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Boxer admits he was close to suicide after defeat

James Tonks

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Former world champion Timothy Bradley has revealed the heartache he suffered after BEATING Manny Pacquiao in their first fight. Despite getting the win on paper, Bradley was adjudged to have been on the receiving end of a gift decision – not that it was his fault. The resulting backlash about the result drove him close to suicide.

Such was the pressure leading up to the bout, Tim feared for the outcome.

Speaking in an interview with Fair Game, Bradley confessed: “I’m not gonna lie, I was scared.”

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It appeared at the final bell of the initial 2012 Las Vegas clash that Manny’s precision punching from the southpaw stance had garnered him another victory. Judges Duane Ford and CJ Ross both went for Bradley at 115-113, with Jerry Roth totalling the same score in Pacquiao’s favour. Tim won a split, claiming Pacman’s WBO welterweight title on a headline HBO Pay-Per-View attraction.

What should’ve been a momentous moment in “Desert Storm’s” career was overshadowed by the manner of victory. Harsh fans both online and off criticised him as a fraud; a fake champion who should hand the belts back. Bradley felt he had worked hard, fought hard, and done enough to earn his raised hand. The crunch point for Bradley’s mental health came when he received death threats. At that point the Palm Springs puncher considered taking his own life.

Luckily, Tim battled through those dark thoughts. Fighting Pacquiao a further two times, he lost on both occasions but acquitted himself well. Bradley’s last fight was in April 2016 when he boxed the Filipino for the third time, losing a unanimous decision in Las Vegas. During a 37-bout career that spanned 12 years, Bradley won world titles in two weight classes. British fans may well remember the night he took Junior Witter’s WBC super-welterweight title in Nottingham, 2008.

Tim also boxed the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez, Joel Casamayor, Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell. He was the first man to beat Devon Alexander (21-0 when they fought), Jessie Vargas (26-0) and Lamont Peterson (27-0). His 2013 victory over Ruslan Provodnikov is often recalled as a modern classic. The punishment Bradley took on the way to the win may have knocked a couple of years off his career.

Ridiculous threats and name calling did not stop this proud champion from fulfilling his goals. “After the decision all hell broke loose. People laughed at me, people telling me to give back the belt,” he explained.

Having hung up the gloves three years ago, Bradley is now a successful, articulate analyst on ESPN boxing.

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