Bradley split comes at inopportune time

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The news that WBO World welterweight champion Tim Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KO’s) recently split from his longterm trainer Joel Diaz was unexpected when it broke earlier this week.

The two have shared over a decade of prosperity together with Bradley becoming a five-time world champion as a result of their combined efforts. The reason(s) for the split are largely unknown, and now Bradley is on the lookout for a new coach to guide his career. And all this just before it was announced he will be defending his title in November against Brandon Rios.

Barry Hunter -trainer of the Peterson brothers Lamont and Anthony- has been personally acquainted with both Bradley and Diaz for a number of years, and he said he was sorry to hear the news when he spoke with Fight

“I’m kind of sad about it because I know both those guys and have relationships with these dudes, and that’s crazy man because that’s a lot of years man, successful years. A lot of times when you make a change like that, if it’s not broke -you know the old saying- don’t try to fix it. When you make changes like that, a lot of times it can be for the worse.”

Hunter then relayed a story pertaining to a ‘certain individual’, a boxer, who was tailor-made for superstardom before he dashed his own opportunity against the rocks by making a similar change to the one Bradley has just made.

“That same dude now nobody even know his name and when they call him, they call him as an opponent.”

Bradley reached and surpassed the cusp years ago, but Hunter’s point still has merit. In an attempt to correct perceived wrongs, Bradley may have made a fatal misstep by altering one of the fundamental keys to his success.

We don’t know if the break occurred as a result of professional dissatisfaction on either part or some kind of personal rift, and Hunter preached prudence for Bradley if the decision was not entirely his own, as Joel Diaz himself has intimated since they parted ways.

“When you make a change like that you have to be very, very careful because it could have just the opposite effect. Now, if something happened that we don’t know [about] as far as those two are concerned and Tim feels as though it was time to make a change, you can’t argue with that. It happens sometimes.”

“But if it was based on somebody getting in your ear, trying to tell you something about this 10-year relationship that has been successful, that can be very, very dangerous. I hope for Tim’s sake that’s not the case.”

Having just won the WBO belt for a second time and still earning towards the top end of the scale, it is difficult to empathise with Bradley’s decision from the outside. There are obviously factors in play here the general public are not aware of.

Diaz for his part has said he will never work with Bradley again and so is left to manage and train his growing stable of fighters.

Bradley now has the unenviable task of finding the right trainer in the next two months to prepare him for the first defence of his belt against Rios. A new voice, new methods and little if any personal chemistry to contend with, as well as the camp and the fight itself. This parting has come at an inopportune time.