Well it looks like Pacquiao vs Bradley III will actually be on after all.
Today Dan Rafael of ESPN reported that the fight, which was supposed to be announced weeks ago on a TruTV fight card from Puerto Rico, is now on for April 9th, 2016, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs), who turned 37 on Dec. 17, and Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs), 32, of Palm Springs, California, have already split a pair of welterweight title fights, both of which were also at the MGM Grand. This will be Pacquiao's first time back in the ring after an 11 month layoff following his unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather. For Bradley, this will be his second fight under new trainer Teddy Atlas, who transformed the WBO welterweight champion into a new fighter in his last fight against Brandon Rios, who he knocked out in the 9th round on November 9th.
In their first match, Bradley won in a highly controversial decision and then was beaten handily by Pacquiao in the rematch. The grudge match, which is rumored to be Pacquiao's final match, will be an HBO PPV event. But Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN's Dan Rafael that it will not be promoted as his final fight.
"I am not going to position this as his last fight," Arum said. "It may very well be his last fight, but I won't put myself in the position of selling it as his last fight and then he decides he wants to fight again and I look like a schmuck. I'm not sure it is his last fight, despite what he told me."
Many in the boxing community thought that Amir Khan or Terence Crawford would be better opponents for Pacquiao on April 9th, but Arum said after Top Rank spoke with cable operators and satellite services to get their opinions on the fight, they all agreed on Bradley.
"The reasoning was they didn't think Khan would resonate on pay-per-view in the United States," Arum said. "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.
"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."
"At that point, we directed our efforts on making the match between Pacquiao and Bradley," Arum said. "[Top Rank president] Todd [duBoef] worked with Monica Bradley [Timothy's wife and manager] on the terms, and he's satisfied. And the paperwork is being generated now.
Pacquiao will make a guaranteed $20 million for the fight, including a $2 million advance that was wired to him on Wednesday from Top Rank.