Bradley stripped of WBC title

Less than a month after unifying two sanctioning organization junior welterweight belts, Timothy Bradley Jr. was stripped of his WBC version of the title Tuesday.

Bradley was stripped because he refused the WBC's deadline of agreeing to next fight mandatory challenger Devon Alexander.

As a mandatory challenger, Bradley won the title via split decision from Junior Witter in England on May 10, 2008, and defended via lopsided decision against Edner Cherry in September.

In his second defense, Bradley (24-0, 11 KOs) survived two knockdowns to outpoint Kendall Holt on April 4 in Montreal to also claim Holt's WBO belt.

Prior to the bout, the WBC announced that the winner would have two weeks to decide which belt he would keep, a deadline that was ultimately extended.

"As the former WBC champion, Timothy Bradley has definitely rejected to make his mandatory defense against Devon Alexander, who is the official challenger designated by the past 46th annual WBC convention celebrated in Chengdu, China," WBC president Jose Sulaiman said.

Alexander (18-0, 11 KOs), who scored a ninth-round knockout of Jesus "Chuy" Rodriguez last Friday, has been ordered to face Witter (37-2-2, 22 KOs) for the vacant title. There will be a purse bid on May 22 in Mexico City if the sides do not reach a deal before then.

Bradley was disappointed by the WBC's decision.

"Because of your support I was able to challenge Junior Witter for the WBC title last year and defend it and unify it, and for that I will always be grateful," Bradley wrote in a letter to the organization. "It is important that unified champions should be encouraged thus eliminating the title confusion that permeates the sport or the media that cover it and the fans who follow it.

"However, because the WBC has issued an edict to choose between titles, it is with a heavy heart that I relinquish my WBC title and allow the contenders below me to challenge for it," he wrote.

The 140-pound division's recognized world champion is Ricky Hatton, who defends his title against pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) in Las Vegas.

Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.