By Tim Fletcher: The winner of this Saturday’s fight between WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (32-1-1, 12 KOs) and Brandon Rios (33-2-1, 24 KOs) will have only three months [90 days] to fight #1 WBO mandatory challenger Sadam Ali (22-0 13 KOs), according to the World Boxing Organization. That’s not much time for the winner to heal up from what could be a very tough fight on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
“Per WBO, Bradley-Rios is for Bradley’s title. Winner has 90 days to face Sadam Ali, who blew $100K step aside for same outcome. #boxing,” Dan Rafael said on his Twitter.
While this might sound like a grueling ordeal for the winner of the Bradley-Rios fight, it’s actually kind of a meaningless thing. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is already talking about the winner of Bradley-Rios fight facing either Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, if he beats WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto on November 21st, or fighting Manny Pacquiao on April 9th next year, if Bradley is the one who emerges the victor on Saturday night.
Arum says Rios doesn’t have a chance of getting a second fight against Pacquiao due how badly he lost the fight to him two years ago in 2013 in losing a one-sided 12 round decision. As for the loser of the Bradley vs. Rios fight, Arum is saying that he’d like to match him against #5 WBO Jessie Vargas in 2016.
Vargas is one of Arum’s Top Rank stable fighters, and he’s coming off of a one-sided 12 round decision loss to Bradley last June. To be sure, it would be tough for boxing fans to have to sit through a second Bradley vs. Vargas mismatch. However, with the way that Vargas was able to stun Bradley with a big right hand in the 12th round in that fight, enough boxing fans would want to see a second fight between them to make it worthwhile for Arum.
It’s hard to imagine the winner of the Rios-Bradley fight facing a guy as big as Canelo Alvarez. I know Canelo isn’t a tall fighter at only 5’9”, but he’s huge in terms of weight. The guy weighs more than IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. The boxing world would prefer to see Canelo take on Golovkin rather than small welterweights like Bradley or Rios.
If you put the truck-sized Canelo in with small welterweights like Rios or Bradley, then it’s got mismatch written all over it. Rios and Bradley tend to rehydrate up in weight for their fights at welterweight, but neither of them are big welterweights. They arguably don’t belong in the 147lb division, and would likely be destroyed against the more solid welterweights like Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter or Kell Brook.
Sadam Ali has beaten Francisco Santana and Luis Carlos Abregu in his last two fights. Ali is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. If Ali picks up the vacated WBO 147lb title, then it would be interesting to see who he faces. I doubt that Amir Khan, #4 WBO, would bother facing Ali for the WBO title, because he seems to be more focused on getting a fight against Pacquiao.