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Bradley: I must beat Rios to get trilogy fight against Pacquiao

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By Dan Ambrose: WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs) has an outside chance of getting a trilogy fight against Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao if he can get past former WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios (33-2-1, 24 KOs) in their fight this Saturday night on HBO from the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Bradley’s promoter Bob Arum has already said that he’s one of the fighters that he’s looking at the match-up with Pacquiao if he beats Rios and looks good in their fight. With the high stakes for this fight, Bradley isn’t taking his eyes of the task at hand for this fight.

Bradley knows he can’t afford any slip-ups because if he loses or even struggles against Rios, then he can pretty much forget about a third fight against Pacquiao. Bradley has tough competition for the Pacquiao fight in Terence Crawford, Amir Khan and Danny Garcia.

None of those guys have ever faced Pacquiao before, and the boxing fans would likely rather have some new blood for Pacquiao to fight rather than having Bradley trotted back out for a third fight. But it’s not about what the fans want to see in terms of Pacquiao’s next opponent, it’s more about who Arum wants to see him in with.

If he decides he likes Bradley as the guy that faces Pacquiao, then that’s who you can bet he’ll be fighting. Right now, it’s looking like Crawford will get the fight unless Pacquiao is assertive and pushes for the fighter that he wants, whoever that is.

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I can’t imagine that Pacquiao will choose Bradley or Crawford. Pacquiao’s other options for fights against Amir Khan or Danny Garcia are far, far better than fights against those two guys. The money would likely be better against Garcia or Khan rather than Crawford or Bradley, unless Arum is going to subsidize him out of his own pocket in taking the lesser money fight.

“I know [a trilogy] is realistic, but the opportunity can’t be there unless I beat Rios,” Bradley said to the “I can’t think about the opportunity, because the opportunity I have in front of me is the only thing that’s important. So Pacquiao hasn’t even crossed my mind.”

With all the punishment that Bradley has taken in four out of his last five fights, he definitely can’t afford to overlook Rios. This guy is going to really go after Bradley on Saturday night and look to take his head off with every shot.

Bradley will the hand speed advantage like he did in his last fight against Jessie Vargas, but Rios is a lot more aggressive than Vargas with better punching power and a higher work rate.

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You won’t see Rios waiting until the 12th round before going after Bradley on Saturday night because he doesn’t fight like that. Bradley will have his chin tested from the 1st round on. If all Bradley is going to do is move, pot shot and hold, I’m not sure that it’ll be enough for him to get the win.

Personally, I don’t want to see Pacquiao fight Bradley again because it’s a fight that is already played out. If Arum doesn’t understand that then it’s pretty disappointing because he should know that this is another fight that won’t bring in a lot of PPV buys on HBO, and it won’t attract a lot of interest from the boxing community.

Arum has been wrong a lot lately with his fights for Pacquiao in putting him in with Chris Algieri, Bradley and Rios. The only good opponent that Pacquiao has faced in the last three years was Floyd Mayweather Jr. That fight was setup by Pacquiao himself rather than Arum.

“You don’t judge a fighter’s age chronologically. You judge them by the amount of hard punches and hard fights they’ve had,” Bradley’s new trainer Teddy Atlas said to Fighthub. “He [Bradley] is 32-years-old, and in certain fights he’s taken some big shots. We’ve worked really hard in correcting that. As for residual effect, I haven’t seen it. Every day I’ve watched him very carefully,” Atlas said.

The fact that Bradley was hurt by a non-puncher like Jessie Vargas in his last fight in June suggests that there is residual effects from some of the beatings that Bradley has taken in fights against Pacquiao, Diego Chaves and Ruslan Provodnikov in the last two years.

“He’s the kind of fighter who starts moving forward during the national anthem,” Atlas said to the

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