TIMOTHY Bradley is in danger of becoming the forgotten man of boxing. That might seem a strange thing to see a few days before he tops a bill in the fight capital of Las Vegas, so let me explain.
Yes, the welterweight from North Palm Springs in California fights Argentina’s rugged Diego Chaves on a Top Rank promotion at the Cosmopolitan Hotel on Saturday, with HBO televising. Only problem is, happening just down the Strip at the same time is another show, at the MGM Grand.
This one is promoted by Golden Boy and televised by Showtime. The card is topped by Amir Khan versus Devon Alexander, with many speculating that the winner could be Floyd Mayweather’s next opponent. On the MGM undercard is rising welterweight Keith Thurman, another possible “Pretty Boy Floyd” foe somewhere down the line.
The MGM Grand holds about 16,000 although it would a surprise if anywhere near that many tickets were sold for Saturday’s show; Khan does not have the appeal of Ricky Hatton, who brought thousands to his Vegas adventures, while Alexander is from St Louis and no massive attraction either.
By contrast, the Cosmopolitan venue for the Bradley-Chaves bill holds just under 3,000; while a capacity crowd there will generate a good atmosphere, it seems unfair that the smaller stage is reserved for Bradley, who has accomplished the most of any boxer on either of Saturday’s Vegas cards. After all, this is a man who holds victories over Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez, two sure-fire Hall-of-Famers; a man who has held world belts in two weight divisions (140lbs and 147lbs); and a man who is articulate and by all accounts a nice guy – a fine example of how a sportsman should conduct himself.
Okay, Tim’s win over Pacquiao was down to an absurd decision and Manny beat him clearly in a rematch. But Bradley handily beat Devon Alexander in a light-welter unification fight a few years ago, having first become world champ with a win on the road, over Junior Witter in the UK. He hasn’t by any means had it easy. Yet he’s no ticket-seller, so here he is having to compete for attention with a rival main event featuring a boxer he has beaten. Life just isn’t fair sometimes.
And it’s not as if the future is spectacularly bright for Bradley. Even if he gets past Chaves – for whom he should have too much skill – there’s no guarantee he will nab a megafight in the near future. No demand exists for a third Pacquiao match and a Mayweather fight is unlikely because Timothy is with Top Rank, with whom Floyd won’t do business. It would be a sad comment on the current state of boxing if a quality performer like Timothy Bradley was allowed to fade into irrelevance.
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