Manny Pacquiao will be returning to action on April 12th with a match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against Timothy Bradley. It’s a rematch, and the bout comes 22 months after Bradley was able to upset Pacquiao via Split Decision at the same MGM Grand. It has been a long 22 months and a lot has changed for both men.
Pacquiao emerged from the Bradley fight indignant, as many felt he had done enough to claim victory, but he walked right into a rematch with Juan Manuel Marquez that saw the Mexican finally cash his ticket and knock out Pacquiao, handing Pac-man a two-fight losing streak. Afterwards, he faced Brandon Rios in a match that saw Pacquiao win as predicted, and regardless, the iconic Pacquiao remains one of the world’s biggest boxing draws.
Bradley has traveled a different path. The win over Pacquiao did not bring instant big fights to Bradley as he would have liked, and he was workmanlike in taking out Ruslan Provodnikov in his first fight post-Pac. Next for Bradley was Marquez, the man who took Pacquiao out. Arguably, Bradley faced Marquez at his best, and he walked out with a Split Decision. Once again the glory of a finish eluded Bradley, who though not a big puncher is one of the soundest boxers in the game today.
Bradley is an undefeated 31-0 and he is the WBO Welterweight Title holder. Oddly this match is about redemption for both men, as Bradley is still looking to etch his name among boxing’s biggest draws, despite the two wins over future Hall of Famers. For Pacquiao, it is about avenging the loss to Bradley and keeping his name n top of the marquee for one more year.
Pacquaio needs a win to keep his train going one more stop (presumably at some point Floyd Mayweather Jr’s name will come up again) while Bradley is still feeling like he has not gotten his just deserts to date. This makes Bradley the more dangerous fighter come fight time.