Timothy Bradley Jr. was defeated by legendary welterweight fighter Manny Pacquiao in April. Almost immediately boxing insiders and onlookers wondered what each fighter would no next.
For Pacquiao, who had previously insisted the Bradley fight would be his last, the next chapter was a successful campaign to win election as a senator in his native Philippines, then a comeback tour that will culminate with a fight against Jessie Vargas on November 5. For Bradley, the transition was more seamless, albeit a more significant departure from his prior life.
As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Bradley is currently the defensive backs coach for the La Quinta football team. In fact, he was so sure that he wanted to be involved in high school football that he barged in to the office of La Quinta head coach Dan Armstrong just two days after he was officially dispatched by Pacquiao, asking for any way he could help.
The choice of Bradley as a positional coach is an intriguing one because the legendary boxer has never actually been a football player. Not ever. His entire experience with the sport before this season was limited to a lifetime as a fan and serving as a President of a Cathedral City youth football league. He targeted La Quinta because his stepson competed for the school for the prior two seasons, and Armstrong was happy to get him involved.
The boxer has become comfortable with his role as a motivational speaker who can inspire the teens to push themselves harder in practices and games, all while keeping a keen focus on the game or training session directly in front of them.
“… I’ve got insight from the highest level — what it takes to be prepared,” Bradley told the Times. “I’ve been in the ring with guys a lot more talented than me — taller, more rangey, more punching power. The thing that separated me is that I wanted it more, I worked harder than them. I figured out a way to beat ’em by being me, being gritty. So every day, I’m pushing these guys, telling them, ‘Be you.’ ”
Clearly, the champion’s message is hitting home with some of La Quinta’s key players.
“He’s taught me how to have more intensity. I know better this year, I’m focused,” (La Quinta star sophomore running back Derrick) Kennedy said. “Coach Bradley knows how to become a champion. When I don’t want to, he makes me go extra. It’s not easy, it’s tiring, but it’s what it takes.”