Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley: Skipping this Fight Makes Sense for Everyone

| by Alex Groberman

About a second after Timothy Bradley got his undeserved victory over Manny Pacquiao, boxing fans everywhere began to look towards the future.

They wondered about what this loss meant for Pacquiao. They wondered about its ramifications on a possible Dream Match between him and Floyd Mayweather Jr. They wondered if a rematch of June 9’s catastrophic bout was imminent, and whether or not the Filipino champion would try to avenge his defeat.

What nobody wondered about, though, was what would come next for Bradley.

Generally speaking, when a guy picks up the biggest win of his career, when he takes down the best or second-best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today, he gets a certain amount of acclaim. Not in this case. In this case, Bradley became a pariah of sorts – nobody wanted to talk about, or have anything to do with him.

And as I’ve said on numerous occasions, that’s really unfortunate. It’s not his fault that two awful judges gave him a win he shouldn’t have gotten. What was he supposed to do, give the belt back?

Of course not.

In the weeks after that showdown, Pacquiao’s continued to be a frequent topic of discussion, and Bradley continued to be completely and totally ignored. The only time his name was mentioned was in relation to who Pacquiao would fight next. Not who the guy that beat him would fight next, who Pacquiao would fight next.

For a while there it appeared to be a foregone conclusion that we’d get a sequel to June 9’s comedy, but that all changed last week.

Via Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin:

Having ran out of marquee names to fight, Manny Pacquiao looks willing to forego a fight in November to avoid any complications and risks as long as a mouth-watering matchup with Floyd Mayweather can be made in the first quarter of 2013.

…nothing concrete has been reached by Pacquiao and Arum, fuelling suspicions that the Filipino star is amenable to remain inactive for the rest of the year provided that he will meet Mayweather next.

That’s the smart play for Pacquiao, obviously, and I said this much in a piece I wrote earlier. What I didn’t originally think about, though, was how not fighting Pacquiao in November would also be the smart play for Bradley.

Whether we like it or not, on paper, he was the one who emerged victorious last June. So long as Bradley doesn’t have to take on the Filipino champ again, maybe he could ride that wave of momentum to some deserved prominence.

If Bradley fights Pacquiao again in November – he’ll lose. And once he loses, it will be nearly impossible for him to reclaim whatever his current position among boxing’s elite is. If he doesn’t fight Pacquiao in November, however, he can fight someone moreso on his level, and then maybe he’ll actually prove himself as a top-tier guy in the sport.

Skipping a Nov. 10 bout is a win-win for both Pacquiao and Bradley. It allows Pacquiao to rest up for Mayweather, and it allows Bradley to fight someone who he can actually do well against.

We know what the right decision is. Will these guys make it, though?

We’ll find out soon enough.

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