After beating Juan Manuel Marquez via split decision Saturday night in Las Vegas, the next challenger for American champion Timothy Bradley should be a rematch against Manny Pacquiao, especially if he beats Brandon Rios in November.
Bradley backed up his talk against Marquez and came away with the victory, but he needs to build on his seventh marquee win in a row by putting his undefeated streak on the line against a bona fide boxing legend like Pacquiao.
While Bradley won a controversial split decision against Pacman in 2012, most around the sport felt that victory should have gone to the champion. Now is the American star’s chance to prove his mettle by beating Pacquiao again on the heels of defeating Marquez.
Boxing fans have wanted this rematch since the original fight in June of last year. After 12 grueling rounds, the judges gave the decision to Bradley, 113-115, 115-113, 115-113, but most experts on hand had it scored differently.
That controversy brought into question the legitimacy of the scoring in this bout, and the WBO's Championship Committee took it upon itself to investigate the outcome. While the group could not overturn the result, it ruled that Pacman should have won.
Instead of taking his immediate rematch, Pacquiao took the bout with Marquez and was brutally knocked out in the sixth round. Now Pacquiao gets another chance to redeem himself with a decisive win over Bradley.
While Bradley has the speed to stand toe-to-toe with Pacman like he did in the first fight, Pacquiao's power was too much for him to handle in 2012, and it would be a major talking point if they meet again in 2014. After taking a devastating KO loss, Pacman would have unbridled retribution on his mind.
Bradley showcased his versatility and durability when he went the distance against Pacquiao, and there is little doubt that he could do it again—and even possibly steal another victory—if Pacman comes into the rematch without finding the ferocity that made him a legend.
After seeing Pacquiao fight Marquez four times, fans would rather witness the rematch with Bradley.
With plenty of history between these two men and the chance to put on a huge pay-per-view blockbuster, this is a fight promoters must make happen.