By Chris Robinson
These days, we haven’t heard quite as much talk from two-division champion Timothy Bradley as we are accustomed to.
Having secured the highest-profile victory of his career when he pulled out a split-decision over Manny Pacquiao inside of the MGM Grand on June 9, the 29-year old Bradley has obviously done a lot of heavy thinking over the past few months.
While he had clamored for a rematch with Pacquiao, the eight-division champion from the Philippines instead was maneuvered towards a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez for Dec. 8, leaving Bradley with limited options.
And while a rematch with junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson had presented itself, Bradley opted to sit out the remainder of 2013 instead of gearing himself up for a second encounter with a man he had defeated handily nearly three years ago.
Bradley does appear to have a return date set for Feb. 9 but it seems to be the opponent being presented, once-beaten junior welterweight contender Mike Alvarado, that is causing him some concern.
Alvarado is surely a capable fighter, as further evidenced by the courageous effort he gave against Brandon Rios last month, but the fact that he would lose the Fight of the Year contest by way of a 7th round TKO has seemed to turn Bradley off.
Speaking to me on Friday evening, Bradley had a lot to get off his chest, starting with the proposed duel with Alvarado.
“The last time I talked to Cameron [Dunkin], my manager, he said that they wanted me to face Mike Alvarado," said Bradley. "What’s the point of that? That doesn’t make any sense to me. If Top Rank wants to make me happy, why not give me the fight with Rios? Why fight the guy that Rios beat? That makes no sense to me.
“No disrespect to Alvarado,” Bradley would continue. “He’s a great fighter, but he’s coming off a loss to Rios. Rios is a Top Rank fighter; so am I. I think that fight makes sense. Rios is one hell of a fighter; you can't take nothing away from him. He’s a tough guy, he comes to fight. A fight between me and him, it would give the fans something to talk about.”
Sounds like a logical idea but it’s well-known that Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has been flirting with the idea of pitting Rios against Pacquiao in April, regardless of the result of his next encounter with Marquez.
Bradley clearly sees the wheels in motion but can’t quite comprehend why such a fight would be made.
“Top Rank’s plans are to put him in there with Pacquiao, but nobody really knows what this kid can do if he fights a fighter like myself,” Bradley would state. “Beating Alvarado, I don’t think that proves he’s ready. But like I said, he’s a good fighter, but I think he needs to fight somebody like myself before he even steps in the ring to fight Pacquiao.”
Taking a closer look at the welterweight landscape, Bradley also mentioned the likes of WBA welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi, IBF title holder Devon Alexander, and the winner of the Nov. 24 Andre Berto-Robert Guerrero clash as possible foes.
Not stopping there, Bradley declared that he would be willing to go back down to 140 pounds to face off with WBA/WBC champion Danny Garcia as well as interim WBC champion Lucas Matthysse.
And last but not least, Bradley has no problem whatsoever going from one pound for pound stalwart to the next.
“I can also fight the king of boxing, ‘Money’ Mayweather," Bradley claimed. "I think that would be a great fight for boxing.”
There are definitely a lot of intriguing fights on the table, but the only problem is that the above-listed crop of fighters are either promoted by or have ties with Golden Boy Promotions, who have been locked into a bit of a cold war with Top Rank.
The last thing Bradley would want would be a promotional grudge to get in the way of such great matchups and he took a moment to further explain himself.
“This Top Rank-Golden Boy beef shouldn’t affect my career and it shouldn’t get in the way of all these great fights,” said Bradley. “These are great fights for boxing, these are great fights for my career, these are the fights I feel that will definitely lead my career in the right direction, where it should be going.”
With his next fight likely nearly three months away, Bradley has yet to dive back into a full-throttle training camp but he has remained busy by working out three days a week.
“Not killing myself,” Bradley noted. “Just keeping my lungs open. Strength training, like I always do.”
Still in his prime but not wanting to let any opportunities slip away from him, you can sense just how serious Bradley is when it comes to securing the next fight that will help define his career.
“I just want to move in the right direction and not take a step back," Bradley stated. "In order to move my career forward, I need to have some great fights. There are fights out there that I feel the public, the boxing fans, everybody, would love to see.”
*** Viewers wanting to take a look back in videos at the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley fight week in Vegas, including pre and post-fight coverage, weigh-in footage, and exclusives with Roy Jones, Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao, Freddie Roach, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Floyd Mayweather Sr., Bradley, and others, can visit Chris Robinson's Pacquiao-Bradley fight week coverage as well as his other exclusives below...