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Timothy Bradley Hits the Wall: No More Big Money Fights Left?

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COMMENTARY | Timothy Bradley's dreams of parlaying his win over Juan Manuel Marquez into something bigger and better next year just may be out the window.

After taking the split decision verdict Saturday night in Las Vegas, Bradley's toothy smile beamed in the post-fight interview as he told HBO's Max Kellerman: "I gotta be considered top three in the world now. There's Mayweather, there's Andre Ward, and there's Tim Bradley, baby!"

While his placement in the pound-for-pound top three is very debatable, the real question is how to turn this win over Marquez into more legacy-defining bouts and even greater paydays. That's going to be a tough question to answer and one which may not even have any viable solution.

The easy answer would be to point to the November 23 clash between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios and just wait to see what happens. But, from what has already been tossed into the public discourse, any result delivered that night may leave Bradley where he is right now, looking for that next big fight and that next big check.

According to Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz, Bradley's stock has already fallen after the Marquez win, lowering the offered purse for a Pacquiao return bout from $6 million to $5 million.

"As we expected," Koncz told Ronnie Nathanielsz of Boxingscene and the Manila Standard, "Bradley did not show anything that warrants anything more than a $5 million purse…Nonetheless, at this point in time we are not interested in Bradley and are focused on Rios. Further, there are other fighters out there who are deserving of an opportunity to fight us."

Unfortunately for Bradley, the reduced $5 million purse may be the biggest offer available to him despite scoring wins over two of boxing's biggest stars in his last three fights. A fight with Brandon Rios has also been talked about if the Mexican-American battler is able to upset Pacquiao, but Bradley-Rios won't do huge business and would likely be a letdown in terms of what Bradley expects to make these days as a bona fide elite-level fighter.

This is the current dilemma of many top American stars these days whose in-ring accomplishment has far surpassed their drawing power.

The quickest, best solution to all of Bradley's problems would be to somehow land a bout with the only American fighter currently earning mega-star money, Floyd Mayweather. But Bradley is promoted by Bob Arum and, as we've seen before, getting Mayweather and Arum together is two steps beyond impossible. So, even if there's a buzz in the air and Arum is tossing the idea of Mayweather-Bradley around to every news outlet, Bradley and his team shouldn't expect that money shower to rain anywhere near them.

Bradley is stuck. He's well on his way to recognition as one of the most accomplished fighters of his generation, but he will likely go back to making the same kind of money he made when he had just barely made it to the top of the junior welterweight division.

And while it's true that money isn't everything, it still means a great deal in a profession where careers seldom extend beyond a fortieth birthday and a fighter's leverage in negotiations directly relates to how much business he can draw.

Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and is the author of Notes from the Boxing Underground. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.

Sources: HBO Boxing, Boxingscene

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