LAS VEGAS — Top Rank CEO Bob Arum confirmed reports that he is looking at other venues for a Dec. 15 defense by WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley due to the fact that Madison Square Garden is booked for that date.
Bradley (29-0, 12 knockouts) is coming off June’s controversial split-decision victory that dethroned eight-division titlewinner Manny Pacquiao, who has chosen a fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8 rather than a rematch with Bradley.
“Madison Square Garden is out for Bradley,” said Arum of a fighter who ended Pacquiao’s 15-bout winning streak that included eight knockouts. “Because on December 15, The Garden isn’t available and the Theater isn’t available because of a Christmas show.”
Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KOs) lost by disputed majority decision in November to Pacquiao, with whom he has also battled to a draw and lost by split-decision previously.
Marquez bounced back from the most recent loss to Pacquiao with April’s unanimous decision over Sergei Fedchenko for the WBO’s interim junior welterweight belt, which has since been “upgraded” by the organization to full title status.
“I had heard it through the grapevine that it was going to be Marquez, but for the most part, it is what it is. I don’t really think they really want to have to deal with me. I really don’t. Am I mad? Yeah. I’m mad, because the last couple of months have been fun and good, but I just wanted to be able to get Pacquiao again,” said Bradley.
“I wanted be to able to beat him convincingly without any controversy. That’s all that I wanted. He’s fighting Marquez, and everything, but I wanted another opportunity to silence all of the critics, and all of the world to show that I’m one of the best fighters in the world. That’s why I’m sad, that’s why I’m upset, but my career moves on.”
Along with Pacquiao, Bradley owns decision victories over IBF junior welterweight beltholder Lamont Peterson, former titleholders Kendall Holt, Junior Witter, Nate Campbell and southpaw Devon Alexander, and former four-time beltwinner and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Joel Casamayor, the latter by eighth-round knockout.
“I want him to be able to stand on his own without Pacquiao. I want him to dis-associate himself with Pacquiao. I want him to be Tim Bradley again,” said manager Cameron Dunkin of Bradley, who also has vanquished once-beaten Luis Carlos Abregu (33-1, 27 KOs).
“I don’t know if we can get him to go in New York, but I want him to fight on HBO in December, and take him and do a media blitz, because everyone who meets Tim Bradley loves him. None of that has changed. He was just in a fight where he got a decision, and it was controversial, but that’s not his fault.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com