Their first fight was mega controversial, with the majority of watchers coming away believing that Manny Pacquiao had beaten Timothy Bradley. But the judges, two out of three, said different. Duane Ford and the egregiously flawed CJ Ross gave Bradley, a California-based boxer who used movement and volume to impress the arbiters, the victory on June 9, 2012 in Las Vegas. Pacquiao, it looks like, will get a chance to scrub that stain, and show fight fans and Bradley that the loss was an aberration, a mistake of monumental proportions, as the Congressman has chosen Bradley as his next foe, in a rematch to be held April 12 in Las Vegas.
So says the rumor mill, though official word hasn't come from Team Pacquiao or Pacman's promoter, Top Rank.
I reached out to a publicist who does work for Top Rank in the late AM, and that person said that bout wasn't set to his/her knowledge. Pacquiao advisor Michael Koncz, via text, said the bout wasn't official, either. "Cannot confirm that yet," he said. But word has leaked out, and tellingly, I'd say, the lack of a refutation from Top Rank or Team Pacquiao is telling.
Bradley's star has grown brighter since that first Pacquiao tangle, as he got a W over rumbler Ruslan Provodnikov last March, and followed that with a masterful effort against Juan Manuel Marquez last October, handling him with relative ease comparing to how Pacquiao has dealt with the Mexican counter-puncher.
Bradley is now 31-0, with 12 KOs, and there will be a solid minority of fightwatchers who will tab him the favorite against Pacman, with their reasoning being that at 30, he's a bit fresher than the 54-3-2 Pacman, who turned 35 on Dec. 17. Then again, Manny worked all the angles and his hand speed and stamina looked spot on in his last effort, a wide UD12 over Brandon Rios in Macau on Nov. 23.
Readers, your thoughts please. Do you like the choice of Bradley over Pacman pal Provodnikov, if indeed rumor turns to fact? Is Manny the odds on favorite here or are you picking Bradley? Weigh in!
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV