MANILA, Philippines – Unbeaten American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. firmly believes that he should be the obvious choice of opponent for Filipino boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, who makes his ring return later this year.
Bradley shocked Pacquiao – and the rest of the boxing world – when he defeated the Filipino fighter via a highly controversial split decision in their June 9 match.
Because of this, Bradley said Pacquiao should choose to fight him again, especially if he wants to regain his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight belt.
“This guy can choose anyone he wants to fight, but I don’t know how he can pick anyone other than me,” Bradley said in an interview with Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times.
“If he wants his belt back, he has to come through me to get it. He relinquished it to me,” he added.
Bradley said that at the end of the day, the controversy regarding his victory does not matter.
“I’ve got a win on my resume over Manny Pacquiao, and it’s going in the history books that way,” he said.
Pacquiao is set to return to the ring on either November 10 or December 1. He has a rematch clause with Bradley, but can also choose to fight Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez again or even go for a rematch with Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto.
But it is unsure if Bradley will get the rematch he wants since his first fight with Pacquiao did not do well in the box-office. It garnered less than a million pay-per-view buys, a far cry from the 1.4 million buys for Pacquiao’s trilogy bout with Marquez last November.
But the American fighter pointed out that their fight was held at the same night of Game 7 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference.
“It was (also) my first time on pay-per-view. First-timers on pay-per-view don’t do big numbers,” Bradley said.
He believes that a rematch with Pacquiao will do better numbers precisely because of the controversy created by their first meeting.
“As far as a rematch, we’ll meet a number everyone will be happy with because of the controversy. ‘This time Pacquiao will beat him.’ ‘Bradley will do better.’ People will know who I am because of the controversy,” Bradley said.
He reiterated that contrary to what most boxing pundits and experts believe, Pacquiao did not rout him in their first fight.
“Honestly, I didn’t get crazy beat in that fight. It was competitive,” said Bradley.
The American fighter said he knows that “it is all up to Mr. Pacquiao,” but added that if the “Pacman” does not choose him, it would be his loss.
“If he doesn’t want to fight me, that’s on him,” Bradley said.