WBO President Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel has confirmed reports that Tim Bradley has vacated the organization’s junior welterweight belt in order to retain the welterweight version he won from Manny Pacquiao via controversial split-decision victory on June 9.
In doing so, it appears that Bradley (29-0, 12 knockouts) is set on seeking a rematch with Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs), whose 15-bout winning streak that included eight knockouts was ended with the loss at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Neither Bradley nor his manager, Cameron Dunkin, could immediately be reached for comment.
But the Bradley-Pacquiao contract already had contained a clause calling for a rematch on Nov. 10, although Pacquiao was widely reported to be considering a fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) in Mexico for that date.
Pacquiao scored a disputed majority decision victory over Marquez in November, this, after having previously battled through a draw and a split-decision win over Marquez.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said Pacquiao is considering both scenarios.
“I spoke to Manny last night. He’s considering all of the options,” said Arum. “I don’t think that you can say that a rematch with Bradley is ‘likely,’ but he could possibly get a rematch.”
During an exclusive interview with RingTV.com, Marquez cited Fernando Beltran, president of Zanfer Promotions as saying that Pacquiao was leaning toward facing him in November. Beltran co-promotes Marquez with Top Rank out of Mexico.
But Pacquiao recently hinted that he wanted a return bout with Bradley.
“My supporters shouldn’t worry,” Paquiao told The Associated Press in Manila, Philippines. “We’re going to get that title.”
Already the WBA’s junior welterweight titleholder, Marquez rebounded from the loss to Pacquiao with April’s unanimous decision over Sergei Fedchenko for the WBO’s interim junior welterweight belt.
The move by Bradley to welterweight makes Marquez the organization’s full titleholder and a four-division beltwinner.
“Marquez was the interim champion,” said Valcarcel. “So, now, with Bradley moving up to 147, that makes Marquez our 140-pound champion.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com