Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley will battle again not only for the WBO welterweight title but also for respect after the first controversial match.
When these two competed in 2012, Bradley came away with a split-decision victory, which he followed up with consecutive wins over Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez.
On the other hand, Pacquiao was knocked out by Marquez after his loss to Bradley and was only able to stop his slide with a unanimous-decision win over Brandon Rios.
Despite these divergent paths, the Pac-Man is still listed as a minus-230 favorite to win his upcoming bout over Bradley (+180), via OddsShark.com. This creates an intriguing bout that will feature some excellent boxing and great storylines.
Here is a look at the latest information you need to know before the start of the highly anticipated match.
Who will win?
Where: MGM Grand in Las Vegas
When: Saturday, April 12, card begins at 9 p.m. ET
TV: HBO Pay-Per-View
Referee: Kenny Bayless
Judges: Glenn Trowbridge, Michael Pernick, Craig Metcalfe
Both Sides Looking to Put Last Match in the Past
It is hard to think of a fight in recent memory that had as little respect as the first competition between Bradley and Pacquiao. With few people taking that result seriously, both boxers are looking to make sure they come through this time around.
Pacquiao does not think he lost the last time out, via Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com:
I've been in boxing for more than 20 years. I know who's winning and who's losing, and he's claiming that he won the fight.
I don't really have any idea [how anybody could have scored it for Bradley]. I watched the replay of the fight. I've been in boxing for more than 20 years. I just don't know.
Meanwhile, Bradley just considers the win to be a negative point of his career, telling Keith Idec of BoxingScene.com:
The Black Cloud is still there. It's one of those things where you're sitting at home and you start thinking about your life and you start thinking about all those great things that go on in your life, your family and how successful you've been. But then, in the back of your mind, I'm thinking, 'Dang, I win this fight and I get no credit. In the people's eyes, I get no credit. I can't continue to go on with my career and my life without revisiting this particular fight.' Win or lose [Saturday night], I can go back and rest at night. It's over. That cloud is gone. And it should never be brought up again.
What these two boxers are basically saying at this point is that the first match means very little.
If Pacquiao wins, he will show that his loss was just a fluke and possible scoring error. On the other hand, Bradley will finally prove himself with a win, something that did not happen the first time around despite his official victory.
Which Person Is Heading into the Bout Stronger?
While there will always be plenty of mind games before a competition like this, all that matters is which boxer is better when the two step into the ring.
Bradley has the confidence, via PacquiaoBradley.org:
I will be faster than Pacquiao, I will have better defense than Pacquiao, I will be hungrier than Pacquiao. I have been in the ring with Pacquiao so I know exactly what to expect. There are a few adjustments that I will make and with two good feet under me and at the end of the night I will be victorious again.
Still, Pacquiao has been impressing people with his recent work in the gym, including Steve Kim of Max Boxing:
Manny Pacquiao working the heavy bag is one of the most impressive things Ive seen in the gym, the blend of speed and power #boxing— Steve Kim (@stevemaxboxing) April 5, 2014
Pacquiao has the speed advantage and the experience to outwork his opponent and win on the scorecard. On the other hand, Bradley has been performing much better in recent bouts and should be more defensive than usual, looking for counterpunches.
Jenaro Diaz and Lennard "Action" Jackson of Church Street Boxing Gym both think Pacquiao will win:
However, both men are going to come out with their best effort to earn a victory.
Big Pay-Per-View Numbers Expected
No matter what you think about Pacquiao at this stage of his career, there is no denying that he is a big draw. Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports notes that he is in the top five all time in PPV sales along with Oscar De La Hoya, Evander Holyfield, Floyd Mayweather and Mike Tyson.
Iole also explains that this upcoming fight will help this profile even more:
Promoters are confident the bout will hit one million. With 890,000 buys, the same as he did for his controversial first match with Bradley in 2012, Pacquiao will move to third in total sales with 12.8 million buys and will move into second past De La Hoya and behind only Mayweather with $700 million in PPV revenues.
It seems likely that the bout on Saturday will exceed the first match between these two fighters. At that time, Bradley was a relative unknown among casual fans, and many expected it to be yet another easy win for Pacquiao.
However, "Desert Storm" has seen his profile rise in the past couple of years to the point that he can now carry PPV events by himself.
This bout is also considered an eliminator fight, with the winner expected to take on the winner of Mike Alvarado vs. Juan Manuel Marquez, according to Lem Satterfield of The Ring.
There are plenty of reasons to tune into this fight, and that's why it will be one of the bigger boxing events in a long time.
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