American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. believes his rematch against Filipino superstar Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is coming at the perfect time for both of them, even if it happens two years after their first encounter.
Bradley infamously defeated Pacquiao when they fought for the first time in June 2012, being awarded a split decision victory that few observers felt he deserved.
Even then, the American was already preparing for a rematch, having printed an oversized ticket that promoted “Bradley-Pacquiao II” scheduled for November of that year.
The rematch did not happen then, however, as Pacquiao instead fought – and lost – to Mexican rival Juan Manuel Marquez, and Bradley took a few months to recuperate from foot injuries suffered against the Filipino before returning in March 2013.
Speaking to Fight Hype, Bradley acknowledged that he felt an immediate rematch would have been in order, but has no issues with the timing of the fight.
“I thought we were gonna maybe run it back due to the controversy and everything, but he chose to do whatever he wanted to do,” the unbeaten American said. “So at the time, it was just like, hey, I need to sit down and see which path I’m (gonna) take.”
“He didn’t want to do the rematch, but I need to rebuild my career and you know, move forward in my career and not really worry about Manny,” he added.
Bradley opted to fight Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov, and had to survive several near knockouts – he had to take a knee in the final round – to win a unanimous decision. In October, he fought Marquez and defeated him via split decision.
“That’s when I fought Provodnikov and I had success with that,” Bradley explained. “Whatever happened in that fight definitely helped boost my career. And then, I was like, you know what, I want to fight new blood. Let me test the guy that knocked out Pacquiao. And I beat Marquez, hands down.”
But Bradley admitted that the Pacquiao fight was "always in the back of my head."
“I always wanted to get it on with Pacquiao again… but I was just like, eh, I’ll let it materialize again,” he said. “He didn’t want to run it back the first time right after the controversy, so I was like, you know what, I’ll take my time.”
“He took his time, I took my time. Now, it’s time, man. I think it’s perfect for both of us.”
Pacquiao and Bradley will fight again on April 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. This time, it will be Bradley who will be defending the WBO welterweight belt that he won off Pacquiao in 2012.