Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley 2: Analyzing What's at Stake in Epic Rematch

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IApril 9, 2014

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Manny Pacquiao, left, and Timothy Bradley stand for photos during the press conference to promote their upcoming WBO welterweight champtionship rematch at New World Stages on February 6, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

There'll be a whole lot more than Timothy Bradley's WBO welterweight title at stake Saturday night in Las Vegas when the American known as "Desert Storm" looks to quiet the critics by making it two in a row against rival Manny Pacquiao.

The rematch, which comes just 22 months after Bradley's controversial split-decision win, is guaranteed to shape each fighter's legacy and could potentially send Pacquiao into retirement. 

Below, I'll analyze what each fighter will be putting on the line this weekend. 


Bradley Hoping to Validate First Fight, Improve Legacy

Chris Carlson

Bradley's split-decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez last October was huge, but his split-decision victory over Pacquiao two years ago was by far the biggest of his career.'s Dan Rafael described it as "one of the worst decisions in boxing history":

When they first met in June 2012, Pacquiao looked as though he had cruised to a lopsided and easy unanimous decision. Then the judges shocked the world with two of them awarding Bradley the controversial split decision -- one of the worst decisions in boxing history.

Given just how controversial it was, a loss to Pacquiao in Saturday's rematch would diminish the legitimacy of the win and severely damage Bradley's overall legacy, which was catapulted directly as a result of that fight in June 2012.

But there's still plenty for Bradley to gain Saturday.

In addition to validating his first victory, the 30-year-old can preserve his undefeated record and open up brand-new opportunities. He would likely get another shot at Marquez down the road and would have to be considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters around.

It's highly unlikely he'll ever reach Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s level, but at 32-0, he would warrant similar attention and hype. 


Pacquiao Eyeing Revenge, Chance to Restore Reputation

Vincent Yu

For Pacquiao, Saturday's championship bout is all about revenge and proving to the world that he still ranks among the world's elite boxers.

A convincing win this weekend would be ideal for Pac-Man, who would then have a strong case for the first fight, which he and many others believe he should have won. 

Regardless of whether he wins via knockout or judges decision, a victory over Bradley would preserve the 35-year-old's professional career and also help to restore his reputation.

Two consecutive losses in 2012 led many to doubt Pacquiao's abilities and call for his retirement. But two straight wins would have "Pac-Man" trending up and likely renew talks of a potential superfight with Mayweather.

On the flip side, if Pacquiao loses to Bradley for a second time, it may mark the final fight of his career, according to trainer Freddie Roach, via The Telegraph's Gareth A. Davies:

This is a "must-win" situation on Saturday night, and if we don't win this fight we have to consider maybe retirement. So this is a big, big fight for him. We are in a 'must-win' situation, it's as simple as that. Some people think we are all done and we have to prove that we are not.

With Pacquiao set to turn 36 in December, losing three times in a span of four fights would more than likely signal the end of a remarkable career.

Plus, having won 55 professional fights since 1995 and been part of the title conversation for more than a decade, Pac-Man would have little more to prove and would be wise to call it quits before putting his legacy at further risk.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter