Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley will meet on April 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in a rematch of their controversial 2012 welterweight title bout.
The deal was finalized mid-Saturday morning when Top Rank got Bradley agreed to terms. Top Rank president Todd duBoef said the deal will ensure the company "has a long-term relationship with Tim regardless of whether he wins or loses," on April 12. The bout will be distributed by HBO Pay-Per-View.
Bradley won the first bout, on June 9, 2012, in Las Vegas, in a hotly disputed split decision. Most observers felt that Pacquiao had won the bout. Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank was outraged that he called for the Nevada attorney general to investigate.
The WBO, which sanctioned the 2012 bout and will sanction the April match for its welterweight title, also conducted an investigation and determined that Pacquiao deserved to win. Its findings had no bearing on the outcome, though Bradley retains the WBO title and it will be at stake on April 12.
That outcome led to cries of a fix. However, an investigator for the Nevada attorney general's office found no evidence to support that.
Neither of the two judges who scored that fight 115-113, or seven rounds to five, in favor of Bradley are still active judges. Duane Ford and C.J. Ross both stepped away from judging. Ross resigned under fire after she scored the 2013 bout between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez a draw when most thought the fight was easily in Mayweather's favor.
Despite the controversy, duBoef isn't concerned that the controversy will impact the rematch. He said Bradley's performances against Ruslan Provodnikov in the Yahoo Sports Fight of the Year and Juan Manuel Marquez have erased the sting of the scoring for many.
"Manny felt he won that fight and he wanted the loss off of his record, so to speak," duBoef said. "Tim felt he won and wants to prove that this time, so we made the rematch. Because of the way that Tim fought against Provodnikov and Marquez, the last impression the consumers have of him is as a star and that's going to ease people's vision of their first fight as a less-than-pleasant result."
Pacquiao is guaranteed $20 million and Bradley $6 million. Both have potential to earn more from the pay-per-view upside.