WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley signed a $5 million contract on Thursday evening to face WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, according to a report by Kevin Iole of Yahoo!Sports.
It’s a fight that Bradley honestly believes he can win.
“This is nothing different for me. Manny is a great fighter, no doubt about it. How can you not respect him tremendously?” said Bradley (28-0, 12 knockouts), who signed with Top Rank in late September of last year with the expressed desire to face Pacquiao.
“He’s one of the best in the world and has been for a long time. But he’s human. He has two hands and two feet. He’s a man, just like me. He’s not God and I don’t fear him. I won’t fear the crowd and I won’t be intimidated. This is the moment I’ve worked my whole life for and I’m going to take full advantage.”
Pacquiao agreed to terms on Monday, according to his advisor, Michael Koncz, but had not officially signed. Koncz and Pacquiao are in the Philippines and unavailable for comment.
In his first bout under the Top Rank banner, Bradley scored an eighth-round stoppage of former four-time titleholder and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Joel Casamayor on the undercard of the main event during which Pacquiao (54-3-2, 34 KOs) earned a disputed majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez.
In January of last year, Bradley dethroned Devon Alexander as WBC junior welterweight beltholder by 11th-round technical decision, adding that crown to the WBO title that he already owned.
Bradley was subsequently stripped of the WBC belt by that organization based on inactivity, which allowed Erik Morales to become the first Mexican-born fighter to earn a fourth title in as many different divisions with a 10th-round stoppage over Pablo Cesar Cano.
Bradley last fought at 147 pounds in July of 2010, when he decisioned Luis Carlos Abregu, a fighter whose current record is 31-1, with 25 knockouts.
Pacquiao will take a 15-bout winning streak into his match up with Bradley, who believes that he will be the most difficult opponent he has faced in a while.
“He hasn’t fought anyone as young and hungry like I am in a long time,” said Bradley. “I am rough in there and I’m not afraid to mix it up. I know he’s physical, too, but he hasn’t seen anyone like me in a long time.”
Photo by Naoki Fukuda, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com