Timothy Bradley spoke with Steve Kim of MaxBoxing, and pretty much confirmed the suspicions that I had about why he's not going to fight Amir Khan on July 23. Here's a sample, but go read Steve's article, because as always it's full of the good stuff:
"It was just basically my promoter has a deadline till June 30th to get me a fight and that's pretty much what I'm holding onto. I didn't put that in the contract; they're the ones who put it in the contract. June 30th is the date that I was supposed to be fighting and they're not delivering. ... So I'm just standing by my guns and saying, 'Hey, you guys gotta deliver by June 30th; I'm ready to go.' July 23rd is out of my contract. So that's pretty much in a nutshell why I'm not taking the fight at this moment."
It sounds more and more like Bradley has no intention of re-signing with Gary Shaw Productions or Thompson Boxing, and that he'll look to get a bigger deal with one of the major promoters, Top Rank or Golden Boy. Golden Boy was rumored to be pursuing Bradley late last year, while Top Rank has recently said they'll make Bradley an offer when his contract is up.
I don't usually go on about stuff like this, but the lack of credit given to Bradley in this saga really has surprised me. As I've said plenty by now, the man's contract is expiring. That's a pretty big deal. You don't mess around with stuff like that, no matter who you are. No fighter in Tim Bradley's position would take something like an Amir Khan fight in the allotted time frame. No fighter in the sport today. Not one. And the "rah rah Khan!" cheerleading from some, while writing off Bradley as some kind of fearful fraud, has been a bit much. The more that has come out here, the less sense Bradley fighting Khan on July 23 made. Bradley hasn't ducked anyone.
Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer doesn't buy the duck talk either:
"It's surprising to a lot of people. Some people have said, 'Well, he's afraid of Amir.' I refuse to believe that. There must be another reason and you know what people are saying. I don't have to get into it."
I'm pretty confident that if Bradley signs with anyone but Top Rank, we'll see Khan vs Bradley by the end of the year, or at the latest in early 2012. Neither of them are afraid of the fight. But the time just isn't right for this summer.