“Honestly, I’m not even thinking about Pacquiao. I’m just kind of leaving it in the past,” he said at the Biltmore Hotel on Wednesday afternoonin Los Angeles. “The past being the past, I’m moving forward in my career and that’s the bottom line. This is my career. He’s taken his path; I’m taking my path. So whatever happened in the past, it is what it is. It’s water underneath the bridge for me now. I’m not even thinking about it.”
But then he adds, “All I can say is one word: rematch. It never happened, so y’ know what? Forget about it.”
What was offered to him in place of the “Pac-Man” was a December 15th headlining slot on HBO in Miami (at the Marlins ballpark) where he was slated to earn over $2 million against Lamont Peterson. But he didn’t seem to be on the same page with Top Rank at the time and passed on the opportunity. Did he cut off his nose to spite his face? Bradley says he has no second thoughts on his decision.
“No, I don’t regret it whatsoever. As a man, my dad always told me, ‘When you make a decision, you gotta stand by your world,’ and I made a decision, my team and I, my wife and [manager] Cameron [Dunkin], but I made the decision ultimately not to fight in December for whatever reason it was. Doesn’t really matter. But no, I think I made the right move. I think it gave me a little more time for my [foot] injury to heal up. December would probably have been a little bit too soon. I was in the gym training in December and I was still thinking about the injury. Now, I don’t even think about it.”
Dunkin says of his fighter’s decision to sit out the rest of 2012, “I was disappointed but I understand. We all understand that it wasn’t the opponent that he wanted and everything. But when he talked to me earlier today, he said, ‘Cameron, I just want to get back in the ring. I just want to fight. I don’t care who it is. Just line ‘em up and let’s go.”
If there was ever a situation where a “victory” over Pacquiao could actually move a career backward, perhaps this was it. There was resentment and backlash not only against the judges’ scorecards but Bradley’s insistence that he won that bout fair and square. But the boxing world moved on without him. Pacquiao and Marquez engaged in a memorable fight (which may lead to a fifth chapter of their historic rivalry) and Nonito Donaire took that December 15th date, wrapping up “Fighter of the Year” honors as he halted Jorge Arce.
Bradley was like that guy who won the lottery and found himself unhappier than ever.
“I think in life, you can’t always look back on decisions and say, ‘Could’ve, should’ve, would’ve.’ What I would say is he probably wasn’t in the right place and mind at that point,” said President of Top Rank Todd duBoef. “Now, I’ve had a lot of sit-downs and conversations with him and Monica [Bradley’s wife] and they understand the strategy. He was being bandied about the Pacquiao opponent, so he was in limbo up until that too. He may have fought Pacquiao in a rematch. It just didn’t work out; it happened. Do I wish it didn’t happen? Obviously. But right now, we are where we are and we’re off and running.”
The plan is now to just keep Bradley (who has fought just three times since the beginning of 2011) as busy as possible, according to duBoef. “When you wipe out all the division, it starts getting thin and you look at all the guys at ‘40, who went to ’47. It’s even thinner because you’re pulling from a limited bucket of guys and at the end of the day, there was a fight that we tried to make in the fall, [Andre] Berto and [Robert] Guerrero. Neither of them wanted the fight, so they decided to fight each other. That’s it. I think we should’ve moved forward and I think this is the first step towards it. I always say to Timmy, ‘Tim, out of sight, out of mind. We gotta get you back in the ring. Let’s find a tough guy. Let’s get a guy who’s a really tough challenge for you. You got a guy who’s going to be putting a lot of pressure on you,’ and he goes, ‘I don’t care; I want to fight anybody. Just let me fight.’”
Provodnikov is a solid, tough grinder but Bradley’s expected to beat guys like this. No, it may not necessarily lead back to another bout with Pacquiao or another marquee name but it gets him back rolling and back to work with the ability to reestablish himself as a relevant fighter.
“That’s it. Every day is a grind; every fight is a grind,” said the 29-year old Bradley, who has a record of 29-0 with 12 stoppages. “I just want to stay busy; I want to stay active. I want to stay in the public eye. I want to display my talent out there. I want people to definitely believe in me. I want people to follow me. I want people to like my fighting style and like me fighting and the only way to do that and to build my fan base is to be in the ring and display my skills because that’s the only way people will come on board.”
Here’s the ticket info for that card (from a Top Rank press release):
Priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25, tickets can be purchased online at AXS.com or by phone at 888-929-7849 as well as The Home Depot Center Box Office (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Suites are available by calling 1-877-604-8777. For information of group discounts, please call 1-877-234-8425.
DuBoef confirmed that Top Rank’s newest signee, WBA junior welterweight beltholder Khabib Allakhverdiev, will co-headline the March 30th card alongside the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado rematch. What’s not clear is who he will face. I’m told that there are some complications with Karim Mayfield now...Look for Robert Marroquin to return to the ring March 16th on an UniMas “Solo Boxeo” card from Thackerville, OK...Patrick Day has signed a deal with DiBella Entertainment...Really like “60 Minutes Sports” on Showtime, which featured, in its second edition, an insightful behind-the-scenes look at this past Super Bowl. This included filming in the NFL control room during the now-infamous blackout. They also had a great segment on the late Steve Sabol of NFL Films…
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