Bradley vacates WBO belt, Ali v Vargas title clash sanctioned

Tim Bradley’s decision to fight Manny Pacquiao for a third time means the American is no longer a world champion.

Bradley, 32, was originally handed the full WBO welterweight title for a second spell on the back of defeating Jessie Vargas in June 2015 before successfully defending it versus Brandon Rios five months later.

‘Desert Storm’ was recently chosen from a final shortlist of three to face old rival Pacquiao on April 9 leaving the pound for pound star with a decision to make.

The two-weight world champion came to the conclusion that he would not be able to apply with a stipulation laid down by the WBO prior to his fight with Rios that the winner must face number one contender Sadam Ali.


WBO President Francisco Valcarcel sent a response to Bradley’s resolution accepting his wish to vacate and has already sanctioned Ali v Vargas for the vacant title on March 5 in Washington.

Dear Timothy,

I am in receipt of your February 4, 2016 letter wherein you state that given your upcoming fight against Manny Pacquiao on April 9, 2016 you are unable to comply with WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests, the WBO Championship Committee’s Resolution of November 6, 2015 (ordering the winner of Bradley vs. Rios to face WBO Mandatory Challenger Sadam Ali), and must vacate your WBO Welterweight Title.

Do know that we wholly understand your decision and commend you for always giving fans the best fights possible and doing what is best for your career at this important juncture. You have been an outstanding, honorable and loyal WBO Junior Welterweight and Welterweight Champion of the World and the doors of the WBO will always be open for you. Finally, I am pleased to inform you that we are preparing a special recognition for the Pacquiao vs Bradley III winner— two remarkable fighters and worthy ambassadors to the WBO. – Francisco Valcarcel