Boxing
 
           === Simple geometry demands a Bradley-Pacquiao return ===
 
 By Lyle Fitzsimmons, Boxing Editor
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - There are times when it's really easy to hate boxing.
 
 Case in point was Saturday night and the immediate aftermath, in which some
 tossed up roadblocks to the idea that Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao
 shouldn't automatically be paired up in a few months time for a rematch of
 their ugly 2012 decision.
 
 Yes, I know Manny still has a fight in November with an opponent -- Brandon
 Rios -- who's shown some ability to defeat foes with a significant skill set.
 But let's face reality; if even a post-apocalyptic-KO version of Pac Man can't
 handle a guy like Rios, he's through as a relevant discussion piece.
 
 There, I said it. Sorry Manila. No hard feelings.
 
 Anyway, assuming he indeed takes care of comeback matters and does dispatch
 the former lightweight champ back to the Carson, Calif. level from whence he
 came, it seems the follow-up diagram for Pacquiao should be as simple as a
 geometric equation.
 
 If Pacquiao is A and WBO welter champ Timothy Bradley is B, then their paths
 should intersect precisely at point C -- which, in this case, is sometime next
 spring in a tax bracket locale of Manny's choice.
 
 But lest we think I'm giving Bradley too much credit for his "win" over
 Pacquiao last spring, that's not at all the case. In fact, it'd be no
 different for my purposes had that fight never occurred.
 
 Manny needs to fight him not to settle an old score or to prove the combined
 vision of Duane Ford and C.J. Ross was decidedly cloudy that night. He needs
 to fight him because, as of Saturday night, Bradley became the most legitimate
 -- and practical -- opponent at 147 pounds.
 
 Note the word practical, people.
 
 Thanks to the crazy, kooky sport of boxing and its amalgam of relationships,
 rivalries and contractual realities, it's pretty much a given that many of the
 fights that we'd like to see simply cannot happen. Whether the fighters are
 willing or not, matches get KO'd in boardrooms and corner offices long before
 the gloved principals have a chance to stand nose to nose on a stage or go
 fist to fist in a ring.
 
 So, given that fact, let's dispense for the time being with the "He should
 fight Mayweather" stuff for either of the guys mentioned here. Because as long
 as the current reality remains the existing reality -- until contracts run out
 or promotional cold wars thaw -- it's not worth the energy.
 
 And thanks to Bradley's skillful display on Saturday, we've got other options.
 
 The Californian made last summer's controversy a moot point with his 12-round
 clinic at the Thomas & Mack Center, which re-positioned him not as the guy to
 whom Pacquiao dropped a title belt to last year, but a guy who scored a more
 decisive win over Manny's No. 1 nemesis than Manny had in four tries.
 
 The exhibition came not a moment too soon for the 30-year-old, who'd admitted
 prolonged effects from a 12-round skirmish with Ruslan Provodnikov earlier
 this year and heard more than a few whispers during this one's pay-per-view
 run-up that the Russian had irrevocably stolen some of his aptitude.
 
 Toward that end, Bradley the athlete struck a blow for those with the sense to
 use physical gifts to handle a foe -- "Bradley is frustrating this crowd," Sky
 Sports' Jim Watt said Saturday, "and I don't think he cares one little bit" --
 rather than engaging in rock 'em, sock 'em warfare for the titillation of
 those paying customers who lack the acumen to do it themselves or the
 intellect to appreciate the difference.
 
 As for Bradley the fighter, he became the man who beat the man who beat the
 man; which, at least in the lexicon of Ric Flair and old-school pro wrestling,
 makes him the man most deserving of a star on the stage alongside Pacquiao's
 when it comes time for Bob Arum to reveal his next big show for 2014.
 
 Practically speaking, that's not so bad.
 
 This week's title-fight schedule:
 
 THURSDAY
 Vacant IBO light heavyweight title - Flemington, Australia
 Allan Green (No. 14 contender) vs. Blake Caparello (No. 16 contender)
 Green (32-4, 22 KO): Second title fight; Seventeenth fight at light
 heavyweight (15-1)
 Caparello (17-0, 6 KO): First title fight; Won six of last seven fights by
 decision
 Fitzbitz says: "Green has a better resume and more street cred, but he's also
 the older fighter and hasn't been in top form for several years. A hometown
 southpaw won't help." Caparello by decision
 
 SATURDAY
 IBF flyweight title - Leipzig, Germany
 Moruti Mthalane (champion) vs. Silvio Olteanu (No. 4 contender)
 Mthalane (29-2, 20 KO): Fifth title defense; Fourth fight outside South Africa
 (2-1)
 Olteanu (14-6-1, 6 KO): Second title fight; First fight in Germany
 Fitzbitz says: "The incumbent champion is on a multi-year roll and has fared
 well since winning his belt. He should continue the momentum against a sturdy,
 but less accomplished foe." Mthalane by decision
 
 WBO super middleweight title - Leipzig, Germany
 Robert Stieglitz (champion) vs. Isaac Ekpo (No. 7 contender)
 Stieglitz (45-3, 26 KO): Second title defense; Held WBO belt from 2009-12 (six
 defenses)
 Ekpo (22-1, 16 KO): First title fight; First fight outside Africa
 Fitzbitz says: "Stieglitz surprised some by resurfacing as a 168-pound
 champion this year, but he should be more than enough to handle a traveling
 African novice on the big stage." Stieglitz by decision
 
 Last week's picks: 1-0
 2013 picks record: 56-32 (63.6 percent)
 Overall picks record: 519-184 (73.8 percent)
 
 Lyle  Fitzsimmons  is a veteran  sports columnist who's written professionally
 since  1988 and covered  boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and
 posted  online  for  clients  in  North  America  and  Europe.  Reach  him  at
 fitzbitz@msn.com or follow him on Twitter: @fitzbitz.
 
 
 
 10/14 12:43:38 ET

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