Ronnie Nathanielsz reports that a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradly could be finalized this weekend and announced on Tuesday, two days after Super Bowl XLVI, and just days after Floyd Mayweather Jr announced his May 5 fight with Miguel Cotto.
Arum has already said that the Top Rank/HBO show this Saturday in San Antonio (Chavez vs Rubio) will serve as grounds to hammer out the deal between the two sides. Pacquiao won't be in attendance, but adviser Michael Koncz will be there on his behalf, and trainer Freddie Roach is already in town in Chavez's corner, too. Bradley's manager Cameron Dunkin is there, as he also manages Nonito Donaire, who faces Wilfredo Vazquez Jr in the HBO co-feature.
Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO) and Bradley (28-0, 12 KO) are lined up mostly because Cotto balked at fighting Pacquiao at 147 pounds. Cotto was the first choice from Pacquiao and his team for a potential June 9 date, but the weight was a genuine issue, and the Puerto Rican instead chose to flex his free agent muscle and sign a fight with Mayweather at 154 pounds, with Floyd going up in weight for the bout.
It will be the first fight Cotto has had as a pro not under the Top Rank banner, and just the second time Mayweather has fought over 147 pounds. The first time was his record-setting win over Oscar De La Hoya in 2007.
Koncz is still hanging on to the idea that Bradley isn't for sure going to be Pacquiao's opponent, but the other available parties he's naming -- Juan Manuel Marquez and Lamont Peterson -- just aren't in the running anymore, unless something dramatically changes in the next few days. Marquez and Peterson may fight one another on July 14 at Cowboys Stadium, with the winner possibly facing the Pacquiao vs Bradley winner later this year, perhaps in November.
But Marquez for now refuses to fight Pacquiao in Nevada, where the fight is worth by far the most money at the gate, and Peterson isn't even sure he'll be fighting Marquez, as he and his manager/trainer Barry Hunter are both still strongly considering a rematch with Amir Khan. Offers to Peterson are on the table from both Golden Boy (Khan) and Top Rank (Marquez).
By process of elimination as much as anything, Bradley is the guy for Manny Pacquiao in June. But don't let that fool you, for Bradley is a legitimate risk for Pacquiao as the best 140-pound fighter in the world and a guy who is still in his prime years, waiting for that true breakout opportunity. This would be that opportunity.