Joel Diaz doesn't think that Bob Arum wants Timothy Bradley to beat Juan Manuel Marquez on October 12, when the two fighters clash for Bradley's WBO welterweight title in Las Vegas, live on HBO pay-per-view. In fact, Diaz is sure that Arum would prefer Bradley to lose, because Marquez is a bigger draw, and Bradley has never gotten his due in the industry.
"Tim Bradley has always worked his way up the hard way," Diaz told me recently. "Nobody's ever given him love in the business of boxing. Every single one of his fights, they want to take him out; they want to put him out of the business, one way or another. But he keeps winning. That's one thing that we have in mind. For a fact, I know that his promoter would rather have Marquez win than Bradley win. And we know that."
Asked why he feels that way, Diaz had no problem sharing his opinion.
"Marquez is a big name, he's a big draw," said Diaz. "Bradley, as you can see, he doesn't draw much. He doesn't have a big draw in boxing. But he keeps winning, he keeps fighting. He's a four-time world champion. As a business person, I'm sure that Bob Arum would rather have Marquez win than Bradley win. Because there [are] bigger fights out there and bigger opponents. We have that in mind and we work against all those adversities."
Bradley (30-0, 12 KO) is the underdog against Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KO), the bigger star coming off of a career-defining win over Manny Pacquiao. Bradley also beat Pacquiao last year, but it was slightly less definitive to say the least.
Do you think Arum is actively rooting against Bradley in this fight? On the one hand, Marquez is the bigger star, but he's also 40 years old as of yesterday, and he's not even committing himself to fighting past this outing. Bradley, who turns 30 next week, has a lot more future ahead of him. A convincing win over Marquez would push him toward undeniable territory. Maybe not a big draw, but a lot more money to make over a longer time for the promoter, and money is the name of the game.