Will 2012 See Manny Pacquiao Fight Timothy Bradley?

The date, July 17, 2011, undefeated WBO Jr. welterweight champion Timothy Bradley stands before the crowd victorious after an unimpressive 12 round decision with Carlos Abregu and calls out the Champ, Manny Pacquiao, “I’m making a challenge right now, baby. Manny Pacquiao, come break down this wall, baby… Manny, come break down this wall. I challenge Manny Pacquiao at 147 pounds.”

Many critics and boxing fans thought that he didn’t do enough in the ring that night to be calling out the current champ but if recent rumors that are circulating are true, then a match between the two warriors could materialize in early 2012, which would do a lot to explain why Bradley left a huge payday on the table and declined to fight, WBA light welterweight champion, Amir Khan (27-1-0), who is now scheduled to fight Zab Judah on July 23rd.

Bradley’s contract with Gary Shaw Promotions is set to expire on June 30th and there has been much speculation over Bradley’s next move. Over the weekend Bradley finally commented on his controversial decision not to fight Khan, stating, “It was just basically my promoter has a deadline till June 30th to get me a fight and that’s pretty much what I’m holding onto. I didn’t put that in the contract; they’re the ones who put it in the contract. June 30th is the date that I was supposed to be fighting and they’re not delivering… So I’m just standing by my guns and saying, ‘Hey, you guys gotta deliver by June 30th; I’m ready to go.’ July 23rd is out of my contract. So that’s pretty much in a nutshell why I’m not taking the fight at this moment.”

After June 30th there will likely be a battle between Top Rank and Golden Boy to woo Bradley into their camp. Either way it’s pretty clear that Bradley doesn’t want to fight until after his contract expires.

Combine that with the fact that Top Rank is running out of in-house fighters to match up with the Champ, as evidenced by the last Pacman matchups with aging Shane Mosley and 38 year old Juan Manuel Marquez and another piece fits into the puzzle. Comments from Bob Arum of Top Rank help to make the picture become a little clearer, “There is no secret that if that contract expires, and he’s a free agent, we want Tim Bradley very badly for our program. I think that he’s one of the top fighters. I think that we can build him into a major attraction and I just think that he has not been promoted as well as he might be”. Now suddenly there is some credibility to these recent rumblings making a Pacquiao vs. Bradley fight a real possibility.  Arum, who is known for matching up his own elite fighters, is eyeing a major event in 2012. This reporter thinks Bob Arum, should his plans unfold, will be the real winner in all of this.

Should the two fighters climb into the square circle next year, most pundits agree, it would be a bad night for Bradley.  Although his offense is described as quick and relentless, he doesn’t really match up with the Pacman in the power department and has holes in his offense/defense, primarily carrying his hands a little low while exchanging.

Most fight fans seem to agree that Pacquiao’s legendary cornerman, Freddie Roach and team, would incorporate that and other nuances into Manny’s game plan allowing him to counter well. And if that wasn’t enough, once Manny realizes Bradley can’t hurt him he will just keep plodding forward with his onslaught. The first couple rounds would be the feeling out stages and then Manny would bring the fight to a close in the 4 or 5th rounds.

To know more we’ll all just have to wait until Bradley’s contract expires at the end of this month to see where he lands. In the meantime it looks like Manny Pacquiao has plenty on his plate and should Floyd Mayweather Jr. finally decide to step up then all bets are off.

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