Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley could be Floyd “Money” Mayweather’s next opponent, mainly because he fits all the criteria.
Bradley paved the way for a Mayweather bout after he regained the WBO welterweight title at the StubHub Center, in Carson, California on Saturday night.
Bradley scored a 12 round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten WBA light-welterweight champion Jessie Vargas, but the fight had a bizarre ending.
A big Vargas right hand had Bradley reeling around the ring after being rocked by Vargas when the bout was mistakenly waved off after the buzzer sounded, signaling 10 seconds were left in the round. The referee made a mistake but even if the fight had not been stopped prematurely, the 31-year-old Californian was not in enough trouble to be stopped in the final moments.
Controversy always seems to envelope Bradley’s fights. This one is the latest. He was heavily criticized in defeats of Manny Pacquiao, Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez, and then had an apparent triumph denied after a dubious draw with Diego Chaves last December.
Bradley has been offered a fight in Dubai against Sadam Ali, but the Mayweather mega-payday is a distinct possibility, partly because he is not a dangerous puncher.
Of Bradley’s 32 wins, only 12 have come through knockouts, and he couldn’t even knock down Vargas, who was fighting at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds for the first time. Bradley hit Vargas cleanly and repeatedly yet never rocked him.
Bradley is often at his best when boxing from the outside and using his defense, tactics that would suit Mayweather in his 49th and supposedly final bout. The only potential problem is that Bradley is a Top Rank fighter and Mayweather boxes for Showtime. But hostility between the two promoters has thawed recently so the match is doable.
Mayweather has in the past refused to do business with Top Rank, headed by his former promoter Bob Arum, and only agreed to face Pacquiao last month because it was the highest-grossing fight in boxing history. A lot of negotiating will have to be done, but Bradley is definitely on the Mayweather shortlist.
Given Bradley’s crowd-friendly style and his willingness to fight anyone, he will not be short of potential lucrative matches, even if the Mayweather bout does not happen.