On June 9, 2012, Timothy Bradley took the WBO Welterweight title from Manny Pacquiao in a controversial decision. Following the champ’s defeat of Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday, could the two boxers be in line for a rematch in 2014?
Bradley defeated Marquez in a split decision, lasting 12 rounds against the man who most recently beat Pacquiao. Judges Robert Hoyle and Patricia Jarman scored the bout for Bradley, while Glenn Feldman ruled in favor of Marquez.
Pacquiao is set to fight again on Nov. 23 when he faces Brandon Rios. He has lost the last two times he has stepped in the ring, but it would be a big upset if Pac-Man was defeated for a third consecutive time. Pacquiao is a -420 favorite with the bout a little less than six weeks away. Assuming a matchup with Floyd Mayweather is off the table, Bradley might be the opponent that Pacquiao has his sights set on.
It wouldn’t be the first time that Pacquiao has tried for a rematch with the man who took his title. He offered Bradley more guaranteed money for another shot at the welterweight championship. However, Bradley declined, and took the fight with Marquez.
"Money isn't everything," Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said. "The purses they are getting are substantial and legacy is important for both Timothy and Juan Manuel Marquez. Timothy wants Marquez's scalp on his belt, so to speak.”
Now that he has wins against both Pacquiao and Marquez, Bradley is claiming to be an all-time great fighter. The victory put his career record at 31-0.
"That win was my ticket to the boxing Hall of Fame," Bradley said. "I beat a great champion."
His victory against Pacquiao, though, remains tainted in the eyes of many. Almost every expert in attendance for the fight scored it in favor of Pacquiao. One of the judges who helped give Bradley the split decision, C.J. Ross, had to step down because of her history of controversial rulings.
"Anything is possible," said Bradley, in regards to possible second fight with Pacquiao. "I'd love that challenge. I'll have to sit down with my management and see what makes sense from here."
Pacquiao may not be the same boxer that Bradley faced over a year ago. After he lost the belt in June, Pac-Man was knocked out by Marquez in December. Still, if Bradley wants to prove to his critics that he is one of the best boxers around, he may have to face Pacquiao once more.
"The people who don't believe in me I want to make believe in me,” Bradley said before facing Marquez. “I love to be the underdog."