Controversy is good for boxing. Conflict like the Timothy Bradley split-decision victory over Manny Pacquiao helps the sport remain in the mainstream conversation. A rematch, which should be a huge draw if agreed to, would prove that point even further.
No decision has been made yet concerning a second bout between the two stars. Pacquiao had a rematch clause in his contract, but promoter Bob Arum still hasn't decided to exercise it, even though the WBO plans to order another fight.
By earning the win on two of three judges' scorecards, Bradley took control of the WBO welterweight title. It was the biggest victory of his career. And even though a vast majority of people thought Pacquiao won, Bradley did have a good showing for his first marquee fight.
Boxing needs more stars to increase its popularity back to previous levels. Bradley, who is just 28 years old, would seem to fit the bill. Another fight with Pac-Man would give him a chance to show that the first fight wasn't as big of a fluke as the outrage would make it appear.
Bradley used a really sound defensive strategy. It wasn't nearly as exciting as the flurry of punched Pacquiao tried to land near the end of each round, but it was effective in making sure the champion didn't land clean shots.
It's the same approach which was used by Juan Manuel Marquez in Pacquiao's previous fight, almost resulting in a loss as well. So perhaps the Filipino superstar's weakness has finally been exposed.
That's the main reason Pacquiao should want a rematch and also why fans will watch in droves. Pac-Man wants to prove he's still one of the best boxers around, and fans want to find out if they're witnessing the end of his era.
When you consider how much attention the fight and its decision received, it was probably the biggest boxing story of the past couple years. The sport can't afford to let that type of drama slip away without capitalizing on it with another bout.
Even though the first go-round didn't end like most people expected, it still had plenty of entertainment value. The rematch would be more of the same, only with more drama, especially if it once again gets decided by the judges.
Boxing was built on rivalries and the tension that came with them. Maybe Pacquiao and Bradley can take fans back to that era with a classic rematch.
We'll never find out if they decide to go different directions.
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