Ever since his controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao in 2012, Timothy Bradley’s career has had a much different trajectory than what even he could have anticipated.
Despite significant victories over Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez, the boxing gods appeared to even things out when Bradley dropped a unanimous decision in a rematch with Pacquiao in 2014. What followed was an inexplicable split draw against Diego Chaves in December that reeked of judging incompetence (perhaps the boxing gods weren’t finished with Bradley yet?). Next was a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Jessie Vargas to claim the WBO “interim” title in a fight in which Bradley’s light-hitting opponent nearly stopped him in a final round that concluded with a controversial sequence of events.
There is no doubt Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs) has paid his dues over the course of his 11-year career and deserves big fights from here on out. It appeared Bradley was going to get his wish for his next fight against the always entertaining Brandon Rios, but the WBO has stepped in and named unbeaten, but relatively unknown, Sadam Ali as the mandatory challenger for Bradley’s title.
Although Bradley has enjoyed proving doubters wrong against stiff competition, the fighter from Palm Springs, Calif., says he feels he has earned the right to choose whom he faces next.
“From the options I was given, Brandon Rios was the one that makes the most sense,” Bradley told Yahoo Sports. “There are other names out there and bigger fights to be made, but they are all unavailable for whatever reason.”
As for Ali, despite his 22-0 record, it is evident to Bradley that his mandatory challenger doesn’t carry the kind of clout to earn a bout against him.
“Sadam Ali is a good undefeated prospect with a good win over Carlos Abregu,” Bradley said. “But, outside of that, he is relatively unknown. I have a couple years left so I want the biggest fights available to close out my career.”
One of the biggest fights that Bradley had his eye on was a showdown with Floyd Mayweather. Considering that Bradley had a victory over Pacquiao and Marquez, along with a pretty impressive résumé, in the back of his mind he thought the phone would ring with a Mayweather offer. That phone call never came, and Bradley will have to watch the undeserving Andre Berto take on the pound-for-pound king. Although Bradley has never had the opportunity to test himself against Mayweather, Bradley says he won’t cry over spilled milk and will move on with his career.
“Floyd gave the fans the fight that they wanted in his last fight,” Bradley says while shrugging off the notion that Mayweather has purposefully avoided him. “It wasn't the fight of the century, but it was a good boxing lesson. And if he believes he has earned this ride off into the sunset then that's what it is.”