Manny Pacquiao and WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley held their inaugural press conference on Tuesday at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, California.
The 5-foot-6 Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) and the 5-foot-6 Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) will battle for a third time on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao lost a split decision to Bradley in June 2012 when criminally incompetent judges handed “Desert Storm” a victory. In their rematch in April 2014, Pacquiao earned a unanimous decision over Bradley to capture the WBO welterweight strap. The slugging Filipino officially trumped Bradley by scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112.
Pacquiao, who is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder, is expected to retire to focus on politics after facing Bradley. Pacquiao, who tore his rotator cuff approximately three weeks before getting outclassed by Floyd Mayweather on May 2, failed to properly inform the Nevada State Athletic Commission about his injury. “The Fighting Pride of the Philippines” was subsequently prohibited from taking an anti-inflammatory shot, fought timidly, and was outscored by the 38-year-old Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) by embarrassing counts of 116-112, 116-112 and 118-110.
In contrast to Pacquiao, Bradley seems to be on the upswing with Teddy Atlas in his corner. In their debut as partners on November 7, Atlas helped Bradley secure a ninth-round TKO over Brandon Rios. Prior to teaming with Atlas, Bradley had gone the distance with every opponent he met since finishing Joel Casamayor in the eighth in November 2011.
“I’m so thankful for this great opportunity before I retire,” said Pacquiao, 37, voted “The Fighter of the Decade” for the 2000s by the BWAA. “You’re giving me another chance to prove in boxing that I can still fight until the end. This is a great opportunity and privilege to fight Bradley again and I chose Bradley because I believe Bradley is different than before. He’s improved a lot and we saw that it his last fight with Rios.”
Bradley scraps like a man possessed and he is quick, energetic, fearless and blessed with a sturdy chin. Provided he is no longer handcuffed by a pair of feathery fists, Bradley will have an excellent opportunity to legitimately defeat Pacquiao this spring.
“I heard Manny Pacquiao chose me because he knows me,” said Bradley, 32, who is 11-1-0-1, 2 KOs against former or current world titlists. “I think it’s different now. I honestly do. I think this fight will definitely be different than the first two altercations that we had.”
Pacquiao used elite footwork and the uncanny ability to deliver punches from all angles to develop into one of the most accomplished prizefighter’s in history. However, graying, slowing and returning from a serious physical and professional setback, it’s hard to predict how Pacquiao will perform in his final match.
In a bout that “will definitely be different than the first two altercations,” don’t be shocked if Timothy Bradley beats Manny Pacquiao to win their trilogy this spring.