By Lyle Fitzsimmons, Featured Columnist | Bleacherreport.com
Welcome back to the big time, Tim Bradley.
Inactive for eight months since a loss to Manny Pacquiao and winless since toppling Juan Manuel Marquez six months prior, the former two-division champ returned to premium-cable headline status with a grinding unanimous-decision defeat of rugged Argentine gatekeeper Diego Chaves.
Or at least he should have.
Instead, thanks to the second poor decision on a three-fight Saturday night HBO card, Bradley had to settle for a split-decision draw after one judge had him winning seven rounds, one had it even at 6-6 and the third saw Chaves as somehow-superior in eight of 12.
Bleacher Report scored it 8-4 for Bradley.
HBO’s Max Kellerman labeled the vote for Chaves, from Julie Lederman, as “a bad scorecard.”
Bradley agreed, but was more diplomatic.
“I thought I won the fight clearly,” he said, “but if the judges saw it a different way, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Though the verdict left Bradley at 31-1-1 in a pro career that began a decade ago, it should nonetheless get him back into the big-fight conversation he’d previously reached, thanks to consecutive defeats of Devon Alexander (TD 10), Joel Casamayor (TKO 8), Pacquiao (SD 12), Ruslan Provodnikov (UD 12) and Marquez (SD 12) from 2011 to 2013.
“Everything’s possible with me,” he said.