Bradley eyes Pacquiao, spring return
Undefeated WBO junior welterwieght titleholder Tim Bradley, of Palm Springs, Calif., is looking at returning to the ring in May or June, with an eye toward challenging THE RING’s No. 1 pound-for-pound rated Manny Pacquiao.
The 28-year-old Bradley (28-0, 12 knockouts) debuted under the banner of Top Rank Inc. and also fought in Las Vegas for the first time on Nov. 12, when he scored an eighth-round knockout of 40-year-old southpaw Joel Casamayor at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
In the Nov. 12 main event, Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) defended his crown by controversial majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez on HBO Pay Per View. It was the third meeting between the two, who had earlier battled to a draw and a split-decision win for Pacquiao in May of 2004 and March of 2008, respectively.
Pacquiao is reportedly considering a fourth matchup against Marquez, or could attempt to renew the twice-failed negotiations for a bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr., if not Bradley.
Mayweather has announced that he would like to return to the ring on May 5, and has the MGM Grand on hold, thanks to Golden Boy Promotions. Pacquiao is promoted by Top Rank Inc., like Bradley.
Bradley’s body shot forced the towel to be thrown in for Casamayor, who was penalized for holding in the fourth round, dropped with a fifth-round body shot and ruled to have been knocked down in the sixth with a left hand.
Bradley scored only his second stoppage victory of his past 10 bouts against Casamayor, and it was his first knockout triumph since a fifth-round KO of Nasser Athumani in April of 2007.
Casamayor was stopped for only the second time in his career by Bradley, his only other coming in the 11th-round against Juan Manuel Marquez in September of 2008.
In January, Bradley scored an 11th-round technical decision that dethroned Devon Alexander as WBC beltholder.
The Bradley-Alexander verdict was decided on the cards after it was ruled that the southpaw Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) could no longer continue as a result of a large laceration that bled profusely following an accidental clash of heads.
Bradley was subsequently stripped of the WBC belt due to inactivity, paving the way for 35-year-old Erik Morales to win it with a 10th-round knockout over previously-unbeaten Pablo Cesar Cano in September and to become the first Mexican-born fighter to earn a fourth crown over as many different divisions.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]