Manny Pacquiao gets his chance for revenge as well as the opportunity to get his title back when he and Timothy Bradley meet again on April 12 at the MGM Grand Garden, the site of their controversial fight on June 9, 2012.
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum announced the deal was done Saturday morning after Bradley agreed to terms. Pacquiao had signed off on the rematch earlier in the week. The fight will be televised on HBO Pay Per View and tickets go on sale Feb. 4 at the MGM Grand and all Ticketmaster locations.
“It’ll be a good fight,” Arum said Saturday from New York. “There’s a lot of history there and a lot of controversy as well.”
In their first meeting, Bradley was awarded a 12-round split decision victory and Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight belt at the Grand Garden despite many ringside observers and fans believing Pacquiao had won going away. Judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross both had Bradley winning the fight by identical 115-113 scores. Jerry Roth had Pacquiao winning 115-113.
In the aftermath, Arum demanded the Nevada attorney general look into the judging of the fight. And while no wrongdoing was found, the Nevada Athletic Commission took a lot of heat, particularly in its decision to use Ross as one of the judges.
Both fighters are coming off impressive performances. Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 knockouts) dominated Brandon Rios in Macau Nov. 24 to win a 12-round unanimous decision. Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) retained his title after defeating Juan Manuel Marquez Oct. 12 at the Thomas & Mack Center, winning a 12-round split decision in a fight many felt he had deserved to win.
“Bradley is a better fighter than the first time he fought Manny and Manny showed he hasn’t lost anything after he beat Rios,” Arum said.
Bradley has never been in a rematch situation. But given the circumstances surrounding his first meeting with Pacquiao, he was willing to take him on again, especially since he’s getting more money this time. He will receive $6 million for the rematch, about $1 million more than he got in 2012. Pacquiao’s purse will be a minimum of $20 million.
A news conference has been scheduled for Feb. 4 in Los Angeles to launch the promotion of the fight.
HUNTER, TABITI WIN — Las Vegas heavyweight Michael Hunter was able to shake off almost five months of inactivity with no problem and score a knockout win over Gary Tapuosa Friday at the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Wash.
Hunter (3-0, 3 KOs), who last competed on Aug. 30, dominated and took out Tapuosa at 1:41 of the first round.
“I hit him with everything,” said Hunter, who knocked Tapuosa down twice in the first minute before finishing him off with a 1-2 combination and a left hook to the body. “It felt real sharp. It was like I was never off.”
Also on the card was Las Vegas cruiserweight Andrew Tabiti who remained undefeated with a second-round KO over Kenneth Gray. Tabiti, who turned pro last July, improved to 4-0 with 4 KOs as he stopped Gray at 1:22.
NATIONALS RESULTS — Two local fighters medaled at the USA Boxing elite national championships Friday in Spokane, Wash.
In the 152-pound weight class, Timothy Lee took a bronze medal after making it to the semifinals. Lee defeated Paul Kroll of Philadelphia, 2-1, Jose Pena of Tucson, Ariz., 2-1 before falling 3-0 in the semis to Jose Alday of Odessa, Texas.
In the super heavyweight division (201+ pounds), Marcellus Williams was guaranteed a medal before he ever stepping into the ring as he was one of only four competitors. Williams lost 3-0 to Tacoma’s Elvis Garcia Friday to get his bronze medal.
ORTIZ RETURNS — Former world champion Victor Ortiz is returning to the ring after being away for 19 months. Ortiz, who broke his jaw in the ninth round against Josesito Lopez on June 23, 2012 and lost by technical knockout when he couldn’t continue , faces Luis Collazo Thursday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The scheduled 10-round welterweight fight will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (Cable 329).
“Everything happens for a reason,” said Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KOs). “But I took my time, I let my jaw heal right and I’m glad to be back.”
Ortiz, who did some acting and some television work during his hiatus, said it was tough being away.
“It disgusted me to watch boxing because there were contenders who were there by mistake, guys I knew I could beat,” he said. “But I’m only 26. I’ll be around for a long time.”
Collazo (34-5, 17 KOs) fought three times in 2013, all victories. He said he might be the sharper fighter on Thursday. He’ll certainly be the crowd favorite, having been born and raised in New York.
The televised portion of the card begins at 6 p.m.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at 702-387-2913 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.