Bradley vacates WBO title ahead of third Pacquiao fight
MANILA, Philippines – The third fight between Timothy Bradley Jr and Manny Pacquiao will be a non-title fight as Bradley has vacated his WBO welterweight title, it was announced on Wednesday, February 10.
Bradley, 32, had been ordered to face 2008 US Olympian Sadam Ali, but chose to face the Filipino boxer in a higher profile bout.
Bradley, who won and lost the same belt in his two previous bouts with Pacquiao, became the interim champion when he beat Jessie Vargas in June of 2015 and was elevated to full status champion when Floyd Mayweather Jr elected not to pay a $200,000 sanctioning fee after defeating Pacquiao earlier that year.
WBO rules also dictate that a fighter cannot hold titles in different divisions simultaneously. Mayweather had also been in possession of the WBA junior middleweight title.
In a letter that was sent to WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel, Bradley admitted that it was a difficult decision to make and expressed his gratitude for the support that was extended to him by the Puerto Rico-based organization.
“This is a difficult decision, but one I have to make to give the fans the best fights as well as allow myself the toughest and biggest fights possible from both a competitive and financial perspective,” he wrote.
“I’d like to thank the WBO and it’s President, Paco Valcarcel for their support throughout the years and for allowing me to represent the organization as a two-time world champion,” Bradley added.
Valcarcel accepted the American boxer's resolution and plans to bestow a special recognition for the Pacquiao-Bradley III winner.
“Do know that we wholly understand your decision and commend you for always giving fans the best fights possible and doing what is best for your career at this important juncture,” Valcarcel said.
The available WBO welterweight strap will be at stake when Ali takes on former world champion Jessie Vargas in a scheduled 12-round contest on March 5 in Washington, D.C. – Rappler.com