Timothy Bradley was Next in Line for Floyd Mayweather Bout Before Moving to Top Rank

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COMMENTARY | In 2011, Timothy Bradley was at a career crossroads after he beat Devon Alexander in a WBO, WBC junior welterweight title unification bout.

The undefeated junior welterweight titlist was making about a million dollars per fight and had an Amir Khan bout dangling in front of him for 1.8 million. Beyond that, he was at the mercy of destiny and the business acumen of then-promoter Thompson Boxing Promotions, which had turned him pro and had guided him to two world titles.

But, when Bob Arum and Top Rank Promotions came calling, Bradley took little time in switching promoters and grabbing for the gold.

Arum promoted cash cow Manny Pacquiao and could all but guarantee Bradley a multi-million dollar showdown in the immediate future with the Filipino icon. In the end, "Desert Storm" decided to grab for the immediate reward rather than continue on the steady, predictable path he had been taking up until then.

Little did Bradley know, though, that there were deals and propositions percolating behind the scenes that could've brought him a considerably larger amount of money for considerably less professional stress.

"Had he stayed with us, we would've fought Amir Khan-and he was going to get close to a million (point) eight for that fight," Thompson Boxing CEO, Ken Thompson told The Koncrete Jungle. "Our next fight was (with) Mayweather for seven million. That's where he would've been with us. He chose to go with Arum because Arum has a good stable of fighters"

Of course, nothing but headache, heartache, and a near career deathblow would come following his controversial split decision win over Manny Pacquiao last June.

The poorly-scored Pacquiao-Bradley debacle brought about talk of federal investigations and made Bradley an untouchable toxic property for several months after the bout.

"Pacquiao beat him, everybody and their brother knows it," Thompson continued. "It didn't help him, it hurt him. Now, Tim's a good guy. I hated to see that happen to him because it's going to affect him forever. He's the guy that got the lousy call, where he would've been better off taking the loss and going on. But he got the call and for some reason, now he wants to think that he really did beat the guy. Well, he didn't. But, has he got the ability to go forward and make a lot of money and do great things? Probably. Will he do it? I don't know. I can only tell you where he would've gone with us."

In March, Bradley would restore some of his fistic good faith with fans and media in a brutal slugfest against Ruslan Provodnikov that saw him successfully defend the WBO welterweight belt he had taken from Pacquiao.

Another lucky break went his way when Juan Manuel Marquez decided to close the chapter on his series with arch-rival Manny Pacquiao after knocking him out in six rounds last December. Rather than pursue a fifth clash with Pacquiao, Marquez opted to try for a world title in a fifth division-and Bradley just happened to be there with nothing better to do.

If Bradley can beat Marquez decisively and without controversy, he will have taken yet another step in rehabbing his post-Pacquiao image. A loss, though, will likely send him to mid-card status, in a considerably lower place, professionally, than when he signed with Top Rank.

Looking back, if Bradley had stayed his course, he could very well have walked through a vulnerable Amir Khan to a main stage showdown with Floyd Mayweather for a larger payday than what he got for facing Pacquiao. And while he likely would've lost his undefeated status, he could've then walked into any number of good, well-paying welterweight or junior welterweight bouts against the likes of Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Adrien Broner, Paulie Malignaggi, Robert Guerrero, Marcos Maidana, and Victor Ortiz.

But looking back is not an option for Bradley anymore. It's, literally, Marquez or bust this coming September and he knows it.

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Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. 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.

Source: The Koncrete Jungle

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