By Michael Marley
For most Americans, Independence Day is July 4.
But I'm hearing that May 11, four days after Manny Pacquiao fights and presuably beats Sugar Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, is WBO/WBC junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley's day for throwing off his contractual shackles to promoter Gary Shaw.
It may be a minority opinion but I think Shaw, who's not taking my calls since I wrote an accurate story about only 339 tickets being sold for Devon Alexander-Bradley two weeks before they fought in Pontiac, Mich., has done a yeoman's job in handling the North Palm Springs fighter.
This includes buying up 1,800 or so tickets for a Bradley fight on his home turf to give the illusion that the fighter is something of a draw there.
But, I would be shocked if Bradley, who handled the previously undefeated Alexander with few problems in winning on a technical decision (head butt) in 10 rounds, does not do two things to advance his career.
With manager Cameron Dunkin and San Antonio-based legal eagle Michael Miller in his corner, I'm fairly certain Bradley will be a VIP guest at Top Rank's Mosley-Pacquiao show. I don't see Tim and a few select family members or friends having any problem getting ringside "comped" tickets.
Second, the May 11 end of contract date, if the rumor is on target, sets Bradley up for something which is rare in boxing. Bradley is then free to conduct a wide open auction for his promotional services and, while Top Rank CEO Bob Arum figures to have an inside track, I do not see how rivals Golden Boy, perhaps in tandem with adviser Al Haymon, can forego making a spirited attempt to ink him also.
Arum can deliver Pacquiao.
It is presumed Haymon and Golden Boy can deliver Floyd Mayweather Jr.
If Mayweather won't dance with Pacquiao, for whatever reason, or if it's the other way around, then Bradley is the most attractive American dance partner extant.
From what I hear, neither HBO nor Showtime object to having an American in one corner in a PPV main event.
But who's to say, for pride and prestige at least, Shaw won't go into his kick and make a bid as well? He doesn't have access to the size war chest that Top Rank and Oscar de la Hoya can put their hands on, but maybe he can line up supplementary backers, I don't know.
Any past friction between the promoter and fighter can be paved over with big money.
Rick Reeno of BoxingScene outlined the scenario back on Sept. 14 like so:
There have been industry rumblings that Bradley has been in contact with Golden Boy Promotions about a potential future working relationship. Sources close to Golden Boy, and Bradley's team, have denied the rumblings. BoxingScene was informed that Shaw sent a letter to Golden Boy advising them that Bradley was still under contract and to cease any possible communications between the two parties.
As a manager, Dunkin has a fiduciary responsibility to advise Bradley to take the most lucrative package offered to him.
This Dunkin is no yo-yo. He's brought fighters to various promoters over the years.
The manager is with the belle of the ball at a time when both Pacquiao and Mayweather are scratching for attractive opponents.
You want to know where Mr. Bradley is sitting right now?
He's sitting pretty.
He's the first round draft pick for both Manny and Floyd, really unless they finally embrace each other.