At one point, in late June, Pacquiao hinted that the favorite might be Bradley, who ended a 15-bout winning streak by Pacquiao that had included eight knockouts.
“My supporters shouldn’t worry,” Paquiao told The Associated Press in Manila, Philippines. “We’re going to get that title.”
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum has hinted that Pacquiao might seek to the return bout with Marquez rather than a contracted return bout against Bradley.
Marquez lost by disputed majority decision in November to Pacquiao, against whom he had battled through a draw and a split-decision loss previously.
“I don’t think that you can say that a rematch with Bradley is ‘likely,'” said Arum in late June. “But he could possibly get a rematch.”
There is also Cotto, who is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., who added Cotto’s WBA junior middleweight belt to the WBC welterweight crown he already owned in May.
If not Pacquiao, then Bradley said that he would also consider a rematch with IBF junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs), who is 3-0-1 with two knockouts since suffering his lone loss to Bradley by decision in December of 2009.
Peterson was restored as the IBF’s beltholder, a crown he won from Amir Khan last December, after a review of his medical records by organization-appointed doctors ruled that the testosterone discovered in Peterson’s failed drug test in March was not at a level that would enhance his performance.
Based on the findings of the appointed physicians, the IBF deduced that Peterson should not be stripped of the title and has ordered the Washington, D.C., native to face former beltholder Zab Judah, a former welterweight champ and junior welterweight titleholder. But Peterson said that he would rise in weight to face Bradley if it meant a shot at redemption.
Rumors have circulated, as well, that Pacquiao might also eschew a fall bout to set up one in 2013 opposite Mayweather, although Arum and Pacquiao’s advisor, Michael Koncz, have publicly dismissed that scenario.
During this Q&A, Bradley shared his thoughts about the future, as well as his assertion that he is fully recovered from pulled ligament and tear damage suffered in both feet during the fight which he claims limited his mobility.
RingTV.com: What are your thoughts about whether or not you’re going to get the Pacquiao fight?
Tim Bradley: [Laughs.] A few days ago, you know, I stirred the pot a little bit. I started something, to tell you the truth, man, I haven’t heard anything.
To be honest with you, I’m not sure what’s going to go on. I’m not sure if I’m going to be fighting this guy or not. I’m not sure if he wants to fight me any more or not. Like I’ve said before, man, I’m too high of a risk for these dudes, man.
I’m too high of a risk. It’s plain and simple. I’m one of the best in the world, if not, the best in the world, hands down, man. And, you know, I think there is a possibility that he might go a different route. I think that he might try to bypass me.
I don’t know why people are saying it, but Pacquiao did not dominate me whatsoever. Whatsoever. I’ve read, “he dominated Bradley for 10 rounds.” What? Dude, you’ve got to be kidding me. But it’s just funny to me.
Being that it was a controversial fight, you know, I would think that you would want to redeem yourself, you know what I mean? You should want to redeem that loss. But I really don’t know. I don’t know what else to say or think.
RingTV.com: Why do you think he appears to be re-examining whether or not to fight you again?
TB: I don’t know. I’m not sure what he’s thinking. For the most part, I’m not sure what’s going to go down. But I’m a problem for anybody. I’m a problem for anybody, and that’s the truth of the matter, baby.
I had two injured feet, and he was supposed to knock me out. Everybody — a lot of people — were thinking that I was going to get knocked out, and that didn’t happen. I ended up pulling off a controversial win. You know what I mean?
The fight was a lot closer than everybody thought that it was going to be. I know that he thought it was a close fight. I felt that, at the time, when I was in the ring, that it could have gone either way.
You know, nobody complained when Marquez got robbed the first fight. When he got robbed the second and third fight when they fought in Vegas. But that’s ridiculous.
RingTV.com: If Pacquiao were to choose Marquez or Cotto over you, would you consider that more of a business decision or more a move made out of his concern that he could lose a rematch with you?
TB: I believe that it’s both. I believe that he’s scared, and I believe that he would be doing it out of business. So I believe both.
But for the most part, it is what it is. I’m not going to chase nobody. I’m the champ. I can fight anybody I want to fight. So at the end of the day, it’s whatever.
TB: Why not? I mean, all of these fights out there are possible. I’m up for any of them. I’m up for the best fight, though. I’m looking for the best opponents out there. I’m not looking for any tuneups or any B-class fighters.
I’m looking for the best, you know? And that’s pretty much who I’m going to try to fight. If that fight with Peterson makes sense, then of course, we’ll take it. But I’m looking to take forward steps and not backward steps.
You know what I’m saying? I’m looking for the bigger fish out there. I’ve been in the ring with some of the best fighters in the world. If Manny Pacquiao doesn’t want to fight me, then I’m looking for a Floyd Mayweather fight.
Or I’m looking for a Miguel Cotto fight. I’m looking for these top dogs that have been around for a long time. Those are the types of fights that I’m looking for. I belong in the ring with these guys.
Antonio Margarito lost his eye, and, basically, his whole career by fighting this guy, Manny Pacquiao. But, man, me? I guess that I got my feet broken up against Pacquiao [laughs.] I guess I got my feet broken.
But for the most part, man, he didn’t hurt me at all, man. He didn’t hurt me with nothing. People might say, “well, you got your feet broken because you were running around the ring.” But I’m like, “nah, I wasn’t running, I was boxing, baby.”
That’s what I was doing all of the time that I was so-called “running,” and this is boxing. So I did what I was supposed to do. But if Pacquiao’s going to take the route of fighting somebody else, then that’s fine.
I have options. I’m the champion. I feel as if I’m the No. 2 fighter at 147 pounds, and that’s behind Floyd Mayweather. Once Floyd Mayweather flattens this guy, then me and Floyd Mayweather are going to get it on.
RingTV.com: Flattens who?
TB: I’m saying that once Floyd flattens Manny Pacquiao, which is going to happen if they ever fight, then me and Floyd can get it on. I mean, that’s easy work for Floyd.
RingTV.com: How are your feet?
TB: I’m fine. I’m fine, man. I’m good. I’m getting around. I actually start running on Monday. You know, I’m back. I’m good. I’m healthy and I’m just ready to get back into the ring and to get in shape and to get ready.
Once Pacquiao makes up his mind, and if he’s not fighting me, then I’m ready to look for another option, man. If it’s me, then great. If it’s not, then I know why.
I think that we would all know why. It’s plain and simple, I mean, I don’t need to chase anyone. I’m the champ. So everybody wants my spot.
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com