Tim Bradley: Would a strong win over Manny Pacquiao make 'Desert Storm' a mainstream star?
Will the proverbial torch be passed on April 9 when Tim 'Desert Storm' Bradley faces the iconic Manny Pacquiao in what the latter insists may be his last fight?
Pacquiao, as well as Floyd Mayweather, achieved stardom by defeating Oscar De La Hoya. Does Tim Bradley have the same opportunity Manny had?
Tim doesn't think so.
“I beat Manny Pacquiao, I already know what’s gonna be said," Bradley recently told BoxingScene.
"‘Oh, he was old. He was over the hill. He was this. He was that.’ I already know what it’s gonna be.’ If I lose to Manny Pacquiao, ‘Oh, he’s still great. He can still fight. He’s still this.’ "
"I know how it goes.”
With a convincing win over Manny, Tim's stock would undoubtedly rise but will he become a mainstream star a la Canelo Alvarez and Miguel Cotto?
Unfortunately, it may take more than a strong win over Manny for Tim to reach that next level in popularity.
Due to the fallout of Mayweather vs Pacquiao and the latter's long layoff, Manny's stock is a bit low. Hence, don't expect Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 to get anywhere near the mainstream attention of De La Hoya vs Pacquiao or De La Hoya vs Mayweather. In fact, it may only generate half of the PPV buys as Pacquiao vs Bradley 1 and 2, which each garnered nearly 900,000 purchases.
Boxing is a sport where an athlete, in some cases, can literally become a mainstream star overnight by defeating a mainstream star in a well-publicized, high stakes affair.
Buster Douglas vs Mike Tyson... Larry Holmes vs Muhammad Ali... Terry Norris vs Sugar Ray Leonard... Riddick Bowe vs Evander Holyfield ... Felix Trinidad vs Pernell Whitaker... Michael Spinks vs Larry Holmes... Rocky Marciano vs Joe Louis.... and so on.
More recently, we've seen Sergey Kovalev surge (although not to mainstream proportions) following his 2014 win over legend Bernard Hopkins. But Kovalev, unlike Bradley, is a knockout artist and his style of fighting is more endearing to the masses than Bradley's, which is very entertaining as well.
A knockout over the great Pacquiao would produce front (sports) page headlines in many, if not most, mainstream publications in the U.S. and perhaps around the world. The masses would know Manny lost. And Tim would experience an uptick in stock in the boxing community, and would likely have considerable negotiation leverage over immediate future opponents, sans Canelo and Cotto.
But will casual fans, who far outnumber boxing's hardcore junkies, get excited about Tim? Will he become a 'face of boxing?'