Tim Bradley finally gets the chance to erase the terrible memory of his first fight with Manny Pacquiao when the American squares-up to the Filipino legend again on April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The rematch comes seventeen months later than originally anticipated by Bradley at the pair’s first press conference in early 2012, after ‘Desert Storm’ turned up 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 as 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 own scoring of the fight was pretty accurate as far as I was concerned on the night and 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 to neutralize any threat from the challenger and was convinced my 118-110 scorecard would be mimicked by those at ringside. As soon as Michael Buffer announced that there was a split decision my heart sank. 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 – as the majority of fans around the world vented their disbelief at what had transpired to take away Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title.
Pacquiao looked puzzled at the result, but gracefully accepted the decision to his credit, although Bradley was clearly amazed that he had been handed what can only be described as a gift by a panel of judges who clearly 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 and still to this day hasn’t admitted that he lost the first fight, 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 and he was also lucky to be given a unanimous win over Ruslan Provodnikov as the Russian maybe 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 on a weekly basis.
I would like nothing more than seeing Timothy Bradley earn and be given a correct victory over Manny Pacquiao if he so deserves it, but for me he lost that first fight convincingly and is aiming to even up the score in two months’ time.
If Bradley can defeat a more aged Pacquiao would that then mean Bob Arum will call for a decider? I doubt it, but lets hope for another entertaining instalment 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
See below for my original scorecard from Pacquiao v Bradley I