Though some have suspected that Timothy Bradley was given the option to face Manny Pacquiao on April 12 only if he signed a contract extension with Top Rank, the fighter denies that, and says he would have landed the bout either way.
Bradley, 30, says that it just came down to timing, both for the rematch with Pacquiao and signing a new deal with Top Rank, which he feels is best for his career.
"It was just part of the package deal that they were offering me. And for some people that say, ‘Yeah, that's like putting a gun to your head and saying if you don't take this, you're not going to get the fight,' but honestly, I think I was the only option Manny Pacquiao had at the time."
Bradley could, in theory, have fought Pacquiao on April 12, and with a win, made himself a hugely attractive opponent for Floyd Mayweather. Bradley (31-0, 12 KO) says he wasn't exactly sold on any idea that Mayweather would fight him, so he chose to stay with Top Rank instead:
"I really don't know if I would get a [Floyd] Mayweather fight. You know, Mayweather picks and chooses whoever the heck he wants to fight. It's not like he sees me, I'm undefeated, and is going to be like, ‘I want Timothy Bradley.' No, he's never called my name. He's never said he wanted to lace up the gloves with me."
If Bradley does beat Pacquiao in April, however, he would find himself in a position where Top Rank really might not have much for him, either. A third fight with Pacquiao probably wouldn't be marketable, and Bradley has indicated no desire to face Juan Manuel Marquez again, though one would guess he'd be open to it. A rematch with Ruslan Provodnikov could work, of course, or a fight with Brandon Rios or Mike Alvarado maybe, but Bradley is swimming in the same shallow pool as Manny with the new deal. Either way he went, he'd have been taking some risk. All Bradley can do is fight and win and make the most money he can.