All championship fights are big, but the April 12 rematch between WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao is on another level.
It's because of what's at stake beyond the world title. Floyd Mayweather's upcoming bout with Marcos Rene Maidana is carrying the tagline "The Moment," but it may be more appropriate for this bout.
Pacquiao-Bradley 2 represents the moment of truth for the rest of both men's careers.
Legitimacy and Respect
It's unclear what Bradley has to do to earn the universal respect of those in the boxing community. Despite a 31-0 record, having won a world title four times and owning victories over the likes of Devon Alexander, Miguel Vazquez, Kendall Holt, Joel Casamayor, Nate Campbell, Lamont Peterson, Ruslan Provodnikov, Juan Manuel Marquez and Pacquiao, Bradley still doesn't get the proper recognition.
The controversial win over Pacquiao is one of the biggest reasons he's disrespected.
Per Leighton Gin of The Desert Sun, Bradley said this about his win over Pacquiao: "I got the win, but it felt like I lost because I didn't get any credit from the fans. It's very important to get the credit from the fans."
Say what you want about the decision of the first bout with Pacquiao, but Bradley was not one of the judges. It was unfair for he and his family to have to endure abuse because fans didn't like the judges' decision.
During the HBO 24/7 series prior to Bradley's bout with Marquez, Bradley talked about how bad things got after the fight. He and his family received death threats and insults.
For Bradley, this fight is about proving that he is a better fighter than Pacquiao.
Aside from that, a win would put him in prime position for a major payday, though the Mayweather-Top Rank beef would likely prevent that dream fight from occurring.
Still, Bradley's world would become a lot clearer, brighter and richer with a decisive win over Pacquiao.
Is This the End?
When you have accomplished as much as Pacquiao has in the sport, just being a regular fighter won't do. No matter what happens on April 12, or any day after, Pacquiao will go down as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
The question: Is Pac-Man's time over?
Before dismantling an overmatched Brandon Rios in in November 2013, Pacquiao had lost two fights in a row. The last one was a life- and career-changing KO at the hands of Marquez.
There are still major concerns remaining about what kind of fighter Pacquiao is at this point in his career.
Rios was a glorified punching bag who didn't possess the skills to make the fight competitive. Thus, it's hard to put too much stock into that win. Bradley is a superb boxer who has the utmost motivation to beat Pacquiao.
Can Pacquiao defeat him decisively? And, if he doesn't, what becomes of him and his boxing career? WBO president Paco Valcarcel told Lem Satterfield of The Ring magazine that the winner of the upcoming Mike Alvarado-Marquez bout would be the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Bradley-Pacquiao rematch.
If Pacquiao loses to Bradley again, who would he fight? Would we even care? Wouldn't the once-awesome superfight between he and Mayweather finally be dead for good?
These are questions Pacquiao doesn't want to have to answer. Beating Bradley on April 12 is the only way to avoid them.
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