Timothy Bradley's December 15 fight on HBO has taken on a whole new look, as Sports Illustrated reports that the WBO welterweight champion will defend his title for the first time at Miami's gaudy, huge Marlins Park, likely against Andre Berto.
"We’re trying to lock in Berto," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told SI.com on Friday. "HBO is working on it right now. If all things come together over the next couple days that’s what we’re looking at."
It's a really good fight, and the idea of having it at Marlins Park is unique and could be a lot of fun, or it could turn out like the last time Bradley (29-0, 12 KO) fought in a stadium, and he and Devon Alexander bored the handful in attendance at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, into near-silence in a cavernous, empty building that had no business hosting the fight.
The good news is that this time, there is a local guy under consideration in Berto. Now, before anyone gets too wild about attendance expectations, let's keep in mind that Berto has never been a live draw in the slightest, either, even in Florida. There's a good chance that unless tickets are really, really affordable (which they should be), this fight is going to look like one of those lower-tier shows held in a minor league ballpark, except the fighters will be more famous and there will be fish tanks.
Berto (28-1, 22 KO) hasn't fought since September 2011, and was most recently connected to a November 24 HBO date, where he would have moved up to 154 pounds to challenge IBF champion Cornelius "K9" Bundrage. Berto himself has been tweeting about the November 24 date, though nothing specific. This could be a curveball he didn't see coming - after all, when the Bundrage stuff was reported, he said he didn't know about that either.
If the fight comes off - and I hope it does - it's a terrific matchup in a unique environment, and a fun way for HBO to close the books on their year in boxing. I think it's also possibly a very good action fight. Hopefully, it's worked out and we have something official soon.