Las Vegas, NV, United States (4E Sports) – Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao and World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Timothy Bradley both have plenty to prove when they collide anew Saturday at MGM Grand.
The two fighters first met on June 9, 2012 with Bradley winning a controversial split decision.
With the victory, Bradley not only took the title from Pacquiao but also ended his seven-year, 15 fight winning streak.
However, the judges’ decision caused an immediate furor with promoter Bob Arum saying “I’ve never been as ashamed of the sport of boxing as I am tonight”.
After that loss, Pacquiao returned to the ring in December 2012 but was knocked out in the sixth round by Juan Manuel Marquez. In 2013, he defeated Brandon Rios via unanimous decision in Macau, China.
Since winning the title, Bradley has been in tough fights. In March 2013, he defeated Russian Ruslan Provodnikov via unanimous decision. Seven months later, Bradley scored a split decision win over Marquez.
Now, Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) wants to erase the doubt of those who believe he didn’t really beat Pacquiao in 2012.
Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs), for his part, wants to erase the doubt of those who insist he has lost his commitment to the sport.
In the buildup to the fight, Bradley has suggested that Pacquiao is now more politician than pugilist.
“The hunger that he’s looking for, it’s no longer there, and he can’t get it back. It’s gone. It’s gone. It is, Manny. Manny, you can’t even sit here and say certain things that you would like to say because of what you believe in,” Bradley said.
“Bradley wants a twelve-round chess match. Pacquiao wants something more intense, maybe not a war but at least a high-contact boxing match with some explosive fireworks here and there,” said Jim Lampley, who will call the fight on HBO PPV.
“The fighter who gets his way with that equation is the one who is most likely to win,” he added.
Other boxing insiders disagree with Lampley, saying Bradley will look to take Pacquiao out early.