Timothy Bradley defended his WBO light welterweight title by battering Nate Campbell on Saturday, opening a bloody cut that forced the fight to be stopped after three rounds.
Bradley put in a dynamic three-round performance against his US compatriot, although TV replays appeared to show an accidental head-butt opening the cut over Campbell’s left eye early in the third.
“I was just doing my job,” Bradley said. “[The injury] didn’t matter anyway. He was getting older and older through the fight. I was beating him easily.”
The 37-year-old Campbell, who barely survived the third round on his feet, vehemently argued his cut was caused by Bradley’s head, which would have made the bout a no-contest.
“A cut like this comes from a head-butt,” Campbell said. “That was no punch. The California commission is wrong. This is just wrong. You can see it on television. How can they deem it a TKO? All they have to do is watch and see that it was a head-butt.”
The referee disagreed and awarded a TKO to 25-year-old Bradley, who made his first defense of the light welterweight belt he claimed from Kendall Holt in April.
“They were both butting each other all night,” referee David Mendoza said. “The last one was a head-butt, but the blood came after the punch, not from the head-butt. That’s what I saw last: The punch, then the blood.”
Bradley had also held the WBC belt by defeating Holt, but gave that up when he refused to face the mandatory challenger and elected to take the bigger purse against Campbell. That mandatory challenger, American Devon Alexander, won the vacant WBC belt on the undercard, beating the UK’s Junior Witter.
Campbell won the IBF and WBO lightweight titles with a split decision against Juan Diaz last year before moving up in weight. He had fought just once in 16 months since beating Diaz, notably losing one big payday when Joan Guzman couldn’t make weight to face him.
Campbell insisted he should get another shot, which Bradley and promoter Gary Shaw said they wouldn’t mind.
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