Timothy Bradley Elects to Stay at Welterweight and Vacates 140-Pound Belt

Mick AkersAnalyst IJune 28, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 09:  Timothy Bradley reacts after defeating Manny Pacquiao by split decision in their WBO welterweight title fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena on June 9, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

WBO welterweight champ Timothy Bradley is now the former WBO junior welterweight champ after electing to stay in the 147-pound division and giving up his 140-pound belt, according to ESPN.com.

Although it is not the belt most boxing fans around the world wanted to see him vacate, Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) can now move forward with his career in the welterweight division. His decision leaves open the possibility of a rematch with Manny Pacquiao and maybe even a bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. once he is released from jail.

Cameron Dunkin, Bradley's manager told ESPN.com:

Tim told me, 'I'm going to hold onto the 147-pound belt.' He said, 'That's the title I just won and that's where the good names are -- Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather. That's where I'm going to keep my belt.'

Now that Bradley has made himself officially separate one of the better divisions in boxing, he can try to take all the buzz surrounding his name and try to make himself a star in the sport—something he had trouble doing at junior welterweight, despite an undefeated record and being a major title holder.

With Bradley letting go of his WBO junior welterweight belt, the WBO has now made Mexican great Juan Manuel Marquez its new champion at 140 pounds.

This move makes Marquez an official four-division champ—even though Marquez claimed the interim title this past April, making him the full-on title holder, this solidifies his fourth divisional title.

As Bradley recovers from his injured ankles, the question everyone wants to know is, who will he fight next?

If the rematch with Pacquiao is not next, there are more than enough attractive fights in the welterweight division to make a comeback and to ready himself for a rematch with Pac-Man shortly thereafter.