The cold war between Top Rank and Golden Boy stops a lot of good fights from happening. Not only that, but it can call for fighter’s with name value either re-matching someone they’ve already beaten, fighting another fighter that the fans may not feel are on the said fighters level, or even worse, a long layoff.
This could not be any more evident than with two Top Rank fighters in Brandon Rios and Timothy Bradley who have fights scheduled next month. Rios is doing it again with his fight of the year dance partner in Mike Alvarado, and Bradley is tangling with Ruslan Provodnikov, a fighter who has fought most of his fights on ESPN 2 so much that even Joel Diaz, the trainer of Bradley called Mr. ESPN2.
Rios and Bradley are coming off their biggest wins in their career, Rios stopped Alvarado last year and Bradley won a decision over Manny Pacquiao (whether you agree with it or not). With many of the sport biggest names and competition campaigning between 140-147 lbs, you would think the options would be different for both fighters in their perspective bouts. But because of promotional conflict between the two biggest promoters in boxing, the options are limited.
ThaBoxingVoice.com spoke to the manager of both fighters, Cameron Dunkin regarded two of his biggest clients and the fights they have ahead of them. On regards to Rios-Alvarado II, Dunkin stated, “There’s going to be a lot of opportunities for Brandon after this fight. Did I want the rematch no? But I didn’t want the first fight. Team Rios talked me into the fight, and they said we’d be alright. Alvarado was big and strong and undefeated and I wasn’t really excited about it and I’m not excited about this fight. But he’s making a lot of money and he’s excited and that’s my job to create opportunities and give them the fights they want. God willing if he wins this, we’ll get a Marquez and Pacquiao, same names that will be there for a Tim Bradley.”
But that’s a risky hedge on a bet in a fight that could be just as brutal as the first, especially with the styles both Rios and Alvarado fight with. With names on the other side like Danny Garcia, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, to name a few, Rios options are what they are and Dunkin isn’t in the business of playing fantasy matchmaker.
“Are we ever going to be in a position that these two companies can make a fight? I’d say no. All my guys no matter who they are, I’m going to where I know I can do business. Sometimes the options are limited. But if you’re fighting on HBO making well over a million, two million dollars, there’s nothing wrong with that. I know fans want certain fights and believe me; my guys are willing to fight anyone. But if it’s not doable it’s not doable. I have to go find opportunities and not play make-believe. It’d be great to make all these fights but you and I know some of these fights are just not going to be made.”
When it comes to Timothy Bradley and Provodnikov, it was a matter of activity for Bradley and not being shelved for a long time after his victory over Manny Pacquiao. Bradley was supposed to return December 15th of last year against Lamont Peterson, a fighter he had already beaten.
“Bradley couldn’t have fought earlier because of his foot injury. December 15th, he didn’t get an opponent he liked. I wasn’t thrilled about Peterson either. But the truth is the opposition is limited. We just need to stay out there and be active and those fights will happen. Marquez and Pacquiao are going to be there and not every fight can be a big fight. Sometimes you just got to stay busy. It’s staying busy and making money and a main event of HBO.”
Looking back at it however, there was some mention that Team Bradley somewhat regretted not taking the fight and now fighting a lower profile fight, especially when the rumor was Bradley was going to make over 2 million for the fight.
“It was 2.3 million for Bradley. He wasn’t excited about the fight. When you’re fighter isn’t excited you’re concerned. Not because he’s going to lose but because you want your fighter to enjoy his career. He felt like he was going backwards instead of going forward. He told me he wanted to do new things. I want to prove myself to be a great fighter. The money is great but it isn’t always about money.”
The money, aside, if Bradley doesn’t land Pacquiao or Marquez, his options might dwindle even more at 147 lbs and his proposal for fighting 3 times this year might not come to fruition. So then what?
“The truth is Golden Boy has signed a lot of 140 and 147lbers. That’s like 10-15 of the fighters and they (Top Rank) won’t work with each other. So rather then get involved in that mess. We have to find someone who is available to fight and willing to fight and not contractually obligated so we’re not in a situation like we were before. So in that instance yes, the options are limited,” explained Dunkin.
In an period of recycled fights and mismatches, that doesn’t bode well for fight fans.