Timothy Bradley's career has hit the wall without Manny Pacquiao, so he and his team keep having to bring up the Filipino star. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Timothy Bradley will reportedly be back in the ring on December 15, but most of the focus on his career still concerns Manny Pacquiao -- the man he won't be fighting in a rematch of their highly controversial June bout, which Bradley won via split decision, considered a robbery in the minds of many.
Bradley's trainer Joel Diaz has joined his fighter in shaming Pacquiao for not taking a rematch, which was contractually obligated in the event that Bradley did win the fight, and instead facing Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth time on December 8.
"Boxing is a business, and in my opinion, Manny’s going the easy way,. He’s going around Tim to fight Marquez, who’s 40 years old and didn’t even look good in his last fight. Even though Manny moves forward, he’ll have a ghost behind him, and that’s Tim Bradley."
I have somewhat defended the Team Bradley stance here as far as their attention-seeking goes, and I do get it, and I still feel bad for them that they basically had to give up half a year instead of looking for a fight, as they were waiting on Pacquiao to let them know whether or not he was going to exercise his rematch clause.
And as easy as it would be for me to say that they have to let it go, the reality is that there's not much else they even have to talk about. Zab Judah and Lamont Peterson were supposedly considered for a Bradley fight in December, but HBO reportedly turned Judah down, and Peterson and Judah are negotiating an IBF 140-pound title fight right now, anyway. Neither of them will be facing Bradley.
Now, although Bradley holds the WBO welterweight title, the only name seriously discussed for his next fight is junior welterweight Ruslan Provodnikov, an ESPN Friday Night Fights regular who has won a pair of easy fights in 2012, beating David Torres in January, followed by an even more lopsided beatdown of Jose Reynoso in June.
Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KO) is an entertaining action fighter, but it would be a huge leap for him to go from the likes of weak FNF opponents to Timothy Bradley, an unbeaten, very good fighter who -- no matter what you think of the Pacquiao decision -- has proven himself against good fighters repeatedly already in his career.
And Diaz knows exactly what type of fight Bradley vs Provodnikov is on paper:
"I don’t have a say in that, but Provodnikov—that would be a fight for him, not for Tim. Not even Amir Khan, who just got stopped by Danny Garcia. A fight that would make sense for Tim would be Danny Garcia, Andre Berto—someone like that."
Garcia is busy, as he'll be rematching Erik Morales on October 20, and Berto is reportedly going to face IBF junior middleweight titlist Cornelius Bundrage late this year, too.
As Jimmy Tobin said at The Cruelest Sport, Bradley is reduced to taking what he can get. It's frankly not fair, it's not really a deserved punishment for "his" crimes of showing up and fighting Pacquiao to the best of his ability, only to get generous scores from two of three ringside judges, and in the end, it's boxing business as usual.