WBO Welterweight Champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley was expected by many in the media to be announced as Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent this past Friday in what’s being built as Manny’s final fight before retiring to a life of politics in the Philippines. Pacquiao is tentatively scheduled to return on April 9th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and last week all indications were that Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 would be announced during Top Rank’s Tru TV telecast featuring Felix Verdejo’s return to the island with both potential Pacquiao opponents (Timothy Bradley and Terrence Crawford) in attendance. However, many boxing writers received word last Thursday that Pacquiao would not be ready in time to make an announcement on his next opponent, leaving both Bradley and Crawford in limbo.
Bradley is coming off one of his best performances in November, knocking out slugger Brandon Rios in his first fight under the tutelage of Teddy Atlas after parting ways with longtime trainer Joel Diaz following his fight with Jessie Vargas in June.
In an interview with FightHubTV, Atlas was asked what’s next for Bradley and how he rates his fighter’s most recent performance.
“I don’t know that’s up to the people that have been doing a tremendous job with Timothy throughout his career and that’s Bob Arum, Top Rank, and Monica his manager who happens to be his wife. They’ve done a great job and they continue to do a great job by making those decisions.
“He deserves a nine because he did pull out straight one time, which is one of those things you shouldn’t do. But boy I was so proud just to watch him do what he did under that kind of pressure with a guy coming at you like Rios. He’s a special kid. A kid that’s determined to do what he set his mind to do. A kid that learns that even after all that success, wants to allow himself room for improvement,” Atlas said.
While Bradley is still in the running for Pacquiao’s next fight, when it was rumored that Pac vs Bradley 3 was set in stone it was reacted with a collective groan by most media and fans, considering that most in the boxing world believe Pacquiao soundly defeated Bradley in both of their bouts.
Now with the delay of Pacquiao’s announcement of who he will fight for his last bout on April 9, nobody knows for sure who will get that assignment. Perhaps the disapproval of most boxing fans of a potential third go around between Pacquiao and Bradley had Top Rank reconsider or maybe just Manny can’t simply make up his mind. But with the eyebrow-raising statements Manny has made in the past couple of months, this writer is not so sure that it just comes down to Bradley and Crawford.
Whoever may be across the ring from Timothy Bradley for his next fight, his trainer Teddy Atlas will make sure he will get his fighter as ready as possible.
“I’ll get him ready for whoever Monica, his manager, his wife, and Bob Arum and Todd Dubeof of Top Rank. Whoever they decide is his next guy, I’ll start looking at film and I’ll start figuring out the way we should approach that fight,” said Atlas.