Pacquiao-Bradley II set for April
Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao and welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr, whose June 2012 fight will go down as one of the most controversial decisions in boxing history, will meet again.
Bradley agreed to terms on Saturday, a week after Pacquiao did the same, to set up their sequel, which will take place on April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com.
"I finished the deal with Pacquiao last week and [Top Rank president] Todd [duBoef] finished with Bradley [Saturday]," Arum said.
As part of the deal, Bradley, due to become a promotional free agent at the end of the year, extended his contract with Top Rank, duBoef told ESPN.com. Arum said that the formal news conference to announce the fight is scheduled for February 4 in New York with a second news conference to be held in Los Angeles either the next day or two days later.
Arum said Pacquiao will be guaranteed $20 million - a $6 million cut from the first fight - and that Bradley would receive $6 million, a $1 million raise from the first fight. Both fighters will also be cut in for an upside of the pay-per-view profits, Arum said. The first bout generated approximately 890,000 pay-per-view buys, according to Mark Taffet of HBO PPV.
When Pacquiao and Bradley met the first time, also at the MGM Grand, Bradley was awarded a split-decision victory that gave him a 147-pound world title and left the world in stunned disbelief over the 115-113 scorecards he received from judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross. Jerry Roth had it 115-113 for Pacquiao and even that was too close for many.
The result caused such an outrage that the WBO, which sanctioned the title fight, held an independent review of the video and all judges scored it for Pacquiao. Arum, who strongly believed Pacquiao had won, asked for the Nevada attorney general to investigate the judges, which turned up nothing out of the ordinary. Ford and Ross were criticised around the world and Bradley, even though he had nothing to do with the scoring, received death threats from angry Pacquiao fans.
While the result of the first bout is bound to be heavily rehashed in the build-up to the rematch, Arum said he didn't think it would have much to do with the fight.
"My feeling is that if this were the next fight after their first fight then maybe the result would be really relevant," Arum said. "But it's a different Bradley now, having had that great fight with [Ruslan] Provodnikov and beating [Juan Manuel] Marquez. I sort of think what happened in the first fight, whether you think the result was just or unjust, is yesterday's news.
"If people want to bring up the first fight, let them bring it up. As far as I'm concerned it's irrelevant. I thought like everybody else that Pacquiao won the fight and I was shocked when I heard the result, but to me it's not relevant."
Bradley has fought twice since, outpointing Provodnikov in an epic slugfest in March that was the 2013 ESPN.com fight of the year and then outpointing Marquez in October.
The 35-year-old Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs), who has won world titles in a record eight weight classes and is also a congressman in the Philippines, has also fought twice and is a much different fighter now than he was then, getting knocked out cold by Marquez in the sixth round in December 2012 and returning to score a lopsided decision win in a tentative performance against Brandon Rios in November in Macau, China.
Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs), 30, of Palm Springs, Calif., got the fight over second-choice Provodnikov, who, after losing to Bradley, went on to win a junior welterweight world title from Mike Alvarado in October.
"Bradley really established himself and differentiated himself from the pack with the Provodnikov and Marquez wins and he really wanted this rematch. So did Manny," duBoef said. "They both wanted the fight. Manny wants to set the record straight about the first fight and Timmy wants to erase the thought that he was given a gift. He thinks he won legitimately the first time and he says he will do it again."
Arum said both fighters agreed to random blood and urine drug testing leading up to the fight to be conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, which is headed by Dr. Margaret Goodman, the former chief ringside doctor for the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Arum said Goodman would work closely with the commission every step of the way with regard to the testing.
Arum said when it comes time for the Nevada commission to select the judges and referee - a point of significant interest for the fight, considering what happened the first time around - he will ask that the panel consider officials besides just those who work in Nevada, which is how it has operated for years. However, commission executive director Keith Kizer, who championed that policy, stepped down this month.
"This fight will be regulated by a new executive director, whoever that may be, and I am going to ask that the commission cast as wide a net as possible for potential officials," Arum said. "I don't think they should be limited to just Nevada officials. Not the same old, same old. Hopefully, the commission will go along with that."
DuBoef negotiated the deal with Bradley and his wife, Monica, because Bradley's contract with long-time manager Cameron Dunkin expired and Bradley did not renew. Part of the talks for the fight included extending his Top Rank promotional deal. That means Bradley is off the table as a possible opponent for pound-for-pound for king and fellow welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr next year because he's with rivals Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions.
"We had conversations from the beginning about going forward to extend him beyond our current obligations," duBoef said. "The promotional deal was not an add-on. It was always part of the conversation. Now Timmy has a big, lucrative package deal that includes the Pacquiao fight and beyond. Monica and I have been dealing with it for a few weeks. I listened to their needs and they listened to mine and a fair deal was made by everybody."
Pacquiao's deal with Top Rank is due to expire at the end of the year, but Arum said the deal for the Bradley rematch does not include an extension.
"We are engaged in discussions on an extension, but we're not there yet," Arum said.
This article originally appeared on ESPN.com