Update 1:30 a.m. ET: Manny Pacquiao defeated Timothy Bradly to become the new WBO welterweight champion. The 35-year-old Filipino winner settle the record on Saturday night after fighting the same fighter - Timothy Bradley Jr. - who'd beaten him in a controversial unpopular decision that lifted his WBO welterweight title two years ago on June 9, 2012 at the same boxing ring at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Pacquiao got the nod this time, winning two scorecards by 116-112 margins and a third by a 118-110 score, according to CBSSports.
For all boxing fans, tonight's Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley 2 fight on Pay-Per-View HBO is definitely one of the most anticipated fights in recent years. Two years after their first fight, the former welterweight champion Pacquiao, 35, and defending welterweight world champion Bradley will step in the ring to set the record straight after their controversial fight in June 2012, where Pac-Man was initially ruled to have lost to Bradley, but then re-declared as the winner.
Pacquiao vs. Bradley II fight will begin at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT, but prior to their fight they will have to hit the scale on Friday for the weigh-ins which begins at 5:30 p.m. ET. The long-awaited rematch is scheduled to take place at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For fans who want to watch the weigh-ins on live stream online, official Top Rank website is offering free live stream. Meanwhile, the official fight will be made available on TV at HBO's Pay-Per-View. Those wanting to watch online can watch through PPV live stream through Top Rank TV.
Two years ago, Pacquiao, a top-two pound-for-pound fighter at the time, was a level above Bradley. Although Bradley was officially awarded victory that night, the public's perception, including media and fans, didn't shift at all; Pacquiao would have remained about a 4-1 betting favorite if they'd had an immediate rematch.
However, 22 months have passed since then. In the interim, both players have fought against two other players, setting their own records; for the former welterweight champion, it was one knock out by Juan Manual Marquez and the most recent win over Brando Rios in Macau, but for Bradley, it was two dominating wins over Ruslan Provodnikov and Marquez.
In order to settle the record for the fans, the two will fight again, but this time around there is no clear favorite. Yet, what is for certain is that the winner will take home the WBO's welterweight title and settle the record.
Bradley (31-0) called out Thursday Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 knockouts) for losing his "killer instinct."
"It's reality," Bradley said, according to Los Angeles Times. "His fans are saying the same thing: 'He doesn't have the fire,' 'He's had guys pinned in the corner and lets them get away.' That never happened before. He's not finishing guys. Something's changed."
Meanwhile he also said Tuesday through ESPN.com that he believes Pac-Man has always been a great fighter and a great person, but he thinks "Manny has become a more compassionate fighter," a reason why he is no longer the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach also seconded Pacquiao losing the "killer instinct" as the reason why he hasn't knocked out an opponent in seven fights since 2009. He said this week that the Bible was "getting in the way" of how Pacquiao was approaching his fights.
"His religious outlook on life ... is the major reason why he hasn't knocked people out. I'm sure of it," he said, according to Los Angeles Times.
Pacquiao had stopped short of beating Bradley because his compassionate nature took in before the judges awarded the Cathedral City fighter a split-decision win. This helps bring into to perspective why the last fight was so controversial, where the public and media perceive that Pacquiao should have won.
"Manny told me, 'If I don't need to knock them out, I really don't want to hurt them," Roach said, the Times reported. "I've told him that's not a great idea in boxing. ... People want to see knockouts, and you can get hit the longer you let it go."
Yet, Pacquiao said he wanted to knock out Marquez in late 2012, but instead was knocked out himself. He then got a unanimous decision in the win over Brandon Rios in November.
"It's just happened like that," Pacquiao said. "I want all my fights to be a knockout, but you can't control what happens in the fight. I'll convince people this weekend, prove to them I still have the killer instinct."
Pac-Man said his Christian faith has not hurt his boxing career, but helped him to stop gambling, drinking, and with the girls.
"All of us need a relationship with God, that's the most important thing. I'm not introducing a religion, I'm just reading the Bible, day and night. It's our manual to life. When you have trials in your life, you lean on God."