Timothy Bradley displayed the heart and guts and passion that have returned some respect to him over the last two years following his robbery win over Manny Pacquiao in 2012, and after last night's game but clear loss in the rematch, Bradley should still be respected as one of the best fighters out there. Whether he is or not, we'll have to wait and see.
Pacquiao's options are limited, as mentioned earlier, and indeed, Bradley faces a similar issue. Being a Top Rank fighter means he's not going to be facing Floyd Mayweather, Shawn Porter, Paulie Malignaggi, Robert Guerrero, Keith Thurman, Marcos Maidana, Amir Khan, Luis Collazo, Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, etc.
Being a Top Rank fighter means his options at 147 pounds are rather meager at the moment. But unlike Pacquiao, who needs to sell a pay-per-view next time out and forevermore, Bradley can return to "regular" HBO, and doesn't need a particularly marketable opponent. That does open up further options, at least a little bit.
Loser of Juan Manuel Marquez vs Mike Alvarado
If Marquez loses to Alvarado, you have to think he'll retire, what with a 147 pound title shot not looking likely. Bradley was the fight Marquez recently wanted but didn't get, but with Bradley no longer holding the WBO belt, would he see that as too big a risk for too little reward? Probably.
Bradley-Alvarado, both coming off of losses (and it would be two straight for Alvarado), could work. It's not a great fight, but it's sure as hell better than Sergey Kovalev-Cedric Agnew or Ruslan Provodnikov-Chris Algieri on paper, and those are HBO main events in 2014. The network was willing to roll with Golovkin vs Andy Lee. HBO has room for Bradley-Alvarado.
While Rios might be looking for a get-well fight next, it's also possible that he won't see the point in that, and will want to get back in there with a top name. Rios has lost two in a row, but he's always exciting, and we know for a fact that Bradley can be dragged into a brawl he doesn't need. If Bradley's opponents are aggressive and connect (Pacquiao, Provodnikov), he will roar back with offense. If they aren't (Marquez), he's content to comfortably box from the outside. Bradley-Rios might not seem that great right now, but again -- Agnew. Algieri. Andy Lee. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.
If/when Provodnikov smashes Chris Algieri, it's possible that Ruslan could look to move back up to 147 to seek revenge on Bradley. He'd have to like his chances -- he nearly knocked Tim out the first time, and Bradley showed against Pacquiao that he's still vulnerable to fighting dumb. There would be better money and a bigger opportunity with rematching Bradley at 147 than anything Provodnikov is likely to find at 140.
After that, the ideas get a little sketchy. Rios may wind up the best option out there for the short-term. Is that good enough? In some ways, yes. In other ways, I can see why people would say no.
Who do you want to see Bradley face next, given the options that are realistic?