Timothy Bradley is being criticized for turning down an unification title… (Christina House / For The…)
This was supposed to be Timothy Bradley's weekend.
Instead, the unbeaten WBC and WBO junior-welterweight champion from Palm Springs has been torched by critics for not accepting a Saturday title unification date against Amir Khan and a $1.5-million-plus payday.
"I'm not hurting for money," Bradley said this week. "I've saved my money. I'm in a good position."
Britain's Khan, who'll instead fight veteran Zab Judah in an HBO-televised title bout at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, has accused Bradley (27-0, 11 knockouts) of being afraid to risk defeat.
Khan made Bradley, 27, an offer of a 50-50 split of United Kingdom pay-per-view revenue beyond the guaranteed $1.3 million HBO had promised Bradley to fight Kahn after his January victory over then-unbeaten Devon Alexander outside Detroit.
"He knew he'd get beat, that's why he didn't take the fight," Khan said of Bradley last week. "He's not an exciting fighter, can't even fill 2,000-seat arenas in his hometown."
Bradley counters he still wants to fight Khan — just not now, when his promoters Gary Shaw and Ken Thompson were due a sizable cut of Bradley's purse in the final fight of their contract.
Shaw and Thompson have sued Bradley to collect their share of the HBO-promised Khan purse, plus damages, and are seeking to stop Bradley from working under another promoter until their dispute is resolved.
The promoters in June distributed a letter to all major promoters advising them not to tamper with Bradley. Bradley said he's retaining his own legal team.
The dispute results mostly from the Bradley-Alexander bout.
Bradley and his manager, Cameron Dunkin, fumed the night before the Alexander fight when they learned from a financial disclosure form that Shaw — thanks to a hefty Pontiac Silverdome site fee — would pocket an estimated $600,000 while Bradley's fight fee was his guaranteed $1.1 million.
"I've never even seen Don King do something like this," Dunkin barked that evening.
Shaw answers that "Timmy got real bad advice" and opted to take the $1.1-million guarantee rather than accepting a 75%-25% split that would have paid him nearly $1.3 million.
Shaw's attorney has argued the promoters helped build Bradley's career, and they are entitled to compensation when the boxer has made it clear he was leaving them this year.
As a deadline loomed two months ago for Bradley to agree to the Khan fight, it became clear he wouldn't budge. Bradley said this week the Detroit ordeal "put me over the edge."
Said Shaw: "I don't understand how … you can pass up the opportunity to be the No. 3 fighter in the world with a win [over Khan]. Everybody would be running after Timmy if he had taken and won this fight."
Of Shaw and Thompson, Bradley said, "We've gone as far as we can together. At this point, I want to become a bigger name and get to the bigger fish."
Bradley said fighting Khan now is "too soon.… The fight can marinate a little longer."
Bradley insists the litigation won't stop him from fighting again this year. "My 10-year-old [stepson] can figure out what they want: money," Bradley said of the promoters.
One possible scenario is for Bradley to pay a settlement fee, allowing a promoter like Bob Arum to make a fight for Bradley — possibly on the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez card Nov. 14 — and allow Bradley to recoup the settlement.
On Saturday, Khan and Judah will fight for the IBF and WBA junior-welterweight titles.
If Bradley won a fight later this year on an attractive pay-per-view card, he would be positioned next year to either fight for a unification of the junior-welterweight belts, or be a possible foe for Pacquiao should Floyd Mayweather Jr. be unavailable again.
Bradley dismissed concerns about his extended layoff, noting he's "constantly training" but is happy he's at home this week because his wife, Monica, is due to give birth soon to the couple's first child.
"You know how I'd be feeling now if I had taken that fight? I'd be a nervous wreck," Bradley said. "I'm a family-first guy."