Call it good fortune—or promotional genius.
Either way it’s clear that this coming weekend’s welterweight pay-per-view matchup between Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao is generating a lot more interest than the first go-round in 2012.
Back then, Pacquiao was the incumbent WBO champion, hadn’t lost in what felt like a century (actually, seven years and three months) and was facing a foe in Bradley who’d posted a respectable resume at 140 pounds but had little else to warrant the shot at 147 other than a connection to Bob Arum.
Fast-forward two years and one dubious decision, and it’s Bradley with the belt, the win streak (he’s never lost in just less than 10 years as a pro) and the No. 3 spot in Ring TV's pound-for-pound rankings. Pacquiao is the one who’s still trying to rebuild a brand that was dinged by the original verdict and nearly sunk by a KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez six months later.
A glorified gym session with 146.5-pound heavy bag Brandon Rios brought many back on the Manny bandwagon in December, but the Bradley who’s beaten Ruslan Provodnikov (UD 12) and Marquez (SD 12) since the last meeting will provide a far more telling litmus test than Rios ever could.
Bradley felt that the Rios fight showed Pacquiao "just cannot turn it on like he used to anymore," as Ring TV notes. Will he proved that this weekend? Read on to see how we believe the fight will play out.
Date: Saturday, April 12, 2014
Time: HBO PPV starts at 9 p.m. ET; main event around 11 p.m. ET
Venue: MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada
Odds: Pacquiao (-200), Bradley (+162)
Note: Odds provided by Vegas Insider and correct as of 4/6/2014 at 8:30 p.m. ET; subject to change.