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WBC orders Spence vs. Bradley fight

Errol Spence Jr Timothy Bradley

By Dan Ambrose: The WBC has ordered a fight between former two division world champion Tim Bradley and #1 IBF Errol Spence Jr. to take place for a WBC welterweight eliminator match. Top Rank, the promoters for the 33-year-old Bradley, are reportedly going to speak with him to see if he’s interested in fighting the 26-year-old Spence.

It would be a risky move for Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs) to take the fight with Spence, because he’s bigger, stronger, younger and probably just an all-around much better fighter. It could be a disaster for Bradley if he and Spence were to fight.

If Bradley did take the fight and somehow beat Spence, then he would be in line to fight for the WBC title at some point.

However, Spence is waiting for a purse bid to take place between him and IBF 147lb champion Kell “Special K” Brook for February 26. Brook has a medical extension for his surgically repaired right eye. It’s unclear if Brook will be taking the fight with Spence or vacating his title in order to fight Amir Khan, who said this week that he’d like to fight Brook in March or April as a tune-up to get him ready for the winner of the Danny Garcia vs. Keith Thurman fight.

“So WBC orders Tim Bradley vs. Errol Spence Jr. in welterweight division,” said Lance Pugmire. “[Top Rank vice president Carl] Moretti says Spence in talks with Special K Brook. Moretti granted one week to talk to Bradley about his interest in Spence. That’d be a great fight. Spence is waiting until mid-February for Brook’s medical extension from IBF so a Bradley fight would take a while.”

Boxing fans would like to see a fight between Bradley and Spence, because it would be a fight that had action from start to finish. Top Rank boss Bob Arum might not want to see Bradley take that fight with Spence. It would be a bad match-up, and it wouldn’t be a Top Rank in house fight for him, considering that Spence is with Al Haymon and not Arum’s fighters.

Bradley hasn’t fought in the last eight months since his one-sided 12 round unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao last April on HBO PPV. That was the third time the two fighters have faced each other. The pay-per-view numbers for the Pacquiao-Bradley 3 fight were by far the lowest of their three-fight series.

Bradley could probably get another fight against Pacquiao or for the WBO belt he holds after he vacates it or loses it at some point. Bradley is still ranked high by the World Boxing Organization, so he would in line to fight for that title at some point in the future against someone like Jessie Vargas.

Spence seems more interested in taking the IBF title from Brook. It’s a fight that would raise Spence’s stature more than if he beat the much smaller Bradley, who can’t punch. That fight would be a likely mismatch due to Bradley’s small 5’6” height and his bad habit of slugging it out with his opponents. Bradley wouldn’t be able to fight Spence on the outside like he did against Jessie Vargas last year, because Spence has really long arms and he would pick him off with jabs and then walk him down to knock him out with body shots.

Top Rank would likely let Bradley go ahead and fight Spence if he were willing to go in that direction. Bradley would need to do a lot of waiting around for his his next title fight, because there’s litlt echance that Top Rank will put Bradley back in with Pacquiao for a fourth fight in 2017.

The Pacquiao-Bradley series is played out like an old oil well. With Pacquiao having very few fights left in his boxing career, it’s doubtful that Top Rank will use up one of them in another wasteful fight against Bradley. It arguably bone-headed move by Top Rank to put Pacquiao and Bradley back in the ring for a third fight when they had Amir Khan that was willing and ready to fight Pacquiao.

Instead of Top Rank matching Khan against Pacquiao, they put Bradley back in with Pacquiao and the results saw the fight bringing in around 400,000 buys on HBO PPV. In the meantime, Saul Canelo Alvarez turned around and fought Khan and they brought in 600,000 buys on HBO PPV.

It’s still unknown what Kell Brook is going to do for his next fight. If he gets the fight against Khan, then he’s going to need to vacate his IBF title. Brook can’t just ignore Spence, because he’s his mandatory challenger. Brook would need to vacate his IBF title. I think it would be a good career move on Brook’s part to find some reason to not take the fight against Spence, because this guy is all wrong for him.

Everything about that fight is all wrong for Brook. It’s the wrong time in his career for him to be taking on a young lion like Spence. Brook was broken down and stopped in his last fight by Gennady “GGG” Golovkin on September 10.

It’s just not just the eye injury that Brook suffered in that fight that was bad news for him. It’s also the punishment that he absorbed. Brook was exposed as a fighter that couldn’t stand his ground and that was forced to move to try and survive. If Brook takes on Spence in early 2017, then it’s quite likely that he’ll be knocked out by the 26-year-old American.

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