If Timothy Bradley's controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday was undeserved—and the general consensus seems to say it was—there should be nothing stopping Pac-Man from scheduling a rematch in November.
It's a risk, but it is a critical risk that Pacquiao must take if he wants to ensure his legacy as one of the greatest welterweights ever.
After Bradley's controversial win in a split decision on Saturday, Pacquiao, the crowd and promoter Bob Arum—who represents both Pacquiao and Bradley—were left fuming. Originally, Arum told ESPN.com that he was "ashamed of the sport of boxing" and stood to make a lot of money from a rematch.
Now, though, it seems a rematch isn't in the cards.
According to Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole, a public outcry about a possible fix orchestrated by Arum has led Arum to the decision that a rematch cannot happen until Nevada attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto investigates the outcome of Saturday's bout.
Arum told Iole:
I want to investigate whether there was any undue influence, whether the [Nevada Athletic Commission] gave any particular instruction and how they came to this conclusion. But the whole sport is in an uproar. People are going crazy.
Is a conspiracy theory really all that crazy? After all, Arum had a lot to gain from a Bradley victory on Saturday: It would mean one of the most controversial decisions in the sport in years, and it essentially guaranteed a rematch—and the millions of dollars that will accompany such an event.
Or maybe the judges were just offering their honest takes, and Arum is now forced to do everything he can to keep his hands clean.
Conspiracy or not, investigation or not, nothing changes the fact that Pacquiao needs to fight Bradley again to save face. There's no other option. If he deserved to win on Saturday against an undefeated rival who's notoriously tough on lefties, than it's time to put his money where his mouth is.
Of course, there will be immense pressure leading up to the rematch, pressure that will threaten to destroy both contenders.
For Pacquiao, he knows that another loss would be a devastating, insurmountable blow to his legacy. For Bradley, a second win is the only thing that can prove his first wasn't a giant fluke.
May the man who can withstand the most pressure win. And by all indications, it should be Pacquiao.