Could Pacquiao v Bradley 2 be on the cards for 2014?
By Jeremy O’Connell
Timothy Bradley finally earned the entire boxing world’s respect at the weekend, with an excellent tactical display, in my view, clearly outpointing the legendary Juan Manuel Marquez with crisp, back-foot boxing. Many, including myself, doubted Bradley’s credentials as an elite pound for pound talent in the wake of his last two performances, but he proved himself to be one of the best fighters in the sport.
The world is now his oyster, and the most lucrative option going forward would be a rematch with Manny Pacquiao, if he can win his upcoming fight with Brandon Rios. It would give Bradley a chance to avenge his much-derided ‘victory’, one of the most controversial in the sport’s history, in their first meeting, and would give Pacquiao the perfect opportunity to re-establish himself once more at the elite level.
Should Rios upset Pacquiao, a fight with Bradley is possible, but unlikely, due to both men being managed by Cameron Dunkin, who has consistently been reluctant to match up his clients.
Next week’s Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov winner is also a potential future foe for Bradley, particularly if Provodnikov prevails, as who would not want to see a rematch of their epic January clash, still the frontrunner for Fight of the Year honours?
For those readers wondering, a Floyd Mayweather-Tim Bradley showdown is not really worth contemplating, given the on-going promotional cold war between promoters Golden Boy and Top Rank which continues to divide the sport.
What, then, of the defeated Marquez? While he is obviously past his physical prime (and continues to struggle against pure boxers who do not lead against him), there are many other significant fights out there. Post-fight, he claimed, not for the first time, that he is contemplating retirement, but, despite this, and his talk of not being interested in a 5th Pacquiao fight, my money is on him fighting the Filipino legend one more time next year.
One final observation: Juan Manuel Marquez-Brandon Rios is a style matchup made in heaven, and the same goes for Marquez-Provodnikov. Let’s hope we see at least one of those before the Mexican icon hangs up his gloves for good.