With one more fight left in his career, Manny Pacquiao is expected to go out on top. The boxing star claims he’ll retire after facing Timothy Bradley on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and he’s a significant favorite to defeat the WBO welterweight champion.
Bovada.lv gives Pacquiao -280 betting odds to win, while Bradley is a +220 underdog. Pacquiao lost their first fight in June 2012 in a controversial split decision, and most who saw the fight thought it should’ve been scored in Pacquiao’s favor. A little less than two years later, Pacquiao was victorious in a one-sided unanimous decision over Bradley.
Before he retires, Pacquiao is looking to reclaim the belt he lost to Floyd Mayweather. Mayweather won the WBO welterweight title in his May 2 mega-bout with Pacquiao. Bradley became the interim WBO welterweight champion the next month when he defeated Jessie Vargas as the WBO waited for Mayweather to pay the required sanctioning fee. When Mayweather refused to pay up, Bradley became the sole titleholder.
Pacquiao hasn’t stepped in the ring since losing to Mayweather, recovering from the shoulder surgery he had a few days after the bout. Having lost three of his last six fights before coming off surgery at 37 years old, Pacquiao is looking to prove that he’s the world’s top welterweight. The Filipino star reportedly begins training on Sunday.
While he's favored over Bradley, Pacquiao isn’t viewed as the unstoppable force that dominated opponents a few years ago. Pacquiao was a -450 favorite when he faced Bradley in their first fight, and he had -280 odds to win the second fight. By the time the bell rings on April 9, Pacquiao could be closer to being a 2/1 favorite.
Bradley’s loss to Pacquiao was the only defeat of the Southern Californian's career, and his fights since then have some believing that he can get the victory in April. Less than five months after winning a unanimous decision over Vargas, Bradley had an impressive ninth-round TKO over Brandon Rios.
The Rios fight was Bradley’s first under the tutelage of trainer Teddy Atlas, and the 32-year-old believes the move has made him a better boxer.
“I’ve made some changes, and now I understand my identity as a fighter: what I’m supposed to be. Teddy made me realize that. I’m calmer this time around,” Bradley told reporters in January.
Despite his June 2012 win, Bradley has yet to prove he can throw more effective punches than Pacquiao over 12 rounds. The odds of an upset are better than ever, but Pacquiao is expected to end his career as the top fighter in his weight class.