Timothy Bradley to defend title in Miami

Kevin Iole

Timothy Bradley didn't get the opportunity for a lucrative rematch with Manny Pacquiao, but the WBO welterweight champion got a nice consolation prize on Friday.

Top Rank's Bob Arum said Bradley will defend his title "against a top-ranked, well-known welterweight" on Dec. 15 at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla., as the main event of an HBO card.

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Arum would not divulge Bradley's opponent because he said the opponent has agreed to terms but has yet to sign his contract. Sources told Yahoo! Sports that HBO has checked into former champion Andre Berto's availability and is pushing for the fight.

However, it is no slam dunk Berto will be the opponent. Berto is advised by Al Haymon, and Haymon and Arum rarely work together.

The show will be the first boxing event held at the $515 million baseball stadium. In 1982, Arum promoted Alexis Arguello-Aaron Pryor I, one of the greatest fights in boxing history, in the Orange Bowl. Marlins Park sits on the site of the old Orange Bowl.

Arum said the stadium will be configured to seat between 20,000 and 25,000 fans.

"Miami has been a great boxing town for a long time, and this is an opportunity for us to bring big-time boxing back there," Arum said.

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Arum said he will fill the card with fighters who will appeal to the Miami audience. He said WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time gold medalist for Cuba, would headline the undercard.

Arum said another Cuban boxing star, Yuriorkis Gamboa, would likely fight on the Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez undercard on Dec. 8 in Las Vegas.

"I don't have space for both of them [Rigondeaux and Gamboa] on Dec. 15, so I'll put one on Dec. 8 and the other on Dec. 15," Arum said.

Bradley defeated Pacquiao on June 9 in Las Vegas via a highly controversial split decision that prompted Arum to call for the Nevada attorney general to investigate.

There was a rematch clause, but it was at Pacquiao's option, and Pacquiao declined it to accept a fourth bout with Marquez. Pacquiao told Yahoo! Sports his reason for doing so was that a fight with Marquez would be more lucrative financially and would be more entertaining stylistically.

That left Bradley without a big fight, but headlining a show in a baseball stadium will be significant.

Top Rank put on a show in 2010 between Miguel Cotto and Yuri Foreman at Yankee Stadium that drew more than 20,000. The ring for that show was in right center field, because the fight came in June and the Yankees were still playing.

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Arum said the ring for the card at Marlins Park will be in the infield and will allow for better sight lines.

"The Marlins will help us and will [market the event to] their season ticket holders," Arum said. "We'll keep the prices reasonable. There will be a lot of hoopla around it being the first fight in the new stadium, and we'll have a lot of the Cubans on the card and all the razzamatazz we do, and I'm sure we'll put more than 20,000 in there."

Arum said he'll be able to promote it jointly with the Pacquiao-Marquez fight. Tickets for that show went on sale on Friday and he said the pre-sale already netted 10,000 tickets.

He said the brisk sales for that show will enable him to push the Bradley fight the following week while he has the bully pulpit a Pacquiao fight brings.

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