When it comes to choosing the next opponent for WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley, there are “a lot of fighters” being considered for his HBO-televised designated return date of Dec. 15, according to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
Pacquiao has chosen a fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8 rather than a rematch with Bradley. Marquez lost by disputed majority decision in November to Pacquiao, with whom he has also battled to a draw and lost by split-decision previously.
“There are a lot fighters in the mix for Tim Bradley,” said Arum. “There is [Andre] Berto, there’s [Lamont] Peterson, there’s [Ruslan] Provodnikov, and there’s [Robert] Guerrero. Right now, I’m not sure about who it would be.”
In May, Berto (28-1, 22 knockouts), a former IBF and WBC 147-pound beltholder, tested positive for the banned substance norandrosterone, forcing the cancelation of a remacth against Victor Ortiz that was secheduled for June.
In July, however, Berto was granted a one-year license by the California State Athletic Commission to fight in the state after having tested negative for “anabolic steroids and masking agents.”
Peterson is 3-0-1 with two knockouts since falling to Braldey by unanimous decision in December of 2009, and is coming off a disputed split-decision that dethroned Amir Khan as IBF junior welterweight titleholder in December.
The IBF allowed Peterson to retain the belt he won from Khan 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.
Peterson had claimed that it was for medical reasons that he had a testosterone pellet surgically implanted into his hip by Las Vegas-based Dr. John Thompson in November after breing diagnosed with an abnormally testosterone level.
The camps of Peterson and mandatory challenger and ex-beltholder Zab Judah have been given until Oct. 2 to make a deal to face each other, otherwise, a purse bid will be ordered, according to IBF Championships Chairman Lindsay Tucker.
Russian Provodnikov (22-1, 15 KOs) ia another 140-pounder who is coming off a second-round stoppage of Jose Reynoso in June. The victory represents Provodinkov’s fifth straight, his fourth by knockout during that run, and his second consecutive stoppage win.
Meanwhile, Guerrero (30-1-1, 18 KOs) scored his 14th consecutive win during a run that includes nine knockouts with a unanimous decision over hard-punching Turkish-born Selcuk Aydin (23-1, 17 KOs) during Guerrero’s welterweight debut in July.
A former two-time featherweight titleholder who also held a major belt at 130 pounds and two interim crowns at lightweight, Guerrero rose two weight classes to defeat Aydin. By defeating Aydin, Guerrero became the mandatory challenger to WBC beltholder to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Another fighter reportedly considered was unbeaten contender Kell Brook (28-0, 18 KOs), who turned down the offer and is scheduled to face Hector Saldivia on an IBF 147-pound eliminator bout on Oct. 20.
GUERRERO ‘READY TO…FIGHT’ BRADLEY
Guerrero is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, whose CEO, Richard Schaefer, said that Guerrero’s camp is in favor of the bout in response to a report that Bradley’s manager, Cameron Dunkin, is not requiring a rematch clause.
“If that’s the case, then we are ready to do the fight as well,” said Schaefer. “That’s good. That’s a step in the right direction to get this done. It would be champion versus champion. So we think that it’s a great fight.”
Dunkin could not be reached for an immediate comment.
IS ADRIEN BRONER-ANTONIO DEMARCO ON TAP?
For a time, Guerrero and stablemate WBO junior lightweight beltholder Adrien Broner (24-0, 20 KOs) had been involved in a Twitter war.
Broner (24-0, 20 KOs), who turned 23 in July, is coming off his fourth straight stoppage victory with an HBO-televised knockout of Vicente Escobedo in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati also in July.
Before entering the ring against Escobedo, Broner lost his WBO belt at the scales for missing the contracted weight of 130 pounds both the day prior to the fight and during a Saturday morning re-weigh.
Nicknamed, “The Problem,” Broner is next scheduled to appear — likely at 135 pounds — on an HBO-televised card that will include unbeaten heavyweight prospect Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell versus Johnathon Banks at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Nov. 17.
DeMarco, 26, scored his fifth straight win and his fourth by stoppage during that run opposite Molina, having last suffered defeat by ninth-round stoppage to the late Edwin Valero in February of 2010.
DeMarco’s promoter, Gary Shaw, told RingTV.com that he has reached an agreement with HBO to fight Broner.
“My side is done,” said Shaw. “We’re waiting to hear back from HBO.”
Schaefer still is working out the final details.
“As it relates to Broner, we’re working on finalizing that for Nov. 17. I’m discussing with HBO about the numbers, the license fees and so on,” said Schaefer. “I appreciate that HBO and Gary have finalized their side, and now HBO has to finalize the Broner side with us.”
GARY RUSSELL JR. COULD RETURN IN NOVEMBER, AND KHAN, IN DECEMBER
Undefeated featherweight prospect Gary Russell Jr. (20-0, 12 KOs), who turned 24 in June, is coming off June’s third-round stoppage of Chris Perez of Mexico.
A southpaw outt of Capitol Heights, Md., Russell could be back in the ring on Nov. 9 or 10, according to Schaefer.
“That’s one of the fights which we are finalizing with Showtime,” said Schaefer. “I hope that within the next day or so that I have more to report, because we have those Nov. 9 nd Nov. 10 dates. So we’re going to see how that’s going to work out. But the plan is for Gary to be back, probably Nov. 9.”
In July, Khan was knocked out in the fourth round by WBC titleholder Danny Garcia, who added THE RING and WBA belts to his repertoire.
Schaefer said Khan (28-3, 18 KOs) ia anxious to end his two-bout losing streak.
“Amir Khan wants to fight on Dec. 15, and we are currently having conversations with HBO about structured dates, money and opponents,” said Schaefer.
“So these are ongoing conversations. We’re just in the middle of those negotiations, and the plan is for Dec. 15, but again, there’s a lot of moving targets.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com