MANILA, Philippines - Just days before their first meeting in June 2012, Timothy Bradley got up on stage and held high an oversized fight ticket announcing a rematch with Manny Pacquiao.
Bradley, as the whole world witnessed, won the fight, a highly controversial decision that forced promoter Bob Arum to call for an investigation.
The decision stayed. The rest is history.
Bradley, 30 years old and undefeated in 31 fights, immediately thought he deserved a second shot at Pacquiao but never did.
Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez instead, and got knocked out, then came off a long layoff to outclass Brandon Rios in Macau last November.
Bradley, in turn, scored back-to-back victories, a scary one against Ruslan Provodnikov and an imposing win over Marquez.
Because Marquez stopped Pacquiao and Bradley dominated Marquez, Arum worked on a rematch between his two fighters.
It took a while to seal the deal because even if Pacquiao said last week he had agreed to the terms of the fight, Bradley only said “Yes” yesterday
In no time, Top Rank made the announcement. The fight will take place April 12 at the MGM in Las Vegas, and there will be a press conferences in Los Angeles on Feb. 4 and New York on Feb. 6.
Bradley gets the rematch he wanted when actually it’s Pacquiao who wants to get even.
“I want to get the title back,” said Pacquiao, the former WBO welterweight title.
Reports said Pacquiao will get $20 million for the fight, $6 million less than what he got the last time while Bradley is getting $6 million this time or $1 million more.
As part of the deal, Bradley also agreed to a contract extension with Top Rank.
“They gave me everything I asked for. I’m not going to get this kind of a deal anywhere else. I’m satisfied and ready to move forward with my career and to fight Manny Pacquiao again,” he told The Ring.
The loss to Bradley led to another loss to Marquez, and Pacquiao was stripped of his pound-for-pound title and some of the luster, too.
His crushing knockout against Marquez, when he lay motionless on the canvas for a minute or so, raised concerns about his health or whether he should retire.
Many thought Pacquiao is done, no longer the same and will never be the same.
But he fought Rios in Macau, and was impressive against the younger, heavier Mexican-American who vowed to send the Filipino into retirement.
Because he was so dominant against Rios, talks of a fight with Floyd Mayweather swirled, and on the side, Pacquiao’s tax woes.
Pacquiao said he was ready to fight Mayweather under any condition, before any anti-doping body, and even challenged the American, now the pound-for-pound and pay-per-view king, to fight for charity.
Nothing is expected to come out of it because Mayweather won’t fight for free. To him, boxing is business. Giving to charity is another thing.
Mayweather will soon name his opponent for May 3, and the stars point to British Amir Khan.
Pacquiao felt he won the first fight against Bradley, and in April he gets the chance to prove himself, and may not leave fate in the hands of the judges.
If Pacquiao wins impressively or scores a knockout against Bradley, then it would lead to one thing: the resumption of talks for a Mayweather fight.
Arum is beaming with excitement. He said the first fight is history, and expects the sequel to be more entertaining for the fans.
The 2012 showdown generated around 800,000 pay-per-view hits, and Arum thinks it will be surpassed if not at least equaled.
The rematch is on.