SAN DIEGO, January 25, 2014 – Top Rank Promotions and MP Promotions made official what needed to happen. In the wake of one of the most hotly disputed decisions in recent boxing history, Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Junior will meet in a rematch at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 12. It will be carried by HBO Pay Per View.
The deal had been discussed in the media for some time, but was announced Saturday morning by the promoters. Bradley will defend his WBO welterweight title against Pacquiao. The fighters will begin a U.S. media tour the week of February 3, appearing in Los Angeles on February 4 and New York on February 6.
Pacquiao will be paid $20 million for the fight; Bradley will receive $6 million. Pacquiao is getting $6 million less than the first bout with Bradley; Bradley is scoring a $1 million raise. No undercard fights have been set as of yet.
As the boxing world recalls, Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) won a split decision over Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs), on June 9, 2012. Judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford took enormous heat for scoring the fight 115-113 for Bradley. Conspiracy theories proliferated. Stories about fixes, payoffs, changing in the betting line just before the bout, and other funny business all had their supporters. Some even said it signaled the “death of boxing,” which was ridiculous.
The WBO investigated the fight and reported nothing amiss. The Nevada state attorney general did likewise and did not pursue any charges. The selection of the judges will be under enormous scrutiny for this fight. The Nevada State Athletic Commission will have a new executive director since Pac-Bradley I. Commissioner Keith Kizer stepped down earlier this month.
Pac-Bradley I got even the most casual boxing fans fired up. There was a lot to like about the passion fans displayed, and there’s no reason to think they won’t get fired up by today’s announcement.
The one person who took it better than anyone is Manny Pacquiao himself. As he said at the news conference following the decision, “I hope you’re not dismayed or discouraged. It’s a fight and I lost. I can still fight… I will fight again.” He did, only to lose to Juan Manual Marquez six months later in a stunning knockout. He took a year off before getting back in the ring with Brandon Rios. It was the Pacman of old as he schooled the sluggish Rios.
Bradley suffered from the criticism and withdrew from the public eye for nearly a year. He got back in the ring with “The Siberian Rocky,” Ruslan Provodnikov, and the two went on to brawl in spectacular fashion producing what most boxing observers agree was the Fight of the Year in 2013. Bradley admitted he was concussed from the second round on, but battled to win the fight. Bradley then took on and took out Juan Manual Marquez in a decisive decision win, putting some of the criticism about his “robbery” of Pacquiao to rest.
But in two months, the cloud still lingering over both these fighters could clear for both of them, although not to the liking of the loser. It’s a great fight for fans and a good fight to help boxing get rid of the bad taste left by Pac-Bradley I. If Bradley brings the game he brought to Provodnikov and Marquez, Pacquiao is going to have a battle on his hands. Let’s see it.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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