Nutritional sacrifices get Bradley in fighting mood

By Lyle Fitzsimmons | CBSSports.com

After three months of sacrifice, Timothy Bradley is raring to go.

Oh sure, there's a fight with Manny Pacquiao this weekend in Las Vegas that he hopes he wins because of what it'll do for his future career prospects. But within just a few hours of the final bell at the MGM Grand, the affable Southern Californian will have a far tastier conquest on his mind.

“I'm ready to go out and eat everything, and the kitchen sink,” he said, while grinding through the final days of a strict pre-fight vegan regimen for the 12th time in six years. “I'll go to a restaurant and people will see me and say ‘I thought you were a vegan,' but I'm like ‘No, don't get it confused. I'm a vegan when I'm training, but when I just had a fight, I want some steak and potatoes.'”

On the menu for his first post-Pacquiao dinner – a large slab of make-up beef.

“I'll go down to either Ruth's Chris or Mastro's and get me a huge steak,” he said. “Like a 28-ounce porterhouse or something like that. I need meat, man, just give me some meat.

“I'm sick of vegetables.”

The 30-year-old was first steered toward the diet – whose participants typically avoid meat, eggs, dairy products and other animal-derived substances – before he wrested the World Boxing Council's (WBC) 140-pound title from Junior Witter in May 2008. He won that fight by 12-round split decision and has emerged unscathed from 10 bouts since, including the first 12-rounder with Pacquiao in 2012.

After defending the 140-pound title six times through the close of 2011, Bradley made a permanent move to 147 pounds and quickly won the World Boxing Organization's (WBO) welterweight title from Pacquiao that he'll defend in their Saturday rematch on HBO's pay-per-view arm.

Eight of the 11 fights as a vegan have gone the distance, and Bradley claims the primary benefit he's felt since starting has been prolonged endurance that's enabled him to outwork foes in the late going.

His most gripping diet testimonial comes thanks to a grueling defeat of Ruslan Provodnikov in March of last year, when Bradley was nearly stopped in the early going before rallying through the fight's middle stretch and successfully fighting off a violent Provodnikov charge over the final three minutes.

He won seven of 12 rounds on two official scorecards and eight on the other in a fight that was deemed 2013's best by many outlets, including Ring magazine.

“If I wasn't in the best shape and didn't have my nutrition right, I probably would have been knocked out,” Bradley said. “But the fact that I was able to have a higher output than him and outpunch him and outlast him, that allowed me to win the fight. I really don't even like vegetables, but I do it because I know I have an advantage.

“What it boils down to at the end of the day is who is going to be able to outlast who? It's like putting racing fuel in your car. If you put in racing fuel, you've got an extra boost. Being a vegan, you're putting racing fuel in your body every single day.”

The vegan regimen typically starts three months before a fight, during which time Bradley trims down from his typical walking-around weight -- between 170 and 175 pounds -- to the 147-pound welterweight limit by weigh-in time, which comes this week on Friday at 6 p.m.

He's wrapping up a nine-week boxing-centric training camp, down from 12 weeks for the first fight with Pacquiao, and said he began the camp at 166 pounds.

He'll reach the ring Saturday night at 154 or 155 pounds, according to plan.

“I lose the weight really slowly and I don't go up that much overnight before the fight,” he said. “Most guys after the weigh-in go and eat a big fat steak and go eat all this stuff. I just stick to the same thing, but I just eat more. And like I said, in the later rounds when guys are fading, I still have energy.”

Weekend Watch List

ESPN2 -- Friday, 9 p.m. ET

Gilberto Sanchez vs. Giovanni Lorenzo -- 10 rounds, super middleweights

HBO PPV -- Saturday, 9 p.m. ET

Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao -- WBO welterweight title

Raymundo Beltran vs. Arash Usmanee -- 12 rounds, lightweights

Khabib Allakhverdiev vs. Jessie Vargas -- IBO junior welterweight title

Bryan Vasquez vs. Jose Felix Jr. -- 12 rounds, junior lightweights

Fox Deportes – Saturday, 10 p.m. ET

Roberto Ortiz vs. Ramiro Alcaraz -- 12 rounds, junior welterweights

Fox Sports 1 – Monday, 9 p.m. ET

Ronny Rios vs. Andrew Cancio -- 10 rounds, junior lightweights

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