Originally posted on Boxing Watchers  |  Last updated 2/6/12

I'll admit that there were times over the past year or so that I wasn't sure that Timothy Bradley and his team were making the right calls in regards to his career path. He passed up some fights that looked both financially and professionally promising, and even after he signed with Top Rank, all he's had to show for it until today is a victory over comically faded Joel Casamayor.

The key phrase, though, is "until today." ESPN's Dan Rafael is reporting that Manny Pacquiao has agreed in principle to the parameters of a June 9 fight against Bradley. The bout would take place on June 9 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand, and Bradley would move up from 140 pounds to 147 to face Pac-Man.

At the risk of stating the obvious or wearing out a cliche even more, this is quite simply like hitting the jackpot for Bradley. It makes all of the criticism he faced for passing on the big payday offered by Amir Khan meaningless, because he kept his eyes on the ultimate goal and ended up in a position that every boxer within two divisions of welterweight wishes he was in.

Yes, it required several things to go his way, none bigger than a potential Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather mega-fight failing to come together. But since negotiations between the sport's two true superstars have always been frought with peril, maybe that wasn't such a big risk to take. Rafael suggests that Bradley wasn't even Plan B, needing Miguel Cotto to refuse to come down in weight for a rematch with Pacquiao as well.

None of that matters now. Bradley will command more attention than he's ever received in his career to date, and by a wide margin. Top Rank will have to build some type of narrative leading up to the fight since he's not the same type of character as Mayweather, but I think it can be done. Contrasting Bradley as a hungry, humble challenger to the rock star-like atmosphere that invariably surrounds Pacquiao at this point in his career would play out nicely on 24/7, for instance.

And when fight night arrives, Bradley would appear to have as good a chance as anyone not named Mayweather to come out on top against Pac-Man. At least that's the theory, since he's a young, quick guy with great fundamentals and a non-stop motor. If Pacquiao really is starting to slide, as many believed after watching his third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, it could very well come down to Bradley landing more and Manny landing harder, and those kinds of scraps can be pretty intriguing.

I'd stop short of saying I think Bradley will win. I do think he's got a better chance than Cotto does against Mayweather, and he'll be making more money than he's ever made (potentially more than he's made in all his pro fights combined!) at the same time. I thought Cotto was the big winner of the latest twist in the Pacquiao-Mayweather saga, but Bradley just leaped over him. Not too shabby if you ask me. 

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