Road to Pacquiao-Bradley III Part 4: 2014
By Hector Franco
The rematch between Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao was set for April 12, 2014. It was seen at the time as an even match up. There were questions to be answered by both fighters. Pacquiao needed to prove that he was still an elite fighter. Although he was able to dominate Brandon Rios in his previous bout it wasn’t enough to put him back on that echelon of top elite fighters. Bradley was coming off a resurgent 2013. He was one part of the fight of the year and then clearly defeated Juan Manuel Marquez at the end of the year. The momentum going into the second bout was all with Bradley.
The first bout between the two men sold well enough on PPV selling 890,000 buys. There were questions about how much this second fight would actually sell. Pacquiao was now no longer the same cash cow he was before his knockout loss to Marquez. Pacquiao’s bout with Brandon Rios only sold 475,000 in PPV buys. That PPV took place in China and didn’t have the same buzz around it that normal Pacquiao fights contain. If the PPV didn’t sell well it wouldn’t be because they didn’t try. Pacquaio and Bradley were all over ESPN and were even featured on TNT during NBA games to promote the fight on many occasions. This wasn’t about sales for Bradley, however, this bout was personal.
On the night of the fight Timothy Bradley brought a lot of pent up anger in the ring with him. All of the disrespect he was shown after the first fight was going to be taken out on Pacquiao that night. Bradley may have figured that since he beat Marquez and he knocked out Pacquiao, he could do the same. Bradley should have left his emotions in the locker room.
The fight started out at a much faster pace then the first bout. Bradley was fighting an intelligent fight and able to avoid many of Pacquiao’s attacks in the first round. In the second round and third rounds the bout went back to what fans had witnessed in the first fight. Pacquiao was able to get to Bradley and once again Bradley was injured. This time he injured a calf muscle, which limited much of his movement. The fourth and fifth rounds were in a sense the last hurrah for Bradley in the fight. Bradley landed a big right hand in the fourth that lifted Pacquiao off of his feet. By the sixth, however it was clear that Bradley’s strategy of attempting to knockout Pacquiao wasn’t going to work. There were glimpses of the old Pacquiao in the seventh round as he backed Bradley up against the ropes and unloaded a ten punch combination on him. The rest of the fight was all Pacquiao as Bradley’s attempts to go for a knockout played right into the filipino’s hands. At the end of the fight Pacquiao was awarded the unanimous decision and the WBO welterweight title.
Pacquiao proved that while he was not in his prime anymore, he was still one of the best fighters in the world. For Bradley it was a case of Pacquiao just having his number and fighting the wrong fight. The fight itself was more exciting than the first bout and seemed to excite fans enough. The PPV sold between 750,000 to 800,00 buys. It didn’t sell as well as the first bout, but did well enough to be considered a success.
It seemed that this chapter of both men’s career was over. It was now time for Pacquiao to return to the Mayweather saga and Bradley to move on to other fights in his career. Little did fans know that the events in the following year would lead to them meeting once again.