Timothy Bradley defeated Jessie Vargas in a unanimous decision on Saturday night in Carson, California, but the two boxers could meet again in the near future. Even though Bradley was the clear winner on the scorecards, a rematch could be in the works due to the bizarre conclusion of a fight that ended prematurely.
The judges’ scorecards read 117-111, 116-112 and 115-112, but Vargas nearly stole a win in a controversial finish. An overhand right staggered Bradley with 20 seconds left in the final round, but referee Pat Russell called the fight with 10 seconds remaining. Russell inexplicably thought the bell rang, separating the boxers and ending Vargas’ chance to knock out the interim WBO welterweight champ.
When the final decision was announced and Vargas asked for a rematch, Bradley appeared open to making the fight happen again.
"I told you. Talk to your people. Let's do this. It was a great shot, man. You caught me and you hurt me. But I would have finished -- I ain't going to lie -- with 10 seconds left," Bradley said.
Bradley is looking to fight the biggest names possible, and even though Vargas entered the fight undefeated, his name value doesn’t provide the champ with an opportunity to earn a huge payday. Bradley reportedly received a $1.5 million purse for the bout, while Vargas was paid $600,000.
In a recent interview with ESPN, Bradley said that he wants to win championships at 147 pounds, 154 pounds, and possibly 160 pounds, mentioning a potential fight with Gennady "GGG" Golovkin. But if his retirement is on the horizon, another fight with Vargas would make it more difficult for him to reach his goals.
With his Top Rank contract expiring in two years, Bradley told ESPN.com that he’s considered calling it a career when his deal is done.
"I think about it," Bradley, who is married with five children, said. "My wife and I sit down with a goal in mind of when I will possibly hang 'em up, after I finish my contract with Top Rank. Things change and goals change along the way. Things happen."
While Bradley might be looking to face a big-time opponent, he might not have that option. Floyd Mayweather is expected to officially drop the WBO welterweight title on July 3, making Bradley the sole champ. But Mayweather has already narrowed his final fight in September to two opponents, and there’s almost no chance that Bradley will get his shot against the sport’s top star, which would also mean a huge payday.
Keith Thurman is set to fight Luis Collazo on July 11, and a future fight with Bradley could be in the works. But a fight with Thurman at this point may not offer Bradley a big enough payday. Amir Khan and Shawn Porter could also be potential opponents for Bradley. A fight with Khan would likely draw a bigger audience than one with Vargas, while a fight with Porter isn't expected to offer Bradley a major pay-per-view opportunity.
Vargas appears hopeful for another shot at Bradley, against whom he was a heavy underdog, and the fight should draw additional interest given the contentious ending of Saturday's bout. When asked if there would be a rematch, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum replied, “Maybe.”