Bradley set for big stage

It has been over eight months since we last saw undefeated Timothy Bradley in the ring, but the California native is set to return on Saturday as he takes on Joel Casamayor on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET).

"Oh man, I’m very excited to get back into the ring," Bradley said. "This is one of the biggest fights and biggest stages I’ve ever fought on in my whole career. I’m very, very excited. I’m honored to fight on this Manny Pacquiao card. I feel like, definitely, I deserve it and I’m going to put on a show for the fans."

This is an upward move for Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs), who, despite the zero in the loss column, feels he needed to take the next step toward becoming a household name in the sport. His first move was to switch promotional companies, signing with Top Rank, a decision he says is already paying dividends.

"Look at the card I’m on. I’m on one of the biggest cards of the year, if not the biggest,” Bradley said. “It’s a huge change and I feel like I’m being taken care of like a world champion now. Top Rank is a great promotional company and I’m looking for stardom, not just to be the champ, but I want everybody to know who Timothy Bradley is. This is my chance. I searched for a promoter that could do something with my career. I’d been winning all these fights, but I wasn’t really known. I think after the 12th, everybody will know."

Only if he can get past veteran Joel Casamayor. The Cuban has won Gold medals and faced top fighters, but at 40 years old, not many are giving him a chance. Bradley is not one of those naysayers.

"Casamayor is a big puncher. He has power in that left hand,” Bradley said. “He also is a veteran of the game. He’s very crafty. He’s a lefty, which makes it more difficult, especially for a right-handed fighter. He’s very tricky at times. He likes to get you relaxed and then try to sneak a shot in on you.

"He’s very clever. He’s 40, but you can be 40 and feel like you’re 23. We’ve seen it with [Bernard] Hopkins. We’ve seen it with [Evander] Holyfield. These guys know all the tricks of the trade and they’ve seen it all, so he’s going to make it very difficult for me to win the fight."

Should he win, there are plenty of big names that have already been discussed for Bradley. One of them is Pacquiao, who is also a Top Rank fighter. With his eyes focused on the best in the sport, Bradley is willing to move up a weight class.

"Well, if a big fight was to come up at 147, I would definitely go up," Bradley said. "It would have to be a marquee name like Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. If something comes up and I feel it’s worth it, I would definitely go up to 147."

Should he stay at 140, there are a number of worthy opponents, but none bigger than WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan. The 26-1 British star has repeatedly mentioned Bradley over the last few years, as the two have become the world’s top 140-pounders. Bradley says it’s time to make it happen.

"That’s in the near future. That fight’s going to be in the near future,” said Bradley, who was stripped of his WBC light welterweight belt due to inactivity. “It’s a fight I want. It’s a fight the boxing fans want as well, but man, that’s a fight I want, probably more than anybody.

"It is personal. Amir has definitely been running his mouth a whole lot, on Twitter, and in the media and his day will come."