LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and his American counterpart Timothy Bradley face each other for the third time this coming Saturday (Sunday in Manila) in another 12-round encounter to put an end to an unfinished business they failed to settle in the first two times they battled atop the squared ring.
The now 32-year-old Bradley won the first showdown held June of 2012 in a highly controversial manner, thanks or no thanks to what Top Rank boss-man Bob Arum termed as the “Three Blind Mice, ” who saw Pacquiao the loser via a split decision verdict, thus, cutting short the Filipino’s seven-year victory run.
It was judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross who spelled Pacquiao’s doom by submitting an identical 115-113 decision favoring the American. Judge Jerry Roth had Pacquiao, who only two years prior had been crowned eight-division champion, the victor by the same 115-113 count.
So shameful was the result, a five-man panel was created to review the fight. The panel, made up of boxing judges themselves, unanimously found Ford and Duane erred in awarding the win to Bradley, who, nevertheless, kept the World Boxing Organization welterweight belt he and the two judges robbed Pacquiao of.
Despite this, Bradley and his camp still went around town proclaiming he, indeed, won that questionable bout.
Pacquiao bounced back though from that setback to claim back the 147-pound crown by a more decisive unanimous decision triumph in the month of April two years later to prove otherwise, also at the famous MGM Grand Arena.
And so, two of the world’s finest welterweights in this era square off anew this weekend in the same venue where they locked horns in 2012 and 2014 to hopefully decide who really between them earns the bragging right of being the better fighter.
Both promised to make this third encounter the best during separate one-on-one interviews with media men held an hour before Wednesday’s final press conference held at the temporary media center where both also retraced how and for what reasons they made prizefighting their profession.
Both, likewise, reiterated their desire to leave a lasting legacy in boxing, in particular, and in sport, in general, as reasons for agreeing to fight again and complete this trilogy.
Both expressed high respect with one another with the pride of Palm Springs in California admitting he is using the fighting Congressman from Sarangani Province as springboard in his bid for stardom and greatness.
The five-time world belt-owner said that like in his previous fights, he will be doing his best on Saturday, because beating Pacquiao will be his vehicle to become “relevant, talked about and admired by the entire world.”
The Pacman, on the other hand, said he has already assured himself of a legacy to the sport he loves that can no longer be forgotten even as he, once, again hinted of hanging his boxing gloves to be able to serve his countrymen through government service.
“I believe in myself and believe in what I can do” Bradley told his audience. “Saturday night is the only thing in my mind right now. Winning, too.
Bradley said fighting a retiring Pacquiao won’t be that easy as many believe. “On the contrary, I expect Pacquiao to be tougher. He will be more aggressive. But I’m ready for that.” By EDDIE G. ALINEA
Pacquiao tells Filipino community: Hope to see you there in Vancouver
In an exclusive interview with the ReyFort Media Group, Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao thanked the Filipino community in the Metro Vancouver area for its continued support for him.
Preparing for his April 8 fight with Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas, Pacquiao greeted the community, and expressed one wish.
“Hope to see you there,” Pacquiao said.
In what may be his final fight as a professional boxer, Pacquiao is taking on Bradley for a third time.
In their first encounter, in 2012, Bradley came out on top with a controversial split decision win, which saw him take the WBO welterweight title from his opponent.
The pair returned to the ring two years later, when Pacquiao was able to avenge his defeat. He won the fight via unanimous decision and not only won back the WBO welterweight title, but he ended Bradley’s unbeaten streak.
This will be the final opportunity for both boxers to settle any long standing differences or debates, and for Pacquiao, an opportunity to go out with a bang after a glittering career, where he has established himself as one of the world’s greatest ever welterweight boxers.