The last time Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley met inside the ring, the former suffered his first official loss in over seven years.
That's because two ringside judges -- C.J Ross and Duane Ford -- turned in questionable scorecards, both scoring the action 115-113 in Bradley's favor. It was one of the most controversial scorecards in recent boxing history, prompting an official review by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), but, at the end of the day, the loss will forever be on Pacquiao's record.
Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) has gone 1-1 since then, suffering a humiliating knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez late 2012, then, winning a dominant unanimous decision against Brandon Rios last November. After an uncommitted attempt to organize a super-fight against Floyd Mayweather, Pacquiao is now set to face Bradley (31-0-0, 12 KOs) once again on April 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
Only time will tell if that's a smart move for team Pacquiao.
During their 2012 tilt, Pacquiao dominated a majority of the rounds thanks to his superior speed and power. However, despite injuries to both ankles early in the fight, Bradley had his moments as well. Some would even go as far as to say Bradley proved he was the technically superior boxer during their 12-rounder.
"Desert Storm" has been even more impressive since his win against Pacquiao, putting on a memorable show against the fast rising Ruslan Provodnikov last March. Next came a gutsy performance against Marquez last October, out-boxing the Mexican legend who seems to have Pacquiao's number despite what the official records say.
Make no mistakes about it; Manny Pacquiao will have his hands full when he faces Timothy Bradley on April 12.
Bradley certainly thinks so.
"Now I'm not the little dog on the block. I'm a top dog," Bradley told The Desert Sun. "I'm a lot more mature as a fighter, as a man. I'm a little older, Pacquiao is a little older, so it's different. I've had some great wins in those two years and I feel I'm more than ready."
"It's almost like I spar someone the first time. OK, you get a few shots. The second time, it's much easier, because I know what to expect. Pacquiao can say the same thing about me. But Pacquiao only fights one-way guys. Only one way, and that's the Pacquiao way."
While there are many risks that come with Pacquiao's decision to fight Bradley, the rewards are just as great. Since his win against Pacquiao, Bradley has established himself as one of the elite boxers in the welterweight division, so a win against him would go a long way in terms of Pacquiao proving to the boxing community that he's back to his previous form. A knockout would send an even greater message, and it would also help his bid to secure a super-fight against Floyd Mayweather.
It's not going to be easy though.