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Crash Course to the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch

SI Now: Pacquiao vs. Bradley II preview
On Thursday's SI Now, Sports Illustrated senior writer Greg Bishop breaks down the rematch between Pacquiao and Bradley and what it means for each fighter's career.

On Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao (No. 3 on SI.com's latest pound-for-pound list) will take on Timothy Bradley (No. 8) for Bradley's WBO welterweight title at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The fight will be televised on HBO Pay Per View for a suggested retail price of $59.95.

Pacquiao, 34, an eight division world champion, is coming off a lopsided decision win over Brandon Rios in November. Nearly a year after suffering a devastating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez, Pacquiao looked sharp against Rios, showcasing good speed and movement in outboxing the slower Rios. Though Pacquiao-Rios did not produce Pacquiao's usual result in the box office -- the fight generated just 475,000 pay-per-view buys, some of which can be attributed to it being contested in China -- Pacquiao remains one of the strongest pay-per-view draws in boxing. He will earn at least $20 million for this fight.

Bradley, 30, is coming off his best year as a pro. In 2013, he outpointed Ruslan Provodnikov in an all-action slugfest that was SI.com's Fight of the Year. Later that year, Bradley defeated Marquez by decision. Bradley will earn at least $6 million for this fight

Background

A rematch of the controversial 2012 fight, Bradley-Pacquiao II has faced its obstacles getting to this point. In the aftermath of the loss, Top Rank, which promotes both Pacquiao and Bradley, declined to pursue a rematch, citing the sluggish pay per view sales (890,000 buys). In 2013, it was Bradley who declined a rematch. The first fight with Pacquiao had taken an enormous psychological toll on Bradley and he publicly stated he wasn't interested in a rematch--yet.

Last November, Pacquiao returned to the ring after an 11-month layoff against Brandon Rios. It was a tuneup test for Pacquiao--Rios, despite a strong record and an entertaining style, did not possess the speed or defense to keep Pacquiao off of him--and he delivered. While Pacquiao drew some criticism for not being able to finish Rios, it was a decisive victory.

Bradley, long one of boxing's most under appreciated fighters, used a strong 2013 to establish himself as one of boxing's best. After showing toughness and a willingness to exchange against Provodnkov, Bradley reverted back to the tactician against Marquez, counterpunching brilliantly, winning the exchanges on the inside and showcasing the hand speed and punching output that has become a trademark. Bradley is intelligent and disciplined, savvy with an ability to adapt in the ring.

Bradley has been outspoken that Pacquiao is not the fighter he used to be. He insists that Pacquiao has lost his killer instinct--an accusation Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, acknowledges may have some truth in it--and has confidently declared this fight will have a more decisive finish than the rest. Pacquiao, never much of a trash talker, has been respectful of Bradley, while admitting he is anxious to leave no room for debate as to the winner of this fight.

Last Five Fights

Pacquiao

11/24/2013 Brandon Rios, W (UD) in 12

12/8/2012 Juan Manuel Marquez, L (KO) in 6

6/9/2012 Tim Bradley, L (SD) in 12

11/12/2011 Juan Manuel Marquez, W (MD) in 12

5/7/2011 Shane Mosley, W (UD) in 12

Bradley

10/12/2013 Juan Manuel Marquez, W (SD) in 12

3/16/2013 Ruslan Provodnikov, W (UD) in 12

6/9/2012 Manny Pacquiao, W (SD) in 12

11/12/2012 Joel Casamayor, W (TKO) in 8

1/29/2011 Devon Alexander, W (TD) in 10

 
Tale of the Tape
Pacquiao
vs.
Bradley
Dec. 17, 1978
Birth Date
Aug. 29, 1983
Kibawe, Philippines
Birthplace
Cathedral City, Calif.
General Santos City, Philippines
Residence
Palm Springs, Calif.
55-5-2
Record
31-0-0
145.0
Weight
145.5
5'6"
Height
5'6"
67"
Reach
69"
* Official weights announced at the weigh-in.
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