SUPERSTAR Manny Pacquiao certainly took his time in announcing his next opponent, set for April of 2016 in what could well be the welterweight’s final bout.
A short list of possible foes included Terence Crawford, Amir Khan, Tim Bradley and, most recently added to the list of maybes, Adrien Broner. But finally, we have conformation from Pac-Man’s promoter Bob Arum who the April 9th fight will be against: Tim Bradley, who Pacquiao has twice met before.
“It’s a done deal and it’s going to be a third fight against Tim Bradley. We took a lot of consideration knowing Bradley has improved a lot as a fighter since the last time they’ve met in 2014,” Arum told The Manila Times today (local time). “Bradley is happy about it of course and that’s really a competitive fight for Manny. The report about Adrien Broner fighting Pacquiao is untrue.”
So, the rubber-match will go ahead at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Bradley shocked the boxing world back in June of 2012, when he won a hugely controversial split decision over the pound-for-pound king. Subjected to death threats and a whole array of insults after the tarnished victory, Bradley – who had barely a handful of experts on his side who were in agreement with the contentious decision that went his way – was desperate for a rematch to prove he was a worthy winner.
The return, also contesting the WBO welterweight title, came in April of 2014. This time, Pacquiao won a commanding 12-round unanimous decision; righting a very big wrong in the opinion of most.
Now, with Bradley defending the WBO title, the final instalment in this particular rivalry will play out in the exact same arena the other two fights were staged.
Pacquiao, who has not fought since losing “The Fight of The Century” to Floyd Mayweather in May 2015, will no doubt start out as a significant favourite to beat Bradley for a second time.
Bradley is never a fighter to underestimate, however. Last fighting in November, in his first bout with new trainer Teddy Atlas, Bradley was in total command against a weight drained Brandon Rios.
Pacquiao recently turned 37 and he holds a 57-6-2(38) record. Bradley is 32 and his record reads 33-1-1(13).
Interestingly, Arum closed by telling The Manila Times that the third Bradley fight will NOT be Pacquiao’s last fight. “It won’t be promoted that way,” the Top Rank boss stated.