Manny Pacquaio was considered to be one of the best boxers in the sport, along with Floyd Mayweather, in the summer of 2012. A loss to Timothy Bradley, followed by a knockout at the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez, stripped Pac-Man of that unofficial title. Now, it appears the fighter will have a chance at redemption against one of those opponents.
According to the Manila Bulletin, Pacquiao will take on Bradley in his next bout. The report states that an industry source says the two will have their rematch on April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The announcement is expected to be made next week, and a press tour will begin in Los Angeles on Feb. 4.
Both boxers are coming off victories in late 2013. Pacquiao stepped inside the ring for the first time in almost a year, handily defeating Brandon Rios in a unanimous decision. Bradley won twice last year, first defeating Ruslan Provodnikov in a highly contested 12-round bout. In October, the welterweight champion beat Marquez in a split decision to retain the title.
In 2012, Bradley upset Pacquiao in one of the most controversial decisions in recent years. Most experts had Pacquiao leading on their scorecards. However, Bradley was given the victory in a split decision.
Bradley has held the WBO Welterweight Championship since then, but many still question whether or not he deserves to hold the belt. The decision was not reversed, but the WBO did recognize Pacquiao had deserved to win the fight. In September, C.J. Ross gave up her role as a judge after controversially awarding the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez to Alvarez. She was also one of the judges who gave Bradley the nod against Pacquiao.
In recent months, Bradley has stated that he wants to face Pacquiao again because of the controversy that surrounds his victory. This month, Pacquiao has also expressed his desire for a rematch, which he did not get after his loss.
"[I want the rematch] simply because I want to win back the title he took from me by a questionable decision," Pacquiao told PhilBoxing. “Almost everyone in the world thought I won the fight, so it’s fitting to get back the title for people like me who got robbed of a victory.”
After the initial report came out, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum was quick to say that a deal wasn’t final. He told ABS-CBN News that both side were still negotiating.
"We are working on the details. We are trying to finalize the fight," Arum said in the interview. "Are we talking to Bradley? Yes. Is the fight done yet? No. Will it get done? Probably. That's all I can say."
There had been rumors that Pacquaio and Mayweather were finally set to agree to terms on a mega-fight. Both sides, though, have denied the reports.