Bradley vows to regain welterweight title

After pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao in the dud of the century on May 2, he declined to accept the welterweight belt he rightly had won from Pacquiao to unify with his own belts.

So now that 147-pound belt is vacant and Timothy Bradley Jr., who once held it, is happy to get the opportunity to fight for it again.

"I have a golden opportunity to get back on top and win my WBO title belt back on June 27,” Bradley said on Monday at a news conference in Los Angeles to formally announced his HBO main event against junior welterweight titlist Jessie Vargas, whom he meets at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. “I'm excited to be back in the ring with an undefeated champion. I look forward to the challenge and to take his ‘0’ away from him on June 27th."

Said trainer Joel Diaz, “Tim wants to be a world champion again. He wants to get back on top. He wants to wear the title belt. That is how much this fight means.”

Bradley (31-1-1, 12 KOs), 31, of Palm Springs, California, is a former junior welterweight and claimed a welterweight belt via his extremely controversial split decision win against Pacquiao in June 2012 -- one of the worst decisions in boxing history.

Bradley went on to defend the belt twice, outpointing Ruslan Provodnikov in the shockingly violent 2013 fight of the year followed by a split decision win against Juan Manuel Marquez later in the year.

Since then, Bradley is 0-1-1, losing a clear decision to Pacquiao in the rematch 13 months ago and getting a draw against Diego Chaves in December in a fight Bradley clearly deserved the victory in.

Now he has Vargas in front of him, a younger fighter and a hungry fighter. Vargas has fought many times at welterweight and is moving back up in weight for the fight with Bradley.

"I am taking on a fighter who is undefeated and a world champion. So I am going back to my roots in my training which got me on top,” Bradley said. “If I fight smart and use my quickness I will be fine.

“I want to put down Vargas, get him down on the canvas. I want to stop him.”

Vargas (26-0, 9 KOs), 26, brushed off Bradley’s tough talk but said Bradley was the opponent he has wanted all along.

"I always wanted to fight Bradley. He always got the big fights, something I always wanted,” said Vargas, a Los Angeles native living in Las Vegas. “In the ring I need to outsmart him, be more intelligent, show him who is the boss. I need a convincing win over Bradley to get the respect I deserve.

"I am thrilled to have this fight. I will be facing a very talented fighter and when you have two great talents with a lot of heart it always makes for a great fight. I always elevate my game against better competition. I am ready to show and prove that I am one of the best fighters out there. There is not one doubt in my mind that everyone will enjoy this fight.”

Vargas has had his share of close calls. For example, his title victory came by very debatable decision against Khabib Allakhverdiev on the Pacquiao-Bradley II undercard. But former pound-for-pound great Roy Jones Jr., Vargas’ trainer, said he is confident his fighter is on the rise and will be able to defeat Bradley.

"There is a lot of wear and tear on Bradley,” Jones said. “We all know what Ruslan Provodnikov took out of him. Jessie is going to make Bradley move, wear down, and go for the big strike."