The rematch comes seventeen months later than initially anticipated. ‘Desert Storm’ turned up to a pre-fight press conference sporting a massive ticket for a November return which ultimately failed to materialize.
A sour taste was left in everyone’s mouths as a result of their June 9 encounter. Bradley walked away with an astonishing split decision win as the now-retired judge C.J Ross and colleague Duane Ford somehow carded for the underdog.
My scoring of the fight was pretty accurate as far as many were concerned on the night. By the twelfth round, I had already prepared my article for publication with the headline ‘Manny Pacquiao dominates Timothy Bradley’ confidently at the heading.
I could only manage to give Bradley two rounds of the contest as Pacquiao put on a masterful display. He neutralized any threat from the challenger and was convinced those at ringside would mimic my 118-110 scorecard.
As soon as Michael Buffer announced that there was a split decision, my heart sank once again.
I then knew that something strange was in the air and fully expected to hear Bradley’s name called out as the winner.
Hurriedly I changed my story and posted out the shocking events. But, like me, the majority of fans around the world vented their disbelief at what had transpired.
Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title was gone. He looked puzzled at the result but gracefully accepted the decision to his credit.
However, Bradley was amazed that he had been handed what can only be described as a gift by a panel of judges who watched a different fight.
Maybe I am wrong and overreacting somewhat. But I cannot see, having watched the fight back more than once, how anyone in their right mind can come back with a scorecard less than 116-112 to Pacquiao.
Bradley has ultimately gained his wish, having predicted a second fight all that time ago. Still, to this day, he hasn’t admitted that he lost the first fight. That’s despite a tsunami of abuse in the aftermath of the first meeting.
His turning up at the post-fight press conference in a wheelchair having been declared the winner is still one of the more comical moments of recent years in the sport for me, and even though he was correctly handed the Marquez fight in his last outing, Bradley still has much to prove against Pacquiao.
Bradley’s win over Marquez was by the slightest of margins. He was also lucky to be given a unanimous victory over Ruslan Provodnikov. The Russian deserved at least a draw for his part.
With the publicity train about to set-off for the rematch, April 12 should be seen as a defining moment in Bradley’s career as it is imperative that he wins, and wins well, to erase the controversy that still hangs over his head.
For anyone questioning a vendetta, my articles on the fight are not because I don’t rate Bradley or like his out of the ring attitude, but more the scandalous judging that plagues the sport every week.
I want nothing more than seeing Timothy Bradley earn and be given a correct victory over Manny Pacquiao if he so deserves it.
Still, for me, he lost that first fight convincingly. Bradley is now aiming to even up the score in two months.
If Bradley can defeat a more aged Pacquiao, would that mean Bob Arum will call for a decider? Probably.
Let hope for another entertaining installment in the spring as the undefeated welterweight title-holder is rarely in a dull fight.
Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay for tweets of upcoming news on WBN.