Both Timothy Bradley and his new promoter Bob Arum say that there's no guarantee that the top-rated 140-pounder will get to face Manny Pacquiao next year, reports Robert Morales, but there's also nothing going against the idea, and most will still figure that Bradley remains a front-runner to face the Filipino sometime in 2012:
"I was never promised a fight with Pacquiao, but I am with the company now and I am available for a fight like that," Bradley said.
... "There is a process we go through with Manny before the next opponent is announced. Tim is very bright, a real family man and he understands all of this." [Arum]
If he was guaranteed a fight with Pacquiao, or at least told that he just has to keep winning to line it up, it's not like they'd say so right now, and I also love how Arum manages to slip in that Bradley is "a real family man" as if it has any relevance here whatsoever.
Bradley (27-0, 11 KO) is facing the remains of Joel Casamayor (38-5-1, 22 KO) in his Top Rank debut on November 12, a featured part of the Pacquiao vs Marquez undercard. I can't see many guys ahead of Bradley on the Pacquiao list for a next fight, to be honest -- Top Rank is running out of guys at 140 and 147, and all due respect to Bradley as a fighter, it's not like they signed him for his gate appeal.
As the top junior welterweight in the world (arguably), Bradley would make for a fine next opponent for Manny. Top Rank has said they'd like to promote him properly and build a fanbase for him, but who else would Manny fight in six months? Arum has attached Mike Jones' name to Pacquiao a few times, and Jones was supposedly the second choice to fight Manny if Juan Manuel Marquez lost in July, but that's probably not going to happen. They could go outside of their stable for the first time in a long time (Manny's last non-Top Rank opponent was Oscar De La Hoya), but Golden Boy doesn't have many available fighters at that level either, and then you're talking about Andre Berto (DiBella) or possibly Kell Brook (Matchroom Sport), and Brook has zero name in the United States. Brook would, if he beats Rafal Jackiewicz on Saturday, be in line for Manny's WBA title.
I'm sure there's truth in saying that Bradley hasn't been promised anything, but he just looks like the next guy in line right now. They wanted to get him signed and on this Pacquiao card for several reasons, and I'm guessing a big one is to showcase him to casual fans who might not know a lot about him. They've even got him fighting a southpaw.