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Volume 21 No. 39
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Nike signs fighter Bradley before bout with Pacquiao

When Manny Pacquiao’s next opponent is featured on HBO’s “24/7” series in the lead-up to their June 9 pay-per-view, he will be decked head to toe in the Nike swoosh.

Light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley became the third Top Rank-promoted fighter to join the burgeoning Nike boxing stable, joining Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., when he signed an exclusive, one-year shoe and apparel deal with the brand last week. Nike will design branded Bradley apparel, including robe, trunks and training gear, as well as the shirts his cornermen will wear for the fight.

Light welterweight champ Timothy Bradley
“Tim Bradley’s visibility is about to increase tenfold,” said Lucia McKelvey, executive vice president of marketing for promoter Top Rank, who represented Bradley in negotiations. “With ‘24/7’ following him around, he’s going to be in the public eye all the time. So why not be polished with his look?”

McKelvey would not discuss financials. But Nike’s deals with similar, lesser-known athletes typically are built largely around a swap of gear for exposure, with the potential for athletes to see a greater upside if they emerge as stars.

Along with wearing Nike gear, Bradley will appear the week of the fight at Niketown, in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.

“I wanted to get him a Nike deal and I didn’t want it to be a one-off just around this fight,” McKelvey said. “As long as Tim grows, that relationship (with Nike), from a financial perspective, will grow. But it has to have a starting point. The starting point may not be anywhere near the starting point of a first-round draft pick in the NFL or NBA. But it’s a start. They want to grow with Tim Bradley. It’s almost up to Tim in terms of where that can go.”