TIMOTHY Bradley’s methodical conquest of Juan Manuel Marquez in Las Vegas Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila) put him on top of the list of Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent.
But the projected return fight will happen only if Pacquiao beats Brandon Rios in their own welterweight bout in Macau on Nov. 24.
“That’s really the plan (to pit Pacquiao against the winner of Bradley-Marquez),” a Team Pacquiao insider told the Inquirer yesterday.
Bradley beat Pacquiao by a highly disputed split decision on June 9, 2012 and the unbeaten American, who appeared in a wheelchair during the press conference after that fight, said he was raring to prove that he was the rightful victor.
An independent group of experienced judges formed by the World Boxing Organization declared later that Pacquiao was the clear winner over Bradley.
Though he expressed interest in a rematch with Pacquiao, Bradley was pitted against Russian Ruslan Provodnikov, a former sparring partner of Pacquiao, last March 16, surviving a bruising battle and a 12th-round knockdown to win a close unanimous decision.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, got knocked out cold by Marquez with a second to go in the sixth round of their fourth battle last December.
Renowned promoter Bob Arum had offered both Bradley and Marquez a rematch with Pacquiao. Both refused the juicy offers, though.
Instead, they chose to slug it out for lower purses. Bradley got $4.1 million instead of $6 million, while Marquez settled for $6 million instead of $13 million.
Emboldened by his split decision over Marquez, Bradley couldn’t keep his mouth shut.
“I’ll fight anyone, including a bull,” he told USA Today yesterday.
Pacquiao, who was unable to watch the fight that dangled Bradley’s WBO crown because he was attending a church service in General Santos City, is expected to agree to a Bradley rematch.
Chief trainer Freddie Roach and Filipino trainer Buboy Fernandez watched the telecast of Bradley-Marquez, according to assistant trainer Nonoy Neri, who proceeded to Davao City yesterday following a break in Pacquiao’s training.