Lem Satterfield reports today that despite rumors to the contrary, Top Rank and Bob Arum have had no discussions with Timothy Bradley about signing a deal with the promotional giant. Bradley, currently the world's top-ranked junior welterweight by most, is still under contract to Gary Shaw Productions through June. Some feel that Bradley is simply waiting out that contract and will then explore other options, which is a big reason he passed on a July 23 fight with Amir Khan.
But Arum does say that if the contract ends without a new deal between Shaw and Bradley, he will be happy to present Bradley with an offer:
"[W]e don't steal fighters. When the contract expires, or he doesn't produce a fight, and the contract expires, then we'll meet with Bradley and present terms that I believe will be favorable to him. But until that happens, we are not going to screw around with Tim Bradley."
The first part is likely another thinly-veiled shot at rival Golden Boy, Promotions who have in the past attempted to "steal" Manny Pacquiao from Top Rank, and recently did the same with Nonito Donaire. Last week, during the Pacquiao vs Mosley festivities in Las Vegas, Arum was in rare form at a press conference and ripped Golden Boy for the same practices:
"We, at Top Rank, honor contracts. We believe in integrity and we don't steal other people's fighters. That's the way it's been done throughout my career. When someone brings us a fighter, we do a co-promotional deal.....that's what we do. But when you have people who come from the outside, and I don't care how they were trained, whether it was banking or anything else - you don't steal fighters. You make co-promotion deals. Someone has to tell these people from the outside," Arum said.
Besides the sniping, though, the real story here is knowing that Top Rank is at least going to be a player for Timothy Bradley, but then I expect anyone will be, and that he might wind up the beneficiary of a bidding war between Top Rank and Golden Boy, not because he's particularly popular or anything, but because he's a good fighter and a valuable asset to have around. He's been featured on HBO and Showtime, and both networks put stock into him as a main event fighter.