HBO's Portrait of a Fighter features Timothy Bradley, who faces Ruslan Provodnikov on Saturday night.
Timothy Bradley: "I'm fearless and determined. If you believe in yourself, you believe in God, and you really work hard at it, things can happen. I started boxing when I was 10 years old. A friend of mine was boxing at the time, and we liked to goof off and slapbox each other. He said, 'You know, you should come down to the gym and try it out, because you've got some pretty quick hands.' I begged my dad to take me down to the gym."
Ray Bradley: "Three months later, I told Tim, alright, we're gonna do this. But guess what? Once he starts something, he's gonna finish it."
Timothy Bradley: "When I had my first sparring session, I sparred my friend. He beat the crap out of me. I was crying, and bloody nose, busted lip, back of my neck was hurting. It was my first time sparring. He really gave it to me, because I got angry in the ring. After that sparring session, my trainer came up to me, Russell, and he said, 'You can't get angry, because when you get angry, you leave yourself open.' We trained every day. Anywhere we were at, I was there hitting his hands and just training, in the shower, shadowboxing in the shower. Whatever I learned that day in the gym, I was at home practicing it. A few weeks later, get back into the ring, sparred my friend, and he was on the other side. He was crying, had a snotty nose, a bloody nose, a busted lip. It changed my life completely. I just dedicated my life to the sport."
Joel Diaz: "His father plays a big role in the way he is now. His dad made him tough."
Timothy Bradley: "My dad started waking me up at 5:30 in the morning before school, to go run up this tram road in Palm Springs, California. It's a tough, tough road."
Joel Diaz: "His dad would tell him, you're gonna give me 100 pushups. And by the 60th, 70th pushup, he was tired. He could be crying. He never said, you know what, OK, just give me five more. He was sitting or standing right there until he gave that 100 pushups. But everything comes from him growing up, the way he grew up, the rough way, the tough way. That's why he's so hungry to be in this position now."
Timothy Bradley: "The transition from the boxer to the fighter was when I actually turned professional. That's when I had to become a hunter. And what I mean by hunter, is going to the guy, as opposed to backing up. That was something that was implemented through my head trainer, Joel Diaz. He said that I have to be more aggressive, I have to take it to these guys. He showed me how to rough guys up. He showed me all these things that I needed to do to become a complete fighter. When I turned professional, I had to become a hunter."
Joel Diaz: "There's a lot behind the scenes. There's a lot of sacrifice, there's a lot of hard work that people don't see."
Timothy Bradley: "Every fight is dangerous in this game, because it only takes one punch to end a night. Pressure is hard to deal with. I deal with it with my wife, she believes in me. I always talk to God as well. Calm the storm. ... To be honest with you, dude, I'm just thankful that I'm here, man. Sometimes when I hear about suicides, when different athletes or whatever, when it's too much pressure, it's too much, they take their own life, because they can't handle the pressure. It's gotten to a point where I've thought about it. I'm gonna be honest with you. It's passed my mind. Because it's so much pressure on me, man. And I have to win. I have to. Would I ever take my life? No. I would never take my life."
Joel Diaz: "Even when he's dead tired, he never says no or that's it. Never. You can give him all the work you want, you could add work and give him more rounds, anything you want, and he'll never say I'm done, or I'm tired."
Timothy Bradley: "Never take no for an answer. People said to me early on that I was too short for the weight class. I didn't hit hard enough. I wasn't fast enough. They said I didn't have what it took to be a champion. I like to be the underdog. That fires me up."
Joel Diaz: "It's a big adrenaline rush, because I pump him up and he pumps me up. We were born fighters."
Timothy Bradley: "Coming out of the gates from the dressing room, my heart's pumping, my hands are sweaty, my feet are sweaty. I'm thinking about the game plan over and over in my head. Every now and then I get a doubt in my head. I shake it off. 'Nah, that's not gonna happen.' I go out there, I see the lights, I see the ring. There's just so much tension inside of me. I just wanna scream. That's what makes me different from other fighters. I'm willing to go out on my shield, but I'll have some dignity inside, that hey, I gave it everything that I possibly can give."