By Rick Reeno
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum has advised BoxingScene.com that he's targeting February 9th, on HBO, for the return of WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (29-0, 12KOs).
One potential opponent being considered, says Arum, is hard-punching junior welterweight Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23KOs), who last month was stopped in the seventh round of a "fight of year" battle with Brandon Rios.
Everything depends on the outcome of Manny Pacquiao's upcoming fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, taking place on December 8th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. If Pacquiao wins, he will make the final decision on his next opponent. Arum would like to match him against Rios. If Pacquiao decides to fight Bradley in a rematch, then the scenario would shift to a possible rematch between Rios and Alvarado.
"If Rios does fight Pacquiao, then with Alvarado we can go with Bradley, maybe. And if Manny wins the fight and decides to fight Bradley, then Rios and Alvarado can go again," Arum told BoxingScene.com.
The WBO recently ordered Rios and Ruslan Provodnikov to fight for the vacant junior welterweight title, but Arum doesn't see that fight coming off due to financial reasons. Rios can make a lot more money against Pacquiao or even Alvarado.
"A Provodnikov fight with Rios, we wouldn't be able to pay Rios anything like what we could paid him to fight a Manny, or even an Alvarado rematch," Arum said.
Then there is the issue of Bradley. There has been some tension behind the scenes. Bradley was scheduled to return to HBO on December 15th in a rematch with Lamont Peterson. With over a $2 million dollar purse on the table, Bradley took a pass and opted to wait for something better to come along.
Bradley won a controversial twelve round split decision over Pacquiao in June. In describing the aftermath, a few insiders have said - 'just because you beat Tiger Woods doesn't make you Tiger Woods.'
"We are trying to get everything tamped down. Bradley has two more years to go with us and hopefully he'll be a happy camper. After all, I've never seen anything like it because he had the December 15th date and a $2 million dollar purse to fight Peterson [and] he turned it down. What is that? If you beat Tiger Woods, then you can sort of argue that you're sort of Tiger Woods. But if you get a victory and nobody thought you won, then you sure ain't Tiger Woods," Arum said.
On target for the co-feature is undefeated super featherweight contender Diego Magdaleno (23-0, 9KOs). Arum made it clear to Magdaleno that his upcoming fight on December 7th [TV Azteca from Texas Station in Las Vegas] would be his last non-title outing. The plan, if all goes well, is to match Magdaleno against WBO champion Rocky Martinez (26-1-1, 16KOs) or WBC champion Gamaliel Diaz (37-9-2, 17KOs).
If the doubleheader comes together, a possible location is the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.