Campbell takes on Bradley
TAMPA - In the same breath that Nate Campbell described Timothy Bradley's youth as a challenge, he also hinted at its detrimental nature. Tonight, Campbell, 37, will make his debut in the light welterweight division against Bradley, 25, for the young boxer's WBO light welterweight title. "Youth. He's young," Campbell said moments before his sense of humor began to take over. "I like that. I really like that. I really like that." Fans will see for themselves when the title fight airs tonight on Showtime at 9.Campbell's giddiness about facing a younger fighter stems from his March 2008 domination of then-undefeated champion Juan Diaz. In that 12-round split decision victory, Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KOs) lifted the IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight titles from Diaz. Then, Campbell was one day shy of his 36th birthday, while Diaz was 24 and believed to be the boxer with the tools to fend off Campbell. Instead, Campbell never took a step back, beating Diaz to the punch time and again. Tonight's conditions are all too familiar, as the younger Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs) has held two titles and has yet to taste defeat. "Let me tell you something, he'll never learn what I know," said Campbell, a Jacksonville native and former Tampa resident. Bradley also believes youth will play a vital role in the fight, which will be held at the Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif. "I can't dissect him because I have not been in the ring with him," Bradley said. "However, I think that my youth and speed will be huge advantages against him." In April, Campbell sat ringside at Montreal's Bell Centre as Bradley defended his WBO and WBC light welterweight titles against Kendall Holt. That night, although Bradley won by decision, Holt dropped Bradley twice. Don't think Campbell has forgotten that. "He was exposed in a major way," Campbell said. "I just have to go out and do my thing. He's a nice young man, but he's got to fight. "I'm going to fight my fight, and he has to make his mind up if he's going to fight his fight. The realization is, I'm not going anywhere. He can't hurt me." This fight in a sense is a miraculous one for Campbell. In February, he failed to make the 135-pound weight limit against Ali Funeka. Although they still fought, Campbell was stripped of his titles at the scale. The fact Campbell is able to fight for another title in his first time at 140 is rare. "I look back at my life and think nobody understands what it's like to capture your dream and live it," he said. Tonight, he's ready to relive those dreams.
Reporter Eddie Daniels can be reached at (813) 259-7066.