According to Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times, Manny Pacquiao will be facing Tim Bradley for a third time on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with promoter Bob Arum telling the reporter that the deal is done, and the paperwork is being sent out.
Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KO) has not fought since his May 2 loss to Floyd Mayweather, the richest fight in history but a bitterly disappointing night for Pacquiao, who came into the fight with a tear in his shoulder, undergoing successful surgery after the bout. There was some early talk of a rematch, but nothing significant, and with Mayweather retiring following his September win over Andre Berto, that was totally out the window.
Pacquiao, who turned 37 two weeks ago, seemed to have a field of three to choose from for his April 9 bout, which Arum has said will be Pacquiao's last. Terence Crawford was an early lead contender to come up from 140 and face Pacquiao in a welterweight fight, and Amir Khan was another name prominently mentioned. The third was Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KO), who has faced Pacquiao twice, splitting a pair of fights with him in 2012 and 2014. Bradley's win in 2012 was highly controversial, and Pacquiao got revenge 22 months later, winning a clear decision in the rematch.
Bradley, 32, is coming off of two wins in 2015, beating Jessie Vargas in June and Brandon Rios in November. The win over Vargas had its own minor controversy, as Bradley was just about out on his feet late in the final round, but referee Pat Russell stopped the fight about 10 seconds too soon, saying he'd confused the click-clack of the 10 second warning with the bell to end the fight.
His win over Rios, though, had no issue. Bradley stopped Rios in the ninth round, dropping the rugged brawler two times and forcing the hand of referee Tony Weeks. That was Bradley's first fight under new trainer Teddy Atlas, who replaced Joel Diaz.
Do you see Pacquiao coming back successfully, and going out with a win over a top fighter once more, or will Bradley score a legitimate victory this time and send Pacquiao into retirement with a second straight loss?