When Timothy Bradley Jr. faced Manny Pacquiao two years ago and won an outrageous split decision and a welterweight belt in one of the worst calls in boxing history, Bradley himself knew that he did not fight as well as he is capable of.
Although Bradley insists that he rightfully won the fight -- saying that he thought it was 8-4 in rounds in his favor -- he has blamed his uneven (to be nice) performance on the fact that he injured both of his feet during the fight.
Now, as he prepares for the rematch on April 12 (HBO PPV) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Bradley has said repeatedly that the reason he injured his feet is because he didn’t wear socks for the fight.
Say what? Yeah, it’s true.
“It was something I practiced during my training camp,” Bradley told HBO’s Jim Lampley during an interview on the network’s telecast of last Saturday night’s Sergey Kovalev-Cedric Agnew fight. “I’m a big fan of Mike Tyson and I was reading some Mike Tyson stories, and I read in one of the stories that he didn’t wear socks and I was puzzled by that, so I tried it out in training camp and it worked out very well. It felt really natural.
“So I figured, hey, let’s try it in this big fight, and it ended up backfiring on me. The ring was spongy. The ring was very soft and very bouncy, and it really allowed my feet inside of my shoes to really move around, and I didn’t have the support that I actually needed to be able to hang with Pacquiao’s speed.”
Freddie Roach, Pacquiao's trainer, has said he hopes Bradley won’t have any excuses when Pacquiao wins this time. Perhaps partly as a mind game and certainly partly as a PR stunt, Roach had a box of socks sent to Bradley at his gym during his media day on Thursday along with a letter busting Bradley’s chops over sockgate:
“I have been reading your recent interviews with great interest, especially your explanation on how your feet were injured during your first fight with Manny Pacquiao. Is it really your feetal position that these injuries occurred because you did not wear socks?
“Though many members of the media think this excuse sounds like a hose job, I for one do believe you. To me, you are boxing’s No. 1 sox symbol. Please think of me not as your arch nemesis but as your sole supporter. I hope the enclosed gift helps with the heeling process.
“Sincerely, Freddie Roach”
At least when Bradley’s feet were hurt, he didn’t quit. He socked it up and kept fighting.