Photo: Lina Baker, Instagram: @seeyouringside
Manny Pacquiao will face Timothy Bradley, for a third time in 2016. Yes, again.
The initial reaction from the boxing universe was one of disappointment and Twitter scorn as the masses wanted to hear of a showdown with undeserving underachiever Amir Khan or, great promotional banter from an also undeserving Adrien Broner or, a passing of the torch fight with a very deserving Terrance Crawford.
My reaction to the announcement: What are you bitching about?
Lest we forget the score is 1-1, say it, go ahead, you already had it cocked and ready to pull the trigger on the ol “Well Pacquiao really won the first fight, then dominated the second fight so it’s like he already beat him twice.”
But he didn’t, the score is 1-1; most boxing die-hards such as you and myself would say that merits a rubber match for a final disposition.
Let’s look back, the general consensus of the first fight says that everyone ringside had Pacquiao winning. Listening to the HBO broadcast you’d have thought Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman were heading up to Pacquiao’s hotel room afterwards to give him a foot-rub and show him their new Pac Man tattoos. The fight was close could Pacquiao have won? Sure but, he didn’t and rather than propel Tim Bradley into the spotlight of greatness a terrible tragedy was performed.
The Society of Professional Journalists second tenet is “Minimize Harm” to do no unnecessary harm, did Tim Bradley get this professional courtesy after his victory over an unbeatable (at the time) foe? No he didn’t, and the main stream boxing media continued to pound the drum of an undeserved victor who didn’t deserve the rematch slated for five months later as stipulated in the rematch clause. Bradley had to wait two years to earn redemption.
What did Bradley do in those two years? Oh not much unless you think winning a fight of the year is a small feat that everyone gets the opportunity to perform. Or how about unquestionably winning against the great Juan Manuel Marquez? A feat the great Manny Pacquiao could never do.
Either way you slice it, this is a good fight. A trilogy ender between two sure fire, first ballot hall of famers. Bradley fought the second fight with a chip on his shoulder grown from the by-product of a boxing media that all but labeled him a thief, firing too many big right hands in an attempt to knockout the Filipino Phenom during a deserved unanimous decision loss. The addition of Teddy Atlas adds more boxing IQ to Bradley’s already high number.
Why complain? The end is nigh on Pacquiao and Bradley’s careers, Bradley has beaten every man he has faced with the exception of a draw against Diego Chavez. Pacquiao has reached a status of mythical proportions, let them face each other with the support of a boxing populace that is grateful for their contributions to this love we call the sweet science.
It could be worse Pac vs. Bradley is nothing near the realm of Mayweather vs. Berto as a swan song. Pac vs. Bradley pits two undisputed top 10 pound for pound fighters against each other. You’re not going to get that level of competition on free TV.