Timothy Bradley's fight with Manny Pacquiao is already becoming potentially big business for the underdog. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Timothy Bradley has signed an endorsement deal with Nike ahead of his June 9 fight against Manny Pacquiao, according to Sports Business Journal. Bradley, 28, isn't getting the sort of Nike deal that more famous athletes get, but does have upside potential if he "emerges as a star":
"Tim Bradle's visibility is about to increase tenfold," said Lucia McKelvey, executive vice president of marketing for promoter Top Rank, who represented Bradley in negotiations. "With '24/7' following him around, he's going to be in the public eye all the time. So why not be polished with his look? ... The starting point may not be anywhere near the starting point of a first-round draft pick in the NFL or NBA. But it’s a start. They want to grow with Tim Bradley. It’s almost up to Tim in terms of where that can go."
If you recognize McKelvey's name, it's because she's the woman who came in and shored up -- rescued, more accurately -- Manny Pacquiao's brand name as an endorsement athlete.
There is, of course, nothing bad about this, and it shows McKelvey's value to Top Rank fighters, I think. Getting Manny Pacquiao, global superstar, a deal with Nike and other companies is one thing. But getting Bradley, a largely unknown fighter notable for having a small fanbase in a sport where few fighters have major audiences in the U.S., is quite impressive.
I doubt this enters Bradley's mind ahead of 100 other things, but the stakes just raised for him on June 9. Now a win not only makes him a star and the man who stopped Pacquiao's run, but it makes him a legit product for Nike, too, I'd have to think. An upset would be big news in the sports world, and with that, I could imagine seeing Bradley in Nike commercials.