Bradley: I want to fight the bestApril 11, 2014
Welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr is one of boxing's few elite fighters who is undefeated, and while he likes that good-looking zero on the end of his record, it doesn't mean everything to him.
"Being unbeaten is a great accomplishment, but it's not everything in boxing, honestly," said Bradley, who puts the unbeaten record up against Manny Pacquiao in a rematch of Bradley's controversial 2012 win on Saturday night (HBO PPV) at the MGM Grand.
"I feel that fighting the best fights and giving the fans what they want is the best thing for you and your career. A lot of guys that are legendary have losses on their records, but they fought the best fighters in the world, and that's what is important to me. I want to be one of the best fighters in the world.
"Maintaining my health is great, but every dog has his day. This next fight - I may lose this Manny Pacquiao fight, but you never know. Things happen in the ring when you least expect it. It only takes one punch to end the night, and we know that. At the end of the day, my '0' doesn't really mean that much to me. It's just there. I have beaten everyone they have put in front of me; that's all it means. But I just want to fight the best."
Pound-for-pound king and welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr is also unbeaten but has the opposite view of Bradley. Mayweather cherishes his perfect mark. It means everything to him.
If Bradley beats Pacquiao and Mayweather unifies belts against Marcos Maidana on May 3, a Mayweather-Bradley fight would make all the sense in the world.
It would pit undefeated American champions in one of boxing's biggest fights. However, it is unlikely to happen because Mayweather is under contract to Showtime and works with Golden Boy Promotions while Bradley fights on HBO and recently signed a contract extension with Top Rank. None of those entities work with each other.
But wouldn't Bradley want the opportunity to match his skills against Mayweather's?
"It's not how badly I want to fight Mayweather," Bradley said. "Mayweather already knows I will fight him any day and any place. It's how bad Mayweather wants to fight me. Whether or not I fight him, my career is going to go on and my legacy is going to keep on building. Whether he is there or not, I am going to keep on winning against the best opponents out there."
Bradley said that even if he never faces Mayweather his legacy won't suffer, the same way Pacquiao's hasn't suffered because he and Mayweather have never fought in a soap opera that has played out for the past several years.
"At the end of the day, Mayweather is his own boss, and if he wants to see me, he can come see me," Bradley said. "I've got people that work for me and are building me - my wife [Monica], who is also my manager, [Top Rank president] Todd duBoef, Top Rank, HBO, and if Mayweather wants to come see me, he's his own boss, and he says that over and over and over.
"If he wants the fight to happen, then so be it. I will never shy away from the best and Mayweather is the best right now. At the end of the day, everyone is going to want to see the fight, but the business side of boxing is totally different and it's not our fault; it's just the way it is."
This article originally appeared on ESPN.com