He's 32 years old. He has fought 34 times with just one loss. He is a current world champion. So why does Timothy Bradley feel the need to reinvent himself at this stage of his career?
"Refine, not reinvent," Bradley corrects.
OK. Refine. But what happens when Bradley gets hit by Brandon Rios tonight at the Thomas & Mack Center in Bradley's defense of his World Boxing Organization welterweight title on HBO?
Will all that refinement he and Teddy Atlas have been working on the past seven weeks go out the window? Or will Bradley stay the course and not revert to his old ways that he and former trainer Joel Diaz had developed over 10 years that made him a champion?
"I'm tough physically. I'm tough mentally," Bradley said. "Teddy has raised my mental game to a whole other level.
"Whatever you do in the gym, it translates itself the day of the fight. So I don't see myself reverting back to the old Tim Bradley."
Bradley (32-1-1, 12 knockouts) said he needed a new voice in his corner with a fresh outlook after he nearly gave away his June 27 fight against Jessie Vargas in Carson, Calif. Bradley had dominated Vargas for a majority of the fight. But late in the 12th round, Vargas caught Bradley with a big right hook to the jaw that staggered the champion.
The fight was inadvertently stopped prematurely by referee Pat Russell. And while Bradley insists he would have survived the final eight to 10 seconds, he came out of the fight realizing he could have avoided getting hit like that.
"I needed to get better," Bradley said. "I was making too many mistakes, even though I didn't realize that I was."
Enter Atlas and his game plan. He didn't change everything about Bradley as a fighter. But he brought an intensity and seriousness to training that Bradley said he hadn't had before.
"I never had a camp like this, ever," Bradley said. "We didn't cut any corners. There was no plastic (suits to lose weight). No music. No cellphones. Just me and Teddy.
"It was hell. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to handle it. It was like I felt I didn't know anything about boxing. He'd be yelling at me, 'You're drifting. Don't drift!' and I'm thinking, 'Drift? What does he mean drift?' My brain was fried. But he was telling me not to lose my focus. And to win this fight, it's going to take 36 minutes of total focus. No drifting."
Even earlier this week when Bradley and Atlas would work out, Atlas caught his fighter drifting and had to scold him.
"Teddy told me that I had committed what we call in boxing 'mortal sins,'" Bradley said. "Like when I dropped my hands in the 12th round against Jessie Vargas, and he caught me with that big shot. That was a mortal sin. What we've done is make sure I don't commit any mortal sins against Rios, that we keep the mistakes to a minimum."
According to Thomas & Mack director Mike Newcomb, 7,500 tickets have been sold for the fight and a crowd of close to 8,500 is expected for the first boxing card in the arena since a recently completed $72 million renovation.
Both fighters made weight Friday at Wynn Las Vegas. Bradley weighed in at 146 pounds, and Rios (33-2-1, 24 KOs) eventually weighed 147 after originally weighing two-tenths of a pound over the limit. He had an hour to lose the weight and did so with a trip to the bathroom.
"What drama?" Rios said when asked about the fact he was slightly overweight. "I had to go take a (expletive)."
Bradley, a 5-1 betting favorite who will make $1.9 million to Rios' $800,000, said he needs a dominating performance.
"I've got to get back to winning unanimous decisions and getting away from these split decisions," Bradley said. "It made me really think about the Bradley brand, where it's going, and if I want to grow the Bradley brand, I had to make these changes.
"My determination is what got me to where I am today. It's that simple."
To get that type of win tonight, Bradley said the formula is simple — hit and don't get hit.
"We need to limit my mistakes in the fight," he said. "I need to be fundamentally sound and not commit any mortal sins. Just be in total control of myself.
"Teddy tells me: 'Don't let your body get ahead of your brain.' We're going to avoid Rios' best punch and make sure we're in the right position to do the things we can do to make him uncomfortable."
And while some still question Bradley's decision to change trainers at this stage of his career, Bradley said he knows what's best for himself.
"After the Vargas fight, I asked myself, 'Can I get better?'" Bradley said. "And the answer was 'Yes.' So I was going to do whatever it takes to better myself.
"I found the right person to help me get better, and this was the best thing I ever did for my career. I feel like I'm reborn as a fighter."
Not to mention refined.
* NOTES — The card begins at 6:30 p.m. ... Tony Weeks will referee the Bradley-Rios fight, and the judges will be Adalaide Byrd, Glenn Trowbridge and Glenn Feldman.