MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao has chosen unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr. as his opponent for his April 12 fight date, according to a report at the boxing website Fight Hype.
Pacquiao, who is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Brandon Rios last November, was choosing between Bradley and hard-hitting Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov.
Citing a source “with knowledge of Pacquiao’s preference,” Fight Hype said the camp of the Filipino boxer is “going with Tim.”
“Neither guy (is) a big draw, but with Bradley, they can at least hang their hat on the fact that there’s history between the two fighters. The controversy of their first fight makes it a lot easier to sell than a fight with the Russian kid,” the source told Fight Hype.
Bradley infamously beat Pacquiao when they fought in June 2012, winning a highly controversial split decision even though the “Pacman” dominated the bout.
Provodnikov was one of the breakout boxing stars of 2013, pushing Bradley to the limit when they fought in March before winning the WBO light-welterweight belt off Mike Alvardo in October.
The source also explained to Fight Hype that the decision to pick Bradley was partly colored by the actions of Pacquiao’s Mexican rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, who lost to the American when they fought last year and has been itching for a rematch.
“He (Marquez) doesn’t want to give Pacquiao the chance to avenge the KO, and he’s demanding that he be given the rematch with Tim, even though he acted like a sore loser after their fight,” the source said.
“He’s acting like a diva, and nobody wants to deal with that. Just about everyone – Manny, Tim and even (Top Rank boss) Bob (Arum) – would love to stick it to him and leave him with no other option than the Russian,” the source added.
The source also pointed out that a victory over the still-undefeated Bradley will go a long way in bolstering Pacquiao up the pound-for-pound lists, where he has long been displaced by American rival Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Arum has repeatedly stressed that the final decision regarding the April 12 fight is up to Pacquiao, who is expected to reveal his opponent soon.