The April 12 rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley may not be the most popular matchup for casual boxing fans, but it is the right matchup for both fighters.
I know, it is hard to feel passionate about this second fight between the two, as we all know their original meeting back in 2012 was wrongly ruled in Bradley’s favor. It is highly unlikely this card will top the 900,000 pay-per-view buys the first card did.
Still, it is not fair for both fighters, but this is the fight they need, as they will try to redeem themselves.
Besides, it is the best Top Rank could offer for them at the moment.
Let us start with Bradley (31-0-0, 12 KOs). He proved he deserved to keep the WBO welterweight belt he won when he convincingly defeated Juan Manuel Marquez last October. Even though he has won two fights — the other being a close decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in March 2012 — since taking the title away from Pacquiao, Bradley has admitted in several interviews that the controversial decision against Pacquiao still haunts him. Bradley, now 30, will be a much better fighter in almost every aspect heading into the rematch.
Then there’s Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs). He was in a weird point at his career in June 2012, as that was the first fight after his moral intervention that helped him save his marriage, find God and become a better person. After the first fight against Bradley, Pacquiao’s career dug even deeper when Marquez knocked him out in December 2012. His career was in trouble after the knockout but he looked much better one year later when he easily defeated Brandon Rios last November.
A win over Bradley would make his last two years a minor side note to the legendary career that he’s close to ending. With Pacquiao’s contract with Top Rank set to expire at the end of the year, this fight could potentially be a stepping-stone to finally set up the dream match against Floyd Mayweather Jr., should Pacquiao decide not to renew but would want to keep fighting.
Maybe we will see Pacquiao be more aggressive against Bradley by going for a knockout and not letting the judges decide the fight. Maybe we will see Bradley try to make an even bigger case to win the rematch and perhaps look to use Pacquiao’s aggressiveness against him.
Besides, would Top Rank really allow any chance of the judges “fixing” this bout?
Ignore what happened in the first fight. This bout is between Manny Pacquiao and an undefeated fighter, a matchup that boxing fans used to demand. I’ll still find a way to watch this fight, as a lot more is obviously at stake than just the WBO welterweight championship.