But first, Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs), THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight, will defend his WBA belt against the magazine’s No. 8-rated 135 pounder, once-beaten British contender Johnny Murray (31-1, 18 KOs), on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto–Antonio Margarito II HBO Pay-Per-View event at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 3.
Murray suffered the sole loss of his 32-fight career in July, an eighth-round knockout loss to Kevin Mitchell (32-1, 24 KOs) during which he was floored in the final round.
Arum said that he hoped to land THE RING’s No. 1-rated featherweight Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs) in the ring against an opponent to be determined “probably in February.”
“A lot of things can happen in the interim, but that is the gameplan, for Gamboa and Rios to meet next year. I don’t know when, but it will be whenever we feel that the cake is baked,” said Arum.
“The Gamboa people want the fight with Rios, and I know tha Rios would like to fight Gamboa. So let’s see how quickly we can do that fight.”
Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) faces former four-time titleholder Joel Casamayor (38-5-1, 22 KOs) on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III pay-per-view show on Nov. 12.
Bradley-Casamayor will be Bradley’s first fight under the banner of Top Rank Inc., which signed him late last month. His biggest victories have come over former world titleholders Kendall Holt and Devon Alexander, as well as contender Lamont Peterson, with Alexander and Peterson suffering their lone defeats against Bradley
Bradley followed that up with his first defense, winning a battle of unbeatens by unanimous decision over Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs), whom Bradley dropped in the third round of their clash in December of 2009.
In January, Bradley dethroned Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) as WBC junior welterweight beltholder by 11th-round technical decision, adding that crown to the WBO title that he already owned.
But Bradley was stripped of the WBC belt by that organization based on inactivity, a move which opened the door for Erik Morales (52-7, 35 KOs) to become the first Mexican-born fighter to earn a fourth title in as many different divisions with a 10th-round knockout over previously-unbeaten Pablo Cesar Cano (22-1, 17 KOs) in Sept.
What most impressed Arum was Bradley’s near shutout of Peterson, who won maybe a round. Peterson next faces WBC/IBF titleholder and RING No. 1-rated junior welterweight Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) on Dec. 10.
“Well, I didn’t know much about Tim until the fight in Palm Springs where he fought Lamont Peterson, who, at one time, was under our promotion. I was captivated by Tim’s ability because Lamont Peterson is one helluva fighter, and I think that he’ll demonstrate that when he fights Amir Khan in December on HBO. I think that the way that he completely outclassed and beat a good fighter like Lamont Peterson really caught my attention,” said Arum.
“That, and then how he conducted himself and how he acted as a result of the pre-fight press conference and as a result of the post-fight, I realized that he had a very pleasing personality and something that would sell very, very well to the public once the public became aware of this fighter Tim Bradley and who he was and what kind of person he is.”
Pacquiao must first get beyond Marquez, whom Pacquiao has battled to a draw and a split-decision victory in 2004 and 2008, respectively …..
“I have never discussed with Manny an opponent after Marquez. Marquez is a very difficult opponent for Manny, as he proved twice because of his style, and Manny has his hands full with what I think is a new and improved Marquez who physically looks like a much bigger guy. When Manny fought him the first two times, he wasn’t knocking anybody out. But now, he has a whole string of knockout victories, so obviously, he’s sitting down on his punches and he’s a very dangerous opponent,” said Arum.
“After Nov. 12, I don’t know who Manny is going to fight. I really have no idea. I’ve said that plainly to Tim and [his manager] Cameron [Dunkin,] that we have never discussed this with Manny. But we’ll see. As far as Manny is concerned, if he’s successful, he plans to have four more fights before he becomes the governer of the Sarangani Province of the Philippines and retires from boxing. So ther will be room for many of these young men to test their skills agianst him.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com