Sports

Thank You Boxing Gods: Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley Not Imminent

| by Alex Groberman

Hallelujah, our pugilistic prayers have been answered.

Fear not, boxing loyalists who figured Timothy Bradley signing to Top Rank meant that a bout between him and Manny Pacquiao was imminent – Bob Arum says it isn’t.

Of course, for that to be true Arum would have to be committing an act that has been sort of foreign to him for the better part of the last 30 years. You know, actually telling the truth.

Beginning with the moment that rumors started floating around that Bradley would sign with Arum’s company and leading right through the day he put his name on the dotted line, the popular consensus has been that Bradley would get a shot at Pacquiao. Not because he deserved it. Not because anyone -- including Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach or the general public -- thought he should get it.

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Rather, mostly because he fit the general criteria for demanding a fight with the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world these days: he joined Top Rank and was on Arum’s good side.

Well, during a recent interview with ESPN Los Angeles, Arum begged to differ:

“First as everybody understands, people don’t believe me but I have been saying it for years, Pacquiao’s next opponent is up to him,” Arum said. “Do I make recommendations?  Yes, that is my job as a promoter.  I have never discussed with Manny an opponent after Márquez.

“Until November 12th, I have no idea who Manny is going to fight and made that plain to Tim and Cameron that we have not discussed this with Manny and we’ll see. As far as Manny is concerned after this fight maybe four more fights, if he is successful, before he becomes the Governor of Sarangani Province and retires from boxing.  There will be room, as long as Manny keeps winning, for these young fighters to test their skills against (him).”

So does that mean that a Pacquiao vs. Bradley showdown isn’t the foretold conclusion that most believe it is? Eh.

Arum is the king of the non-committal response, and his answers regarding his new signee facing off against his biggest star are more of the same. Essentially, his “wait until after November 12 to discuss Pacquiao’s next opponent” shtick, for all intents and purposes, is equivalent to a “no comment.” Arum doesn’t want to discuss it because he knows that it will happen because  it makes the most sense for him moneywise.

The truth is, without Pacquiao, Bradley quickly becomes another also-ran lost in the shuffle of moderately good boxers in what will undoubtedly go down as one of the worst periods (talent wise) in boxing history. With a fight against Pacquiao, however, Bradley gets a huge payday all the while raising his profile among the casual boxing fan.

And a big pay with the added bonus of raising his profile is incentive enough for Bradley to withstand a beating from the Filipino champ.

“We believe that because Tim is who he is – a great boxer and has a pleasing personality that we can make him a big star in the sport,” Arum said in that same interview.

Unfortunately, there’s no making him a star without pairing him against Pacquiao.

It appears as though we thanked the lord too soon.