Tim Bradley will be 32 years old in August, has been in some wars, but is adamant that he can still fight and is on top of his game. He hopes to show the world this when he takes on Jessie Vargas this Saturday on HBO. But Bradley is also looking towards the future and his life after boxing (something more fighters should do), and has some specific goals in mind before leaving the ring for the final time - namely winning a fifth world championship belt and building a strong enough resume to make the Hall of Fame.
The winner of Bradley-Vargas tomorrow night will get an interim WBO title, and could possibly be promoted to full titleholder after July 3rd - the deadline imposed by the WBO on Floyd Mayweather to make a decision after defeating Manny Pacquiao last month. Floyd has until that day to decide if he wants to pay the WBO's sanctioning fee to keep (or finally receive) their welterweight title belt. If Mayweather does so, he'll be forced to vacate his two junior middleweight titles since the WBO doesn't allow it's titleholders to have belts in multiple weight classes at the same time. That rule probably really grinds Mayweather's gears and I'd bet he rather leave the WBO belt than have them dictate terms to him. This is Floyd Mayweather after all.
But for Bradley, it's not only about the glory of winning titles, he also has some financial goals in mind so that when he retires he'll never have to come back to fight. Should everything go according to plan, Bradley would like to walk away two years from now when his contract with Top Rank expires.
"I start preparing for my next fight and I feel I can still do this," Bradley said. "I can still fight. I'm still fighting at the top level. I still got it. That being said, if I meet my goal financially then I might just hang 'em up. I have to meet my goal financially and make sure the family is set for the rest of our lives and I am happy. I think I can do that in two years.
"I don't want to state my goal because I don't want people to know my business but I want to not have to come back to the ring because I'm making enough money monthly to do what I want, go on vacation twice a month if I want and still pay the bills and send the kids to college."
Vacationing twice a month sure sounds like a permanent vacation to me, so clearly I'm not ballin' like Bradley expects to, but I admire the guy for having a vision and his priorities set. With Bradley thinking about life after boxing, Bob Arum says he's even helping Bradley get into announcing so he can stay in the sport even after fighting. Bradley currently works as an analyst on Top Rank's truTV series.
"We're trying to get him involved in announcing so he can stay in the sport," Arum said. "It's a tough, tough sport. I think once these guys like Bradley accumulate what they feel is enough money, it's good to walk away. You don't want them to get hurt, you [don't] want them to have any kind of damage that affects him in later life. So I would encourage him when he feels he's made enough to hang up the gloves."
However sweet a gig that would be for Bradley to maintain after his own career is up, Bradley firmly has his eyes set on the prize of making the HOF. Can he accomplish that within two years? It's possible. But Bradley has certainly made some audacious statements about doing so, saying he's willing to go up to 154 and even 160 for a fight with Golovkin to solidify his resume. He may in fact be serious in that declaration, but I'm going to take it as good-natured hyperbole.
At this point in his career Tim has won four belts, but has a new son, and desperately wants a fifth to manifest his vision for Christmas greeting cards this winter.
"I'm a two-division world champion but I've got four world championships," he said. "This will be the fifth. I'm going for five. I'm excited because this belt is for my newborn son. I got a vision in mind of what I want my Christmas card to look like.
"I want all my kids wearing a strap. I'm envisioning that in my head and that's going to make me fight even harder."
Fighting hard has never been an issue for Tim. Best of luck to you.