Both Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley have things to prove.
For Pacquiao, he wants to show the world Bradley got the benefit of bad judging in their first matchup. For Bradley, who scored a controversial split decision win over Pacquiao, it is about respect.
Beating Pacquiao a second time would prove the first fight was not a fluke and that Bradley is among the best in the world.
The two will square off on Saturday, April 12 at the MGM Grand on HBO pay-per-view.
But there could be something else at the end of the rainbow for the winner, a fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. Top Rank boss Bob Arum said in a recent interview with SecondsOut that Marquez wants to fight the winner.
With the chances of either Pacquiao or Bradley fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr. between slim and none at this point, Marquez taking on the winner might make the most sense financially and aesthetically.
“I would love to do Pacquiao-Marquez,” Arum said in the interview. “Pacquiao has to win this fight and Marquez says he’ll fight him. So it’s a big incentive for Pacquiao…He’ll fight the winner of this fight to win the belt.
As for the fight on the table now, Arum said putting off the rematch until now was the best move.
“Bradley got very good with these two victories in 2013, the great fight he had with Provodnikov and the fight with Marquez. So it’s a different Bradley,” Arum said. “If we had done the rematch right after the first fight, we would’ve had the same Bradley that was an 8-9 to 1 underdog against Manny when they first fought.”
The truth is Timothy Bradley was always a very, very good fighter, however, people didn’t know that going into the first fight. Now they know it. He proved himself in 2013.”
Does Pacquiao still have it? Many questioned that after his devastating knockout loss to Marquez. He quieted some of the naysayers with a dominating win against Brandon Rios.
“In my fight against Rios I proved I can still fight at the high level everyone expects from me,” said the Filipino Congressman. “I showed I can still control a fight as well as I ever have.”
Bradley doesn’t agree.
“I don’t think he has the hunger anymore and it’s never coming back. He no longer has his killer instinct. That’s the first thing I noticed in the Rios fight,” Bradley said.” Every time he backed Rios into a corner, Manny stepped back instead of going for it. He didn’t even try to put Rios away. That spoke volumes to me.”