When Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) squares off against Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) on April 12th in Las Vegas, the excitement for the most anticipated rematch of the last decade has the sport of boxing in a frenzy.
While the main event should be a fierce battle that settles the score between these two men once and for all, there are several marquee undercard fights as well that boxing fans won’t want to miss.
Here is all the vital viewing information for Saturday’s fights, the full card and what the experts are saying about the marquee event.
Where: MGM Grand in Las Vegas
When: Saturday, April 12 at 9 p.m. ET
TV: HBO pay-per-view
Referee: Kenny Bayless
Judges: Glenn Trowbridge, Michael Pernick, Craig Metcalfe
|Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2 Fight Card|
|Fighter No. 1||Fighter No. 2||Weight Class||Title|
|Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-0, 9 KO)||vs.||Jessie Vargas (23-0, 9 KO)||Junior Welterweight||WBA Junior Welterweight Championship|
|Rocky Martinez (27-2-2, 16 KO)||vs.||Raymundo Beltran (28-6-1, 17 KO)||Lightweight||N/A|
|Bryan Vasquez (32-1, 17 KO)||vs.||Jose Felix Jr (26-0-1, 21 KO)||Super Featherweight||WBA Super Featherweight Championship|
|Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO)||vs.||Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KO)||Welterweight||WBO Welterweight Championship|
|Source: HBO Sports|
What the Experts are Saying
After watching Manny Pacquiao take the split-decision loss in the first fight against Timothy Bradley, boxing experts came out in force to offer their analysis and show exactly where the judges went wrong.
As Pacquiao and Bradley prepare for the second chapter in their battle, boxing insiders and professionals are already starting to make noise about what they believe will happen on Saturday night.
Former lightweight champion Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini told Ryan Songalia of Ring TV about who he believes walks out victorious: “Manny will beat Bradley. I thought he beat him the first time but Manny wasn't sharp in that fight. But I think he'll beat him easily. He knows now that he has to, it's probably the thorn in his side.”
Mancini may not be taking Bradley seriously, but Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports talked to the champion about struggling with the backlash from fans and the media following his win over Pacquiao:
It was horrible man, I can't lie. People said some pretty unbelievable things to me. It was hard, real hard. I'm like, 'What did I do?' I just went out and fought, did my job. And what I was going through, wow, that was terrible. I was in a pretty dark place. I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
While the stage has been set for Pac-Man to take down Bradley and rebuild his legacy, boxing insider Max Kellerman talks about an outcome many fans weren’t willing to address until now:
Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz told Luis Sandoval of BoxingScene.com about his perception of what will happen if this fight is as close as the first bout:
I just think at this point if it goes the distance and the fight is close, they’ll give it to Manny. Due to the controversy, the judges don’t want to get attacked like they did in the last [fight]. So we have that in consideration. We know that if the fight goes the distance and its close, Manny Pacquiao is going to win. We know that. We take that into consideration because there was a lot of beef in the first one and the judges took the toll of it and they don’t want to go through the same thing anymore.
With Pac-Man fighting hard for redemption and Bradley fighting just as hard to ensure he walks away with his undefeated streak intact, Sunday’s main event has all the earmarks of an instant classic.
For years, many experts and fans alike looked at Pacquiao as one of the top dogs in the sport, but things have changed drastically. As Yahoo Sports’ Iole talked about, how this match unfolds is as important to the long-term success of Pac-Man as the actual outcome:
Pacquiao became one of the world's most popular fighters in large part because of his exciting, fan-friendly style. If he wants to get back to the halcyon days of 2008 and '09, when there were some astute boxing people who felt he could defeat the great Floyd Mayweather, he'll need to start by putting Bradley away on Saturday. The story is whether he can still do that.
There is no question that both men are in the position that they must win this fight, and regardless of who is victorious, it will result in one of the most interesting bouts this year.
While Bradley deserves immense credit for how he handled the first victory in June 2012 and how he has capitalized on his opportunities, the focus on Saturday will be on Pacquiao and whether he still has the same speed, power and in-ring intelligence to be a viable threat in the division.
If Pac-Man doesn’t dominate Bradley in the PPV main event, all hope of a dream matchup against Floyd Mayweather would be out the window. A victory would keep the hope alive, though.
*All stats via BoxRec.com.