TIMOTHY Bradley has beaten Terrence Crawford and Amir Khan to the draw as he emerged the chosen one to be Manny Pacquiao’s opponent in the boxing superstar’s scheduled ring comeback on April 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The 12-round fight marks the third meeting between Pacquiao and Bradley, who split their first two encounters the last three years.
Terms of the contract has yet to be finalized, but Top Rank Promotions chairman Bob Arum has already sent the 37-year-old Pacquiao a $2 million advance out of his expected $20 million guaranteed purse, as reported by ESPN.
Bradley, currently the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion, has been the top choice in a short list of possible Pacquiao opponents that also include the upcoming Crawford, the reigning WBO junior welterweight title holder, and Khan, the former sparring partner of the Pacman and a two-time light-welterweight champion.
A fourth one in Adrian Broner, holder of the World Boxing Association’s version of the 140-lbs. title, has since been stricken off the list by Arum.
Pacquiao is fighting for the first time since undergoing surgery last summer to repair a torn rotator cuff on his shoulder which he suffered during his much-hyped title showdown against Floyd Mayweather Jr. The now retired Mayweather won the unification bout by unanimous decision in a fight that went down as the richest ever in boxing history.
With the Filipino boxing icon seeking a seat in the Senate in next year’s national polls, Pacquiao has made known his intention that his next fight will be the last in his stellar career.
Arum though is not sold to the idea even if it was Pacquiao who told so.
“I am not going to position this as his last fight,” said the Top Rank chief in an ESPN interview. “It may very well be his last fight, but I won’t put myself in the position of selling it as his last fight and then he decides he wants to fight again.
“I’m not sure if is his last fight, despite what he told me.”
Pacquiao (57-6-2, 28 KOs) and Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) first fought in 2012, with the Palm Springs, California native pulling off a stunning split decision win in one of the most controversial results in boxing history.
But the pride of General Santos City came back with a vengeance in 2014 following a dominating performance on the way to a lopsided unanimous decision win to hand Bradley his first and only loss as a pro.