Not only is Manny Pacquiao’s April 9 fight expected to be the last of his career, but it’s his third career bout against Timothy Bradley. The two welterweights met for the first time four years ago, and their upcoming bout will be the rubber match in their rivalry.
The two fighters certainly have a unique history against one another. Bradley delivered an historic defeat to Pacquiao in 2012, handing the Filipino icon his first loss after a dominant seven-year run. The decision was mired in controversy, however, and their second fight saw Bradley suffer the only defeat of his career.
The WBO welterweight title was on the line in the first two fights between the boxers, and that will be the case once again. After Pacquiao lost the belt to Floyd Mayweather in May, Mayweather vacated the belt, which Bradley won in a fight against Jessie Vargas. He successfully retained it against Brandon Rios in November under the tutelage of new trainer Teddy Atlas.
Bradley picked up his first knockout in seven fights with a win over Rios, and he’s confident he can defeat Pacquiao for a second time. But Pacquiao is unofficially 2-0 against Bradley in the minds of many boxing fans, and he’s favored to win the April 9 fight.
Let’s take a look back at the first two fights between Pacquiao and Bradley.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley I (June 9, 2012)
The first fight between Pacquiao and Bradley produced one of the most controversial decisions of the last few years. Most of the experts believed that Pacquiao should have been awarded a unanimous decision, but instead Bradley won the welterweight title by split decision.
Pacquiao staggered Bradley in the first half of the fight with several powerful left hands, and he landed 253 total punches to Bradley’s 159, according to CompuBox statistics. By connecting with 190 power punches to Bradley’s 108, Pacquiao did a lot more damage to his opponent. But Pacquiao let up somewhat in the later rounds, and Bradley won the fight by coming on towards the end. Judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross scored the fight 115-113 in favor of Bradley, while Jerry Roth had it 115-113 for Pacquiao.
Ross found himself in controversy over a year later when she scored Floyd Mayweather’s dominant performance over Canelo Alvarez a draw. The judge stepped down soon afterwards.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley II (April 12, 2014)
Nearly two years after he was seemingly robbed of a victory, Pacquiao made sure he didn’t lose to Bradley for a second time. He took back the belt and was given a unanimous decision victory, taking advantage of Bradley’s attempt for a knockout.
Pacquiao didn’t land as many punches as he did in the first fight, and trainer Freddie Roach said his fighter was “a little sloppy." Still, he connected on 198 punches, while Bradley landed just 141. Pacquiao had the advantage in power punches 148 to 109, and Bradley missed on 78 percent of his punches. Judge Glenn Trowbridge scored the fight 118-110 in favor of Pacquiao, and Michael Pernick and Craig Metcalfe both had the bout 116-112.
It marked Pacquiao’s second straight victory after consecutive losses to Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. Bradley defeated Marquez by split decision six months before dropping the title to Pacquiao.