Timothy Bradley Jr. had a decision to make in the wake of his upset split decision victory against Manny Pacquiao on June 9 in Las Vegas: Which title should he keep?
Bradley has decided that he will hang on to the WBO’s welterweight title and has vacated the organization’s junior welterweight belt.
A reigning junior welterweight titleholder, Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs) moved up in weight and claimed a welterweight belt against Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) by getting the nod in one of boxing’s most controversial decisions. The loss ended Pacquiao’s seven-year, 15-fight winning streak during which he became the only boxer in history to win world titles in eight weight classes.
“Tim told me, ‘I’m going to hold onto the 147-pound belt,’ ” Cameron Dunkin, Bradley’s manager, told ESPN.com. “He said, ‘That’s the title I just won and that’s where the good names are — Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather. That’s where I’m going to keep my belt.’ ”
Dunkin said he then notified WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel about Bradley’s decision.
“Timmy wants to keep the 147 belt because that’s where the action is,” Dunkin said. “Even though he is the best 140-pounder in the world, he can’t keep both belts, so he made the decision to stay at 147.”
Bradley’s decision to give up the junior welterweight title paved the way for the WBO to elevate interim titlist Juan Manuel Marquez to the organization’s full titleholder.
That move makes Marquez, one of Mexico’s all-time great fighters, a four-division titleholder. Marquez, who has also won world titles at featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight, won the vacant interim junior welterweight belt on April 14 in his hometown of Mexico City with a lopsided decision victory against Sergey Fedchenko. Marquez knew there was a good chance that Bradley would leave the division following the fight with Pacquiao.
There is a strong possibility that Pacquiao will exercise his contractual right for an immediate rematch with Bradley and face him again on Nov. 10.
If Pacquiao does not face Bradley in a fall rematch, he likely would meet Marquez for the fourth time. Pacquiao is 2-0-1 against him, although all three fights were debatable decisions and many believe Marquez deserved all three verdicts.
Bradley, who is headed for a Hawaiian vacation with his family, is recovering from injuries he suffered to both of his feet during the fight with Pacquiao. He has a sprained right ankle and ligament damage in the left ankle that has him in a cast, but is expected to be ready for a fall fight.
by Dan Rafael; ESPN.com
*photo via onegreenplanet.com