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The fight between welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. and four-division champion Juan Manuel Marquez is on the move, getting out of the way of the mega fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, which was finalized on Wednesday night.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum announced in late April that Bradley and Marquez would fight Sept. 14 in the main event of an HBO PPV card at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. However, Arum said it with the caveat being that if pound-for-pound king Mayweather stuck to his plan to fight on that date that he would move Bradley-Marquez.
So, with the announcement that Mayweather and Alvarez would meet to unify junior middleweight titles on Sept. 14 on Showtime PPV at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Arum stuck to his word and told ESPN.com on Thursday that he is moving Bradley-Marquez to Oct. 12, still at the Thomas & Mack Center.
"What happened was Mayweather reserved Sept. 14 with the (pay-per-view) industry and we always said that we will respect that reservation and that if he went against anybody we would move," Arum said. "We had a second hold on that date. Now, once he elected to go on that date then we shifted to Oct. 12. That is why we had Thomas & Mack on hold for both dates. This is something we completely anticipated."
Like many, Arum was skeptical that Mayweather would fight twice in four months -- he beat Robert Guerrero on May 4 -- since he has not done that in many years. But when Mayweather announced the Alvarez fight, Arum said he was relieved.
The move is no sweat to the fighters either, who have known the date switch was possible.
"I didn't care and I talked to Tim (on Wednesday night) and he was like, 'That's fine. Hey, (Mayweather-Alvarez is) great for boxing, right?' I said, 'Yeah, it's a huge fight. You don't really care about moving do you?' He said no," said Cameron Dunkin, Bradley's manager. "Whether Timmy and Marquez are fighting in September or October doesn't matter to me and Tim doesn't care either. We both said the same thing -- that (Mayweather-Alvarez) is great for boxing and who cares if we have to move a month."
Dunkin said he just wants to make sure that Bradley does not overtrain with another month to wait.
"He said he'll start doing some light workouts in early June," Dunkin said. "Nothing crazy. He just wants to keep his weight down and do some running. But he's got to be careful not to overtrain because he loves to fight and he gets excited about a fight and wants to train like 10 or 12 weeks when he should be doing about eight weeks."
Two other fighters managed by Dunkin are likely to be featured on the undercard in separate bouts, 24-year-old welterweights Jessie Vargas (22-0, 9 KOs) of Las Vegas and Mikael Zewski (19-0, 15 KOs) of Quebec.
Vargas is coming off his biggest win, a 10-round decision in a tough fight in which he survived a knockdown to outpoint Wale "Lucky Boy" Omotoso on HBO on March 16. Zewski is first scheduled to face Damian Frias on June 15 in Dallas on the undercard of Mikey Garcia's first featherweight title defense against Juan Manuel Lopez.
Arum said both are penciled in for the undercard and that both could wind up on the HBO PPV telecast if they face quality opponents.
"Vargas will be on the pay-per-view if he fights somebody," Arum said. "We're not doing appearance fights on the pay-per-view. If he fights somebody real he will be on the pay-per-view, like (newly signed Top Rank fighter Luis Carlos) Abregu. That's a good fight. You don't want us to put on junk on the pay-per-view. Zewski, same thing. He is fine to be on the pay-per-view but is he ready for prime time and will he fight somebody?"
Arum said he hopes to finalize Vargas against Abregu (35-1, 28 KOs), who is from Argentina and whose only loss came by decision to Bradley in 2010.
Arum said another fighter who could be on the pay-per-view telecast is light heavyweight brawler Seanie Monaghan (18-0, 11 KOs), a New Yorker who is a popular ticket seller in New York.
"We're talking about having him on," Arum said. "We want to put on somebody that the New York papers will write about. He's a pretty good draw and he makes great fights, so that's somebody we are considering."
If Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs), who turns 40 in August and is coming off a sensational one-punch knockout of rival Manny Pacquiao in December, beats Bradley in the main event, he will stand alone as the only fighter in Mexico's storied boxing history to win world titles in five weight classes. He has already won titles at featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight and junior welterweight.
Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs), who turns 30 in August, of Palm Springs, Calif., is a former unified junior welterweight champion who moved up to welterweight and claimed a world title in June 2012 with a massively controversial split decision win against Pacquiao. But Bradley made his first title defense a memorable one on March 16, winning a unanimous decision against Russia's Ruslan Provodnikov in a hellacious fight of the year candidate in which Bradley was nearly knocked out in the first and second rounds and also survived a clean knockdown in the last 15 seconds of the fight.