Bradley wants Khan or Spence for comeback
By Dan Ambrose: Timothy Bradley (33-2-1, 13 KOs) says he would be interested in coming out of his three-year retirement to resume his boxing career if he can get a fight against Amir Khan or IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence, according to ESPN. Bradley, 34, hasn’t fought since losing to Manny Pacquiao by a 12 round unanimous decision in their trilogy fight in April 2016.
Bradley returning to face Khan or Spence would make big news, as those fighters don’t have a lot of huge names to fight in the 147 lb weight class. Spence has four fights in front of him in Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao and Danny Garcia. Once he goes through that small list of fighters, he would need to face Terence Crawford in a dual network fight for him to have someone else to fight. Bradley at least will give Spence or Khan another option to consider for a lucrative fight.
With the huge money being thrown about by streaming platforms like DAZN, it’s no wonder why Bradley would be tempted to return to the ring. Bradley has a gig as a commentator for ESPN. The money he would get in returning for one or two big paydays against Spence or Khan would likely be well above what he’s currently getting.
During Bradley’s pro career, he was signed with Top Rank during his prime, and he never fought the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr., Saul Canelo Alvarez and some of the other fighters that were on the other side of the fence. When Bradley had a chance to break free to get the fights against the likes of Mayweather, he chose to re-sign with Top Rank, so he ended up career fighting the likes of Diego Chaves, Jessie Vargas, Brandon Rios and a third fight with Pacquiao.
“I would come back for an Amir Khan fight and I would come back for an Errol Spence fight,” Bradley said to ESPN.com.
Bradley will be working the Terence Crawford vs. Khan fight this Saturday night for ESPN. The fight will be televised on ESPN PPV at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT from Madison Square Garden, in New York. Khan is going to be make a lot of money for the Crawford fight despite the fact that he’s no longer a major player in the 147 lb division.
With Bradley coming back from a long layoff, he could get in on the act and make some big money too. Many boxing fans forget that Khan was recently in the same situation Bradley was in with him being out of the ring from 2016 to 2018. Khan came back last year and defeated two soft touches in Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas, and now he’s set to make what could be a $9 million payday as the B-side opponent for Crawford on ESPN PPV.
Bradley says he wants to fight Spence “just because he’s the boogeyman. I want to come back and fight the best.”
Obviously, Bradley wouldn’t rate a fight against the unbeaten Spence (25-0, 21 KOs), but then again, Mikey Garcia didn’t deserve a fight against Spence either, and he still got it.
The way Bradley looked in his last three fights of his career against Pacquiao, Jessie Vargas and Brandon Rios, he’d be little more than food for Spence. It wouldn’t be competitive unless Spence took it easy on him the way that he appeared to be doing at times in his fights against Mikey and Lamont Peterson. Spence didn’t look to try and bulldoze those guys, and it’s hurt his reputation with some boxing fans. Spence allowing Mikey Garcia to go the full 12 round distance without knocking him down or hurting him, it made him look bad in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. It’s bad news for Spence to be taking it easy on his over-matched opposition. That’s the whole problem with Spence fighting an old timer like Bradley. Spence might feel sorry for Bradley and carry him the full 12 round distance in the way that he appeared to do with Mikey.
If Bradley wants to maximize interest in a potential fight with Spence or Khan, he needs to get at least one or two fights under his belt first against credible opponents. The fans don’t want to pay to see a guy coming back just for the sake of a payday, which is how the boxing public would see Bradley if he returned now and insisted on being given a title shot straightaway against Spence. Being out of the ring for three years and being given a title shot without earning it, would look wrong. It would appear that Bradley is being given preferential treatment due to things that he did in the past. For boxing to be seen as a true sport, and not as something similar to professional wrestling, fighters should have to earn title shots and not given to them. If Bradley could come back and beat the likes of Yordenis Ugas, Sergey Lipinets or Josh Kelly, then he should be given the chance to fight for a world title against Spence. But for Bradley to just come back and be given a title shot in front of contenders that have been working hard to get a crack at a title, it would just seem wrong. Bradley can fight Khan, and no one would mind that match. It would be a meaningless fight between past their best fighters. It would be a nice old timers fight. Bradley shouldn’t be getting a world title shot against Spence unless he goes through someone tough like Ugas, Kudratillo Abduqaxorov or Lipinets. Could Bradley beat those guys at this point in his career? Probably not.