Welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. and Manny Pacquiao have signed on to reprise their controversial, down-to-the-wire June 2012 match where each man is guaranteed to pocket at least $20 million.
ESPN reports Bradley and the man long saluted as “Pac-Man” will square off at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 12.
“I finished the deal with Pacquiao last week and [Top Rank president] Todd duBoef finished with Bradley Saturday,” said promoter Bob Arum, adding that a formal news conference promoting the bout will be held in New York over the next two weeks and a second gathering will be convened in L.A. within 48 hours of then.
As part of the deal, Bradley, who is slated to become a promotional free agent at the end of the year, agreed to extend his deal with Top Rank, almost assuring that he will not be a fight option for welterweight titleholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. anytime soon as he’s repped by rival Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions.
Bradley claimed the first match against Pacquiao in a split-decision that rocked the boxing world and caused sanctioning body WBO to order an independent review of the decision. Arum went as far as to demand a probe of the judges by the Nevada attorney general.
“If people want to bring up the first fight, let them bring it up,” Arum now tells ESPN. “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.”
Since then, Bradley has fought and won twice, most recently over Juan Manuel Marquez in what ESPN deemed the fight of 2013.
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, but not nearly as decisively as Bradley. In December 2012, he was knocked out cold by Marquez, but rebounded to record a one-sided win over Brandon Rios two months ago in China.
Arum said both fighters have agreed to Voluntary Anti-Doping Association random blood and urine drug testing leading up to the fight and that he will have an active voice in the Nevada Commission’s selection of the judges.
“They both wanted the fight,” said duBoef. “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.”