Tim Bradley: Defeating Marquez could set-up sensational Pacquiao rematchWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Bradley's extraordinarily gritty win against Ruslan Provodnikov coupled with a victory over Pacquiao vanquisher Juan Manuel Marquez would give the fighter dubbed 'Desert Storm' something he lacked after his controversial win over Pacquiao last year.
Despite his 30-0 record and status as a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter, respect is something that has eluded the 30 year old WBO welterweight champion.
A non-disputed win
And while he proved his courage and determination against Provodnikov, defeating Juan Manuel Marquez, a top 5 pound-for-pound fighter and fight legend, would most certainly prove, once and for all, Bradley is an elite, PPV-level fighter worthy of a superfight showdown with anyone, including Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
If Bradley wins decisively Saturday night, even his most ardent critics would be silly to say Tim doesn't deserve a rematch with PacMan. As a matter of fact, if Bradley defeats Marquez non-controversially, Tim "might" be elevated above Manny on the pound-for-pound list of most reputable media sites. If not, the fighters will certainly be very close as both are already ranked from No. 4 to 10 on most pound-for-pound lists.
How can a bout between two fighters in the same weight class rated No. 4 and 5 in the world, pound-for-pound, be a mismatch? Actually, fight fans should consider themselves fortunate in those situations because such pairings are very rare in the sport.
Pacquiao vs Bradley aftermath
The aftermath of Pacquiao vs Bradley was unprecedented in boxing history; And while the drama and emotional outcry that ensued after their bout last year is still no longer fresh in the minds of the public, the decision was among the most disputed in the entire history of the sport - And that alone should make Pacquiao vs Bradley 2 very easy to sell.
Pacquiao wants revenge while Bradley thirsts for redemption.
And regardless of what happens should they fight again, their rematch would be historically-significant due to the tremendous controversy and drama that transpired after the verdict for Pacquaio vs Bradley I.
Questions still need answers
Not only does Pacquiao vs Bradley have the makings of a sensational superfight, there are still questions to be answered:
- How much did Bradley's ankle injuries hinder his performance that night?
- If given a second chance, would PacMan, who seemed content on winning a decision against Tim last year, be more aggressive and go for the knockout?
- Will conditioning play a factor if it goes past six? Keep in mind, Manny started fast was even ahead on Judge C.J. Ross's scorecard 4 -2 after six rounds. But PacMan 'took his foot of the gas' in the latter rounds, fighting hard only during the last 30-45 seconds of each round.
- Would HBO's broadcast team, after all of the criticism it received for seemingly being too biased for Pacquiao, make wholesale adjustments?
Pacquiao vs a 'different' Tim Bradley?
If Pacquiao vs Bradley 2 happens, Tim will enter that bout with several things he didn't have previously:
- His symbolic 'badge of courage,' having defeating Provodnikov in what may very well be Fight of the Year
- A win, albeit highly disputable, over Manny Pacquiao
- A victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, a top 5 pound-for-pound fighter, fight legend and Pacquiao's biggest nemesis
- The WBO Welterweight title
- Status as a proven top 5 or 6 pound-for-pound fighter
- A 31-0 record, and
The logical next choice
Minus Floyd Mayweather, there'are few fighters in the sport, let alone from jr welterweight to jr middleweight, who even come close to possessing Bradley's credentials. And aside from Mayweather vs Pacquiao, Pacquiao vs Bradley 2 is easily PacMan's biggest fight (post Rios) and would be, perhaps, one of the most lucrative of his career if promoted well.
If Tim and Manny are successful in their upcoming bouts and Mayweather vs Pacquiao fails to come to fruition, Pacquiao vs Bradley 2 could be the biggest fight of 2014.
Pacquiao vs Bradley generated drama, the need for revenge, intrigue, controversy, anger, allegations, bitterness and defiance... A rematch would or should be a promoter's dream.
... But Manny and Tim must win - and look good - in their upcoming bouts first. No easy task for either guy considering the competition.