Manny Pacquiao has opted to face Timothy Bradley, Jr for the third time for the last fight in his boxing career. The announcement came after speculations that Pacman was choosing among Bradley, Amir Khan and Terrence Crawford. Pacquiao's last bout in the boxing ring is on April 9, 2016. The welterweight titleholder will face the Filipino boxing icon at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Pacquiao's last match will be the main event of an HBO PPV card.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum broke the news earlier this week. He also explained the rationale behind the decision to choose Bradley over Khan and Crawford. According to Arum, the English boxer failed to make the cut due to his weak popularity in the United States. However, the promoter recognized the fame of Khan in the United Kingdom.
"The reasoning was they didn't think Khan would resonate on pay-per-view in the United States," said Arum of the former WBA and IBF light-welterweight champion, according to ESPN. He added, "While people in the boxing community know him, he wasn't well known by the public in the United States. In England, sure. There was no contest that he would be bigger business over there. But the bulk of the money is in the United States pay-per-view."
Meanwhile, Crawford's failure to snag the fight versus Pacquiao was also rooted in the lack of name recall. Arum noted that the current WBO junior welterweight champion is widely known among boxing fans. However, people who are not avid fans will have a difficult time identifying Crawford.
Arum explained, "And they felt that Crawford was a great fighter but that even though the boxing fans knew him, the public at large hadn't heard of him. They thought Bradley, coming off the victory over Rios and the fact that he looked like a new fighter under Teddy Atlas, would do very well on pay-per-view."
Atlas is the new trainer of Bradley. The change in the two-time WBO welterweight champ's coaching staff provides Arum the confidence that the fight in April will be an exciting one. That is, it will not feature the same Bradley who got beaten up by Pacquiao in their last face off. According to Arum, the new Bradley has been seen showing off his moves and skills in his fight against Brandon Rios.
"We haven't seen this fight already because this is a new Bradley," assured Arum. He went on to state, "I don't know that Manny has to prove anything other than he's better than the current Bradley and his new coach. The Bradley, who beat Rios, was better than the Bradley I've seen of the last five years. Can that Bradley beat Manny Pacquiao? I don't know, but I think it's a close fight, and he's still coming off an injury."