NEW YORK -- Welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. is supposed to be back in action March 16 and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has been saying it’s going to be a big-name opponent, but he won’t say who.
But from what I am told, Top Rank has a deal with Yuriorkis Gamboa to face Bradley in an HBO main event at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Gamboa, the 50 Cent-promoted former featherweight titlist, won an interim junior lightweight belt in December on the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV undercard in a deal made with Top Rank (Gamboa’s former promoter).
Gamboa would move up in weight to challenge for Bradley’s welterweight title, but there are issues of how high. My sources tell me that they have been unable to agree on an exact weight. Gamboa, at a huge size disadvantage, would like Bradley to come into the low 140s while Bradley (not far removed from being a champion at 140) is not keen on dropping weight, nor is he in love with the financial terms.
It remains to be seen if Bradley will take the fight. He hasn’t fought since June, when he got a gift decision (and a welterweight title) against Pacquiao.
He could have returned in December to fight a rematch with Lamont Peterson (the junior welterweight titlist who would have moved up in weight) on HBO for $2.3 million. But Bradley turned it down, even though he had decisively beaten Peterson a couple of years ago.
One of the reasons there could be issues closing a deal with Bradley -- and this is speculation, but some in the business believe could be legit -- is that he is also being considered as an opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 4.
Obviously, he would make way more money against Mayweather than Gamboa. And he wouldn’t have to lose any weight.
Some might ask how could a Mayweather fight be made, since Mayweather is with Al Haymon and Golden Boy is the main promoter of the event, and Haymon and Golden Boy have horrific relations with Top Rank, Bradley’s promoter.
I believe that if a Mayweather fight was presented to Bradley, that Top Rank, for the right seven-figure cut of the Bradley package, would allow him to go fight Mayweather and stay out of the promotion.
I can see it happening. If you’re Mayweather, Bradley is a better style fight for him than either of the two candidates being discussed for his next fight: Robert Guerrero (a physical southpaw) and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (a bigger man with good power). Bradley is right-handed, smaller and presents less problems than they do.
Maybe I’m being a conspiracy theorist here, but maybe, just maybe, the hang up in announcing Mayweather’s next opponent is because there are delicate talks going on behind the scenes for a possible fight with Bradley, whose attorney Gabriel Penagaricano, has a good relationship with Golden Boy through his recent dealings with the company on behalf of his top client, Miguel Cotto (Mayweather’s last opponent).
If Bradley vacates the March 16 date -- be it to fight Mayweather or because he won’t agree to terms for a Gamboa fight -- it would not surprise me to see Top Rank and HBO move junior featherweight titlist Nonito Donaire up a month (possibly to fight a unification bout with Guillermo Rigondeaux) and have him fill the date rather than go in April, which is the plan now.
All food for thought.