In June 2012, Manny Pacquiao suffered, perhaps, the worst loss of his career. He seemingly had beaten Timothy Bradley to retain the WBO Welterweight Championship, but the judges awarded the bout to his opponent in a split decision. Now, the 35-year-old finally has a chance to get his payback.
The two boxers are officially set to meet on April 12 for a rematch at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Top Rank CEO Bob Arum told espn.com that Pacquiao has been guaranteed $20 million for the fight. Bradley is set to make $6 million.
Pacquiao has already begun his road back to the top of the sport. In November, he easily beat Brandon Rios in a unanimous decision. The win, though, has yet to completely make up for the worst year of his career. Following his controversial loss to Bradley, Pac-Man closed out 2012 by getting knocked out at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez.
While Pacquiao is looking for some redemption from the fight that took place a year and a half ago, Bradley is seeking the same thing. The 30-year old did beat Paquiao, but he was the loser of that fight in the eyes of most experts. The WBO eventually recognized Pacquiao as the winner, and Bradley wants to prove that he can go toe-to-toe with one of the greatest boxers in recent years.
“I think it's time. It's the perfect time,” Bradley told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. “Win or lose, I have to revisit this chapter in my life. If I were to die tomorrow, [the first Pacquiao fight] would probably be the last thing on my mind. I have to prove to the fans that I did beat this guy. This is my opportunity. It's redemption."
Much of the build up for Pacquiao-Bradley II will surround the first fight between the two boxers. However, there will be nearly two years between bouts. Bradley has defended the title twice, beating Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao is two years older, and won’t be a very heavy favorite like he was the first time around.
"My feeling is that if this were the next fight after their first fight then maybe the result would be really relevant," Arum told ESPN. "But it's a different Bradley now, having had that great fight with [Ruslan] Provodnikov and beating [Juan Manuel] Marquez. I sort of think what happened in the first fight, whether you think the result was just or unjust, is yesterday's news.”
Pacquiao enters the bout at 55-5-2. Bradley still has never lost in his professional career, going 31-0. There had been rumors that both boxers were in contention to face Floyd Mayweather in May. The Mayweather camp has yet to name an opponent, with Amir Khan as a strong possibility.