By Keith Idec
Bob Arum is certain that the boxing public’s perception of Timothy Bradley is vastly different today than it was before Bradley’s first fight against Manny Pacquiao.
According to Arum, a convincing victory over first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Juan Manuel Marquez and his enthralling slugfest against Ruslan Provodnikov have significantly strengthened Bradley’s brand. If the unbeaten Bradley can score a legitimate victory over Pacquiao in their welterweight championship rematch Saturday night at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Arum expects the Palm Springs, Calif., native to become even more marketable.
“I think it makes him an ‘A’ side,” said Arum, whose Top Rank Inc. promotes Pacquiao and Bradley. “That’s what he is fighting for. This is going to be a high-profile pay-per-view. It’s going to do really big numbers. If Bradley can win this fight, he becomes an ‘A’ side. Maybe he doesn’t draw like a Pacquiao did or a Mayweather does as an ‘A’ side, but he’ll still be a strong ‘A’ side who can get 700,000 or 800,000 buys if he fights somebody else. That’s a big thing, to be an ‘A’ side like that.”
Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) has been the ‘B’ side in his three pay-per-view fights, two against the Philippines’ Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) and another against Mexico’s Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs). The first Pacquiao fight, in which Bradley recorded a widely disputed split decision win, drew approximately 1.2 million pay-per-view buys. The 30-year-old Bradley’s split-decision win against Marquez generated roughly 350,000 buys.
The Pacquiao-Bradley rematch, a 12-round fight for Bradley’s WBO 147-pound title, will headline HBO-Pay-Per-View’s four-bout broadcast Saturday night (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT; $69.99 in HD).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing