Timothy Bradley's career has not exactly blown up to the degree people expected it to. Despite fighting legitimate conversation and compiling a 27-0 record, his fights aren't always thrilling affairs. In January, HBO invested a big portion of their boxing budget for the year in a bout between Bradley and Devon Alexander, a fight which did mediocre ratings and an unbelievably bad live gate (something not helped by holding the fight in Detroit during a recession).
Bradley now is set to face Joel Casamayor on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez pay-per-view in what has to be seen as a considerable step down.
Not that it should be a sign of a career failure to be on a pay-per-view undercard, boxing needs very good fighters rounding out cards they're asking people to spend upwards of $70 on, but HBO's investment in Bradley means that they need him to be a star capable of carrying shows.
The opinion of Timothy Bradley among a lot (not all, but a lot) of boxing fans took a pretty big hit this summer when he ducked out of an agreed-upon fight with Amir Khan, so I have to guess he's just happy being back in the ring at all. He's fought just two times since 2009, and neither fight was exactly memorable. To get himself on a Pacquiao card is big for him, in part because he's now believed by many to be the next likely opponent for Manny himself, should all go according to plan. That's not set in stone, but I think it makes his jump to Top Rank, and the promoter dispute that sidelined the Khan fight, worth it in the end, if it does indeed happen. Plus, Bradley never wanted the Alexander fight in the first place, because he didn't think it was that big of a fight. Turns out he was correct.
Despite Bradley being rumored as a future Pacquiao opponent, he remains tied in many ways to Amir Khan.
Khan and Bradley was believed to be going down this July, only to see Bradley pull out of the fight. Bradley followed up by saying that he wasn't interested in a Khan fight.
Then, in late October, Bradley suddenly made an about face on Twitter:
Now the two have engaged in a minor war of words. The Examiner had Bradley talking about why he didn't need the Khan fight:
"Even if I was to fight Amir Khan and win the fight, I felt that my career wasn't going to move anywhere," Bradley said:" The timing and the fact that I didn't want to be still in a contract with my promoters and I didn't take that fight because of that. It all had a lot to do with it; my decision not to take that fight. I am not afraid of Amir Khan. Amir Kahn knows that. He can say whatever he wants; sooner or later we are going to get it on, either at 140 or 147, we are going to get it on."
And then Khan responded (via Boxing Scene):
"I think everyone in boxing knows that he needs me. Just look where my career is going. I'm in the number one position [at 140]. I want the big fights and I've beaten guys in a better style [than Bradley]. I'm the biggest name at 140-pounds and the only reason I want to fight him is to prove to the world that I'm the best at the 140-pound division. He's been avoiding me."
Now we all just have to wait and see if Bradley can get past Joel Casamayor on Saturday (he should) and if Khan can beat Lamont Peterson in December (he should).
Bradley's public image can't take him not following through on the fight unless it is for a Pacquiao bout at that point.