Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley are set for a rematch that should answer many of the questions which continued to linger after their first bout. Even though Bradley emerged victorious in 2012, the controversy surrounding the result overshadowed his win.
The hope is that the second meeting between the stars will produce a more definitive result. Desert Storm is looking to prove his first triumph over the eight-division world champion wasn't a fluke. Pac-Man wants to avenge the defeat by building off the positive signs seen in his victory against Brandon Rios.
Ultimately, it's a fight that needed to happen because of how the first bout ended. So let's check out all of the important information for the hyped rematch and preview what should be a very interesting encounter between two of boxing's biggest names.
Who will win the rematch?
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
When: Saturday, April 12 at 9 p.m. ET
Watch: HBO PPV
Although it's certainly fair to believe Pacquiao should have received the nod from the judges in the first bout, it wasn't a clear result either way. Pac-Man wasn't nearly as dominant as he'd been in the fights leading up to his first meeting with Bradley, which left the door open for an upset.
That said, the American likely knows he'll need an even stronger performance in the rematch in order to come out on top again. There were times in the first bout when he was really on his heels, and Pacquiao simply failed to put him away. Otherwise, the story would have been completely different.
It's something the Filipino superstar and his team understand. Bob Velin of USA Today passed along comments from acclaimed trainer Freddie Roach, who admitted a lesson was learned when the judges gave the first fight to Bradley:
It was a good learning lesson for us, that when you get a guy hurt you get him out of there because then there's no judges and no bad decisions. It was a good experience. Manny definitely had chances where he hurt him and could've finished him.
The fact that both boxers will be looking to make a major statement should add a little extra intrigue to the bout. Sometimes, the mere presence of a rematch isn't enough to drive mainstream attention, though, and it definitely took some time before this one picked up steam.
One thing that helped increase the hype level is more activity from both sides publicly. Ryan Songalia of The Ring magazine notes neither fighter is much for drawing major attention to himself before a bout, but that's changed this time around:
Neither Pacquiao or Bradley are big talkers but both have said a lot before the rematch. It'll help PPV sales, if nothing else #pacbradley— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) April 9, 2014
Once the talk fades and the fight starts, Pacquiao must bring a greater sense of urgency to the fight. There were times throughout the first bout when it appeared he could have done more in an attempt to knock out Bradley and didn't take advantage of those chances.
Part of that could have been him thinking he led the fight. In that case, he didn't want to take any unnecessary risks and potentially get caught. But, as Roach pointed out, the lesson learned is that when you leave it up to the judges, anything can happen.
As for Bradley, he needs to lean heavily on the technical side of the fight. He isn't going to succeed if he tries to match punches with the quick and powerful Pacquiao. Instead, he needs to pick his spots to attack after making sure to defend first.
If he does that, especially with Pac-Man looking to increase the pace and pressure, there's a good chance frustration will begin to mount in the opposite corner. That's when Desert Storm will get an opportunity to strike and potentially pull off another upset.
All told, Pacquiao has the edge heading into the rematch if he performs like he did against Rios. The bad news is, it will be very difficult for him to knock out Bradley, which means he must be on the attack throughout the fight in order to leave absolutely no doubt in the minds of the judges.
Prediction: Pacquiao by decision