The longtime partnership between WBO World welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and head trainer Joel Diaz came to a bitter end on Wednesday when Bradley asked his ex-trainer in a private meeting if he trained him for his last fight for nothing more than a paycheck.
“Everything happens for a reason,” Diaz said exclusively to Fight Hype.com. “There’s better things for us, better things for us, and better things for me probably.”
Bradley looked phenomenal in defeating Jessie Vargas to claim the then interim belt in June. The 32-year-old was upgraded to “World” champion status after Floyd Mayweather was stripped of his title.
After one of the finest performances of Bradley’s career to date, that was the last thing Diaz expected to hear, and his feelings were hurt.
“It just caught me off guard. I put so much work with him, as well as him. We built this together,” he added.
However, Diaz is ready to move on and is going to use Bradley’s decision as motivation for the rest of his stable.
“It gives me the motivation to keep working. I got a lot of fighters. I got a great stable.”
Bradley said that one of the reasons why he cut ties with Diaz was because he would leave training camp on some occasions to be with other fighters.
Diaz explained that his other fighters are just as important to him as Bradley is and for him to get upset and leave is selfish on his part.
“If it bothered him just saying that I was leaving him for a couple days or a day during camp to go with my fighters, I just think that’s being a little selfish because every trainer in the world does that.
“As a trainer, you got to maintain your job. And that’s my job.”
Diaz explained that Bradley may not be entirely responsible for the breakup.
“I don’t blame him. He’s got too much people around him that are telling him what’s right and wrong and tension was already there.”
Former title contender James Kirkland (32-2, 28 KO’s) is known for his power inside the ring, as well as his troubles outside of the ring When Kirkland trains under the military type training of Ann Wolfe, Kirkland comes into the ring looking like the beast from the Northeast.
However, he has notably ditched Wolfe twice. In both instances, he ended up staring at the ceiling.
Diaz wants no part if Bradley comes back to him.
“I have too much pride in myself,” Diaz said. “There’s no return from my part because he already touched a point that he shouldn’t have touched. I know it wasn’t him.”
“As bad as it hurts, I take that really deep into consideration and honestly I’m going to put my foot on the ground. I hope he does well. He’s a great person. He’s very smart.”
“The only way I will go back and work with Bradley will be if he changes his entire team and lets me run the show the way I used to when we started together. I was the leader of the pack, and I was always the one driving the bus. Now, there’s a lot of drivers in his bus.”
In a separate interview with ESPN, Diaz blamed Bradley’s wife Monica, who also serves as her husband’s manager.
“After his last fight, I have not heard from Tim at all. He never answered my calls or anything,” Diaz said. “Then last week, he came to the gym. He said he wanted to talk to me. I said, ‘What’s going on?’ What he said was his manager had other plans, and I am not part of those plans. He tried to make some excuses like I was doing something wrong. I said, ‘I’ve known you for a long time, you’re like my brother, but right now it’s out of your control. Your wife took over your career.’
Diaz was still bitter when legendary Teddy Atlas was mentioned as a potential replacement by Luis Sandoval of Fight Hype.
“I don’t care. I know it’s not going to work. In order for anybody to work with Bradley, they need to adapt to every single person around Bradley,” he explained.
“I would honestly recommend for Bradley to let his father train him.” I think his father is the best person for him at this point in his career.”
Diaz admits that he saw the breakup coming at least four fights ago, but the saddle snapped leading up to the Diego Chaves fight.
“I remember when he fought Diego Chaves, everybody else had control over Bradley except me,” Diaz said. “Even going to his room to check up on him, I had to go through so many people. I didn’t have no authority whatsoever.”
“In a way, I feel relieved. Now I can focus on other fighters and make more champions.”