After inching past Juan Manuel Marquez earlier this month in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand, undefeated welterweight Timothy Bradley made no bones about it: He wants to square off against pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather next, and he thinks he deserves it.
Bradley defeated Marquez by split decision, 113-115, 115-113 and 115-112. The fight was aired live on HBO pay-per-view.
Speaking to HBO’s Max Kellerman after the bout, Bradley stated things quite plainly.
“I just want to fight the best fighters out there,” said Bradley, via USA Today's Leighton Ginn. “If a Floyd Mayweather fight were to materialize, I would love to do that. ... and I would love to fight the Money team.
The problem? The fight will never materialize.
And here’s why.
Top Rank's Bob Arum (left) and Golden Boy's Oscar De La Hoya (right) don't want to work together.
Regardless of how much you, I or even Timothy Bradley would like to see fighters promoted by Top Rank (such as Bradley) pitted against fighters promoted by Golden Boy (the company Mayweather is not officially signed to but always uses), it’s just not going to happen.
The so-called cold war between the rival promotional companies has gone from bad to worse as of late. Not only will they not make fights together, but now they’ve also locked into partnerships with rival broadcasters, HBO and Showtime, that may hate each other even more than Top Rank and Golden Boy do.
As of March, Top Rank works exclusively with HBO, and Golden Boy works only with Showtime. There is absolutely no indication that will change anytime soon.
They don’t call him “Money May” for nothing.
As the 36-year-old Mayweather enters the twilight of his career, it’s hard to imagine him doing anything but maximizing his earnings.
He’s been very good at it so far. Mayweather signed a blockbuster six-fight deal in February that will net him more than $250 million when it’s all said and done.
According to Forbes, after raking in a guaranteed $32 million for his bout against Robert Guerrero last May, Mayweather hauled in $41.5 million more guaranteed for his 12 rounds of work against Canelo Alvarez in September.
Mayweather can fight just about whomever he wants and still take home absurd amounts of money. And he doesn’t have to fight a Top Rank-promoted fighter to do it.
In fact, there are still plenty of welterweightish options available in Golden Boy’s stable for him to choose from. Bouts against Amir Khan, Devon Alexander and Danny Garcia would likely yield Mayweather just as much money as one against Bradley.
Make no mistake. Timothy Bradley absolutely deserves to be ranked among the very best fighters in the sport today. He’s earned it.
So much so, in fact, that the American welterweight has leapt up all the way to No. 3 in the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board’s latest pound-for-pound rankings.
Still, winning a gift decision over Manny Pacquiao, where it seemed everyone on the planet except two of the three ringside judges saw it a clear win for Pacquiao, and slipping barely past Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez don’t generate a tremendous amount of interest in a possible Mayweather bout.
If anything, interest in rematches with Pacquiao and Provodnikov is what prevails.
If Pacquiao takes care of Brandon Rios in November, a bout with Bradley is what both men probably need most. Pacquiao would want to show he’s still the same guy he was before his knockout loss to rival Juan Manuel Marquez last year. Bradley would want to show the first win wasn't a fluke.
And if that fails, Bradley's first barnburner with Provodnikov, who recently knocked out Mike Alvarado to solidify his standing in the division, is just begging for a redo.
Let’s say the riff between Top Rank and Golden Boy magically disappears. Bob Arum takes Oscar De La Hoya out golfing and they share a nice, amiable lunch together. HBO and Showtime execs have a joint company picnic. The rivals bury the hatchet and decide they don't have to play hardball all the time.
Let’s also say the two groups decide to work together, if only in mutually beneficial circumstances.
There is no scenario in which Timothy Bradley leapfrogs Manny Pacquiao as the most lucrative and historically significant bout for Mayweather.
Where Mayweather’s September bout against Canelo Alvarez broke a slew of PPV and live-gate records, a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout would shatter those and every other single PPV and live-gate record in history.
Moreover, the bout would feature the two pre-eminent fighters of the era in a showdown to settle the most frequent boxing debate of the last five years: Who is the best of the time period?
In short, as long as Pacquiao is still lacing up the gloves, Bradley remains below him on the list of potential Mayweather bouts that will likely never happen.