Manny Pacquiao vs Tim Bradley 3 next spring?
Tim Bradley once again owns the WBO's share of the welterweight title. Will Manny Pacquiao attempt to reclaim the belt which he's owned for the better part of six years?
Earlier this week, Joel Diaz, Bradley's longtime trainer, told On the Ropes Boxing the following after being queried about a possible Pacquiao vs Bradley rubber match:
(Image courtesy of HBO)
“Anything can be possible. Anything can be possible, and don’t get me wrong because Tim at one point in his career after he lost to Pacquiao the second fight he said, 'If I get that WBO title, Manny is going to come back to me again.'"
"He doesn’t doubt it, and I don’t doubt it. They went at it twice and you know they had controversy in the first one, and he beat him the second time."
"Tim put up a hell of a fight in the second fight, and Bradley-Pacquiao II was a more exciting fight than Mayweather-Pacquiao. I don’t see why not go for a third one. I mean, Pacquiao fought Marquez four times.”
Tim Bradley, fresh off a unanimous decision tilt over Jessie Vargas, is considered a top ten pound-for-pound fighter by many and the No. 3 welterweight in the world, behind Floyd Mayweather and Pacquiao.
If Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 happens, will it serve as Manny's return bout following surgery and rehabilitation of his torn rotator cuff?
Tim is an exciting fighter and well-respected among the die-hards so the bout wouldn't be totally frowned upon. However, in the eyes of many, Pacquiao has already defeated Tim twice so it may not generate the 900,000 or so buys their first two meetings garnered.
Should it happen in April, May or June, promoters would have to sell 'The Comeback' as much, if not more, than the match-up.
How will Pacquiao look after being out of action for a year? Does he still have it? And is he any better with a repaired shoulder? Keep in mind, he'd been apparently fighting the last several years with an aggravated shoulder.
Those are the questions promoters will likely use to attempt to lure boxing's casual observers. Also, and in Sanchez's defense, Pacquiao vs Bradley 2 was action-packed so the event's organizers will also try to sell its potential entertainment value.
Realistically though, Team Pacquiao may opt for a tune-up of sorts before pitting the legend against one of the division's powerbrokers.
Look for Manny Pacquiao to face a foe who is fairly marketable but would be very limited against Pacquiao stylistically. If Pacquiao performs well, we should then turn our attention to Tim Bradley as well as Juan Manuel Marquez, Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan or even Floyd Mayweather again.
A lot can change from now until April/May 2016 but, at this moment, don't be surprised leading candidates for Manny Pacquiao's next fight might include, from jr welterweight to welterweight, Zab Judah, Mike Alvarado, Luis Collazo, Raymundo Beltran and Hank Lundy.