Eight-weight champion Manny Pacquiao heads into a trilogy fight with Timothy Bradley in dire need of a victory to erase the painful memory of his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The 37 year-old meets the younger Bradley for the third time in a contest that was many people’s third choice from a shortlist including former training partner Amir Khan and two-weight title holder Terence Crawford.
It seems Pacquiao was looking for a sure thing when choosing Bradley, having arguably won both their previous bouts in 2012 and 2014. The first contest was a highly debated decision for Bradley when a score of 118-110 in favour of Pacquiao would not have raised an eyebrow.
Taking the return two years later, Pacquiao put on a masterclass performance once again to regain the WBO welterweight title and push on towards his money-spinning clash with Mayweather in May 2015.
Due to Pacquiao’s whimpering loss to Mayweather, there are some predictions that the Filipino may be on his way down and Bradley could take advantage of the fact that the ‘Pacman’ is ready to hang up his gloves for good.
Although Pacquiao has the experience, Bradley has a new trainer in Teddy Atlas and may cause an upset on the night to leave the veteran champion facing retirement in the face with two straight defeats.
Bradley is probably the fresher of the two, but then again, there are some question marks over his new tactics with Atlas that bring out the possibility of the third fight being the best of the bunch on April 9 at the MGM Grand.
Pacquiao will no doubt want to go out on a high, whilst Bradley has been fighting fire with fire recently. Put it all together and the encounter has all the ingredients to be a blockbuster event on HBO PPV.