MANILA, Philippines – Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is counting on Timothy Bradley’s increase in popularity to boost interest in the American boxer’s rematch against Manny Pacquiao in April.
The unbeaten Bradley was not well-known to casual boxing fans when he first fought Pacquiao in June 2012, but gained notoriety when he won a controversial split decision over the “Pacman” in a fight that many felt the Filipino won handily.
But Bradley has since endeared himself to boxing fans by engaging Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov in a wild showdown in March 2013, which he won via unanimous decision. He also beat Pacquiao’s rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, via split decision in October.
“I think that since the first Pacquiao fight, Tim Bradley has been involved in fights that had him acclaimed as the Fight of the Year with Provodnikov,” Arum said in a RingTV report. “That shows that he can be an exciting fighter.”
“And then, he had that brilliant victory over Marquez,” he added. “So I think that it’s clear that Bradley is even more of an attraction than he was then.”
Arum is confident that Bradley’s increasing popularity, as well as the controversy left over from the first fight, will generate a lot of interest in the rematch.
“I think that it will be a really good fight, and there will be a lot of speculation about the fight, and that will help to develop and spark interest. Bradley is a much more experienced fighter now than he was when he first fought Manny. I think that this will be a fascinating battle,” said Arum.
The first Pacquiao-Bradley fight generated just under 900,000 pay-per-view buys, according to Mark Taffet of HBO PPV.
Arum also told ESPN.com that both Bradley and Pacquiao “really wanted this rematch.”
“They both wanted the fight. Manny wants to set the record straight about the first fight, and Timmy wants to erase the thoughts that he was given a gift,” the promoter said. “He thinks he won legitimately the first time and he says he will do it again.”