The stakes can't possibly be higher when Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley enter the ring on April 12, and fans around the globe will want to tune in to the highly anticipated event.
There's the WBO welterweight strap on the line, but it is very much a non-story in the shadow of one of the sport's biggest rematches. Pacquiao desperately needs the win to atone for past mistakes and keep his career alive, while Bradley needs to retain his title to prove to the world he is a legitimate contender.
Here's a look at how fans can catch the event, followed by a final look at the circumstances surrounding the historic bout.
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
When: April 12, 2014 at 9 p.m. ET
TV: HBO pay-per-view
Words don't do the career implications of the bout justice.
Pacquiao seemed to win the first encounter with Bradley, who was simply looking for a chance to prove himself. He did but via one of the most controversial decisions of all time—one that has Pacquiao on the hunt, as he wrote at ESPN.com:
I won at least 10 rounds against Tim Bradley the first time we fought. I intend to win all the rounds against him this time regardless of the length of the fight. He said I have lost my hunger and that my time is over. Everything I am doing in training camp is aimed at proving to him just how wrong he is. I have all the respect for Bradley and what he has accomplished but I have no fear of him. He has inspired me to exceed my previous performances inside the ring.
Pacquiao has no other choice. After the loss to Bradley, he bit the canvas hard against Juan Manuel Marquez before taking down Brandon Rios in a bout that was aimed at making him look good.
Copious amounts of credit should go Bradley's way—he parlayed the decision into a dominant run that includes gutsy wins over Ruslan Provodnikov and Marquez. It's one thing to be gifted a decision against a legend—it's another to prove to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world after the fact.
Alas, Bradley has been a victim of the first bout, just in a different way. He also blogged for ESPN.com and touched on how his win was a loss in certain aspects:
Beating Pacquiao was supposed to be the turning point in who Timothy Bradley really is, but instead it became a very dark point and time in my life. The boos turned into hatred and then hatred turned into death threats. I felt I had done enough to beat Pacquiao, but everyone was out to prove that I hadn't.
As for the dance itself—viewers won't want to blink. With so much on the line and both men out to prove the last result was wrong, a late-round knockout is not out of the question.
One can presume Pacquiao still has his knockout power of old, but it's been awhile since he has put it to use. The last time he got confident and swung for the fences, Marquez turned his lights out. That's a facet of the fight against Bradley that Pac-Man must be wary of, as the American will be quick to take advantage.
Bradley's record is light on knockouts, but he's undefeated for good reason. Technically elite, he uses jabs to keep distance while poaching for violent counter combos to great effect. Not only does he have the experience of the previous bout to utilize, he also has the film of the counters that Marquez used to great efficiency—and a recent dance in the ring with the Mexican legend to boot.
It's an intriguing chess match, to say the least. Outside of the aforementioned implications, the winner may have a date with Floyd Mayweather on the horizon:
If Pacquiao beats Bradley, then goes on to fight and beat Marquez, is a 2015 Mayweather-Pacquiao showdown even bigger than it was in 2010?— FightNights.com™ (@boxing) April 5, 2014
Pacquiao vs. Mayweather has been a darling of the globe for years, while Bradley could potentially use the bout as a shot at a passing-of-the-torch moment.
But don't let that overshadow what is about to occur between two desperate men in Las Vegas. Pacquiao's career is on the line, and Bradley is looking for a legacy-defining moment that takes his current trajectory and shoots it into the stratosphere.
Expect nothing but the best on Saturday night.