It's time to put an end to the controversy.
On Saturday, April 12 at 9 p.m. ET, WBO welterweight champion Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley will rematch Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao in one of the most highly anticipated sequels in the sport's recent history.
The fight is being broadcast exclusively on HBO pay-per-view.
When Pacquiao and Bradley first met in June 2012, the ending shocked a good number of people in the boxing community. Bradley won by split decision and took Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title, though, many thought the result should have gone the other way.
Since then, the two men's in-ring fortunes have been drastically different.
Pacquiao was subsequently knocked out by his old rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, in December 2012. He took nearly a year off and returned to the ring against Brandon Rios in November 2013.
Pacquiao dominated Rios, but the performance didn't impress many fans, and more importantly, the pay-per-view interest was down.
But fortunes in boxing quickly change and Pacquiao’s bashing at the hands of Marquez, coupled with his controversial split decision loss (though most thought he won) to Bradley in June of 2012 has tainted the Pacquiao brand. When he traveled to Macao, China, and won a wide decision against Brandon Rios last November, the fight did only 475,000 pay-per-view buys, his lowest output since he drew 206,000 buys in 2008.
Needless to say, in the fickle world of professional boxing, Pacquiao needs to remind fans why he was once a major pay-per-view draw.
As important as that might be, it's also vital that Pacquiao set the record straight against Bradley. Like it or not, the record books say that Bradley was the victor in their last bout.
According to Pacquiao's long-time trainer, Freddie Roach, proving who the better man is will aid Pacquiao's legacy.
"In the history books you have to avenge your losses, you have to avenge your losses in life," Roach said when speaking with The Telegraph.
Bradley won't be cooperative in Pacquiao's efforts toward redemption. Since the first meeting with Pacquiao, Bradley defeated Ruslan Provodnikov in a knock-down, drag-out battle that won 2013 Fight of the Year.
In his last bout, he outboxed Marquez to add even more proverbial salt to Pacquiao's wounds.
Still, the champion has a lot to prove. Because many people believed Pacquiao deserved to win, Bradley hasn't ever had the chance to truly enjoy the first win.
I have a lot to prove in this fight. And No. 1 is that the first fight was not a fluke. There were a lot of things that happened in the first fight that weren’t right. This time I will be 100 percent ready. I have gained a lot of experience from my last two fights on HBO and HBO pay-per-view — one in particular, the one against Marquez, who is a great champion and a great fighter. Legendary.
With so much at stake for both fighters, this bout is perhaps the first must-see fight of the year. Who will reign supreme and walk away with the title and bragging rights in this rivalry?
The boxing community can't wait to find out.
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