Timothy Bradley in fold, but what about Pacquiao-Mayweather?
Timothy Bradley said he signed with his new promoter Top Rank to increase his name recognition, but there's a great hazard in that plan should he instead be just the latest replacement foe of Manny Pacquiao who further delays a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. megafight.
The unbeaten Bradley will fight veteran Joel Casamayor on Nov. 12 in Las Vegas in the main feature under that night's Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III main event.
By signing with Top Rank, Bradley admitted Wednesday at the Beverly Hills Hotel he left more than a $1.4-million offer to fight Amir Khan in July on the table. Why do such a thing unless you strongly believe a super-fight against Pacquiao is in your immediate future?
While Bradley said he was not promised or guaranteed any such deal, Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum said should Pacquiao beat Marquez and a bout against Mayweather remain unavailable, "It's an open book. If the stars are aligned, that's the fight [with Bradley], we'd be inclined to make."
Mayweather is Option No. 1 for Pacquiao, right?
"Of course," Arum said. "Always has been."
Arum said Bradley provides insurance should Mayweather's legal trouble in Las Vegas increase as he moves toward a criminal trial for allegedly assaulting the mother of his three children and threatening the children.
"Mayweather has the toughest fight of his career in the next couple of months," Arum said. "Let's talk about that before we talk about anything else."
Bradley made it a point Wednesday to discuss how much he'd like to fight Pacquiao.
"He's fast, powerful, a lefty -- he has all the tricks of the trade," Bradley said. "I've been watching this guy since he signed with Bob. You can almost say I'm infatuated with him. He's the best, and if I don't fight the pound-for-pound king, how do I know how good I am?"
Arum said he's "never even mentioned Bradley's name to Pacquiao. I don't know where Manny stands in that regard. I'm not even going to talk to Pacquiao about his next fight until after Nov. 12."
Bradley is just thrilled to get the exposure that will come with millions watching the Pacquiao pay-per-view, along with an $11.7-million live gate at MGM Grand. Previously, Bradley has struggled to sell more than 1,000 seats at Agua Caliente Resort Casino Spa in Rancho Mirage, and in January he fought Devon Alexander in the Silverdome in Michigan -- what Arum referred to as a "decrepid barn."
"This is not necessarily about the promise of a Pacquiao fight," Bradley's wife, Monica, said. "It's the promotion, the treatment. Tim has fought other elite fighters, and even though he's defeated them, he still walks around his hometown [Cathedral City] and people don't know his name. It came down to what's best for him.
"He wants to feel he's made something of himself. That's the biggest thing. Tim wants to be a name that's known."
If Pacquiao and Mayweather can get made, perhaps a more lucrative version of Bradley-Khan will be staged.
If there's any road bump to Pacquiao-Mayweather in May, however, expect Pacquiao-Bradley.
Remember, Pacquiao typically says after his victories that he'll leave the next fight to his promoter.
"If I can get one of my own fighters in there, I'd certainly favor my own fighter over someone else," Arum said.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Timothy Bradley takes part in a training session in January. Credit: Christina House / For The Times