holt in April. He then appeared headed to a dominant win vs. former lightweight king Nate Campbell in August, but the third-round technical knockout was changed to a no-contest after TV footage showed a head butt caused the cut that stopped it.

Manny Pacquiao won the lineal title at this weight class in May by knocking out Ricky Hatton. But his last fight was at welterweight, and he appears headed to another 147-pound superfight in early 2010 with Floyd Mayweather.

That would leave the junior welterweight field wide open for Bradley. "Will I ever get a chance to fight Manny Pacquiao? Probably not," Bradley said. "I've had it in my heart for a long time I wanted to fight these guys (Pacquiao and Mayweather), but I've let that go."

On the televised undercard will be Vic Darchinyan, returning after failing in a bid to win a major belt at bantamweight (118) in July, vs. Tomas Rojas (32-11-1, 22 KOs) in a super flyweight title bout (115). Darchinyan (32-2-1, 26 KOs) had unified the three major belts at 115 before moving up.

HBO's card (10:15 p.m. ET) featuring Juan Diaz's rematch and Victor Ortiz's return is about rebounding for these junior welterweights.

Diaz (35-5, 17 KOs) must show he can win on neutral ground against Paulie Malignaggi (26-3, 5 KOs) in Chicago. In August, Diaz received a disputed but unanimous decision in his hometown of Houston. One judge gave Diaz 10 of the 12 rounds.

Ortiz (24-2-1, 19 KOs), once considered the sport's hottest prospect, must recover from quitting in the sixth round in his first bout as the headliner. He'll face veteran Antonio Diaz (46-5-1, 29 KOs), who is on a seven-fight win streak.

After the live bouts, HBO will air Vitali Klitschko's title bout with Kevin Johnson (22-0, 9 KOs) from Switzerland on tape-delay. Klitschko (38-2, 37 KOs) owns one of the three major belts.

Next up, Klitschko:

According to promoter Dan Goossen, Eddie Chambers will challenge Wladimir Klitschko in the first quarter of 2010 for the heavyweight title in Germany. Chambers (35-1, 18 KOs) has been impressive since his only loss last year to Alexander Povetkin. He's lighter and on a five-fight win streak, including an upset of then-unbeaten Alexander Dimitrenko in Germany.

Dallas appears out:

Promoters of the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight canceled a trip to Dallas on Wednesday. Mayweather's promoter apparently decided he didn't want the March 13 bout at Cowboys Stadium.