ESPN.com's Dan Rafael reports tonight that a deadline to make a fight between top junior welterweights Timothy Bradley and Amir Khan has been set for Wednesday.
It was until this week thought that Khan (25-1, 17 KO) and Bradley (27-0, 11 KO) would meet on July 23 to crown a new official ruler at 140 pounds, but Bradley is unhappy with the money offered to face Khan. Bradley has been offered $1.3 million, but the issue is that HBO has him set for a guaranteed return date for at least $1.2 million. To face the other top dog at 140, Bradley is looking for more money. The original deadline was set for Monday, but HBO asked to extend a couple of days.
The other idea out there is that Bradley is hesitant because his contract with promoter Gary Shaw is set to end in June. Months back, it was rumored that Bradley would head to Golden Boy Promotions when his deal with Shaw expired. If Bradley doesn't want to fight again under Shaw's banner, he would have to wait for the deal to expire in June, which means he couldn't very well sign a July 23 fight right now.
But if Bradley isn't looking to leave Shaw, then the real issue here falls at HBO's doorstep, not Tim Bradley's. By guaranteeing a big payday for his next fight and not stipulating that it had to be against Amir Khan, they all but asked for this to happen. This is boxing, and fighters and their promoters and managers will always take a yard if you think you're offering a foot. It's another in a long line of decisions from HBO that just seem incredibly questionable in hindsight. They have too often set themselves up for these headaches when trying to later make the best fights happen, after the guarantees and promises have already been made.
The possible replacement opponents for Khan in the event Bradley doesn't fight him on July 23 -- which now looks likely -- remain Marcos Maidana, Robert Guerrero, Erik Morales and Zab Judah.