- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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LAS VEGAS -- Although Timothy Bradley Jr. is defending his welterweight title against Manny Pacquiao and was the official winner of their first heavily disputed first fight in 2012, the rematch on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) is billed as Pacquiao-Bradley II.
It is boxing tradition that the titleholder and/or winner of a previous showdown is billed first. There are, of course, exceptions. Even when Oscar De La Hoya was challenging for somebody else’s title, he would be billed first because he is the bigger star by far. Same thing for Floyd Mayweather for all of his recent fights, except against De La Hoya, whom he challenged for a title.
Recently, one of the major sticking points to finalizing the June 7 fight between middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto was Cotto’s insistence that he be billed first rather than the champion Martinez. It almost brought down the fight until Martinez eventually gave in.
Bradley, however, said he doesn’t care about being billed second to Pacquiao, the much bigger star, and doesn’t feel disrespect because of it. Being announced as the winner is what is important to Bradley.
“Listen, boxing is not only a sport, it is a business as well. All parties need to understand that,” he said. “It could have been Bradley-Pacquiao, but my team and I, we worked together to put on the best possible show to make sure that everybody included -- my team, Top Rank, HBO -- is happy with the results at the end of the day. They came to me to ask me, and I said I don't have a problem with it. I know Pacquiao is a big name and everybody knows it, so Pacquiao-Bradley is OK.
“And I just basically negotiated everything else that I wanted to be treated like a champion. I want to walk out second. I want to be announced second. I want to pick my corner. It is all part of negotiations. That's what it's about, and I have no problem with it. I know Sergio Martinez has a problem with it, but Cotto is the name.”