3 More Rounds

Many questions left to answer in Pacquiao-Bradley 3

Photos: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

Photos: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

The April 9, 2016 bout between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley has plenty of scrutiny tied to it, with many questions and few pleasing answers.

Why is Pacquiao fighting Bradley for the third time? Will Pacquiao’s incendiary comments towards the gay community affect pay per view sales? Just how many pay per view buys will Pacquiao v. Bradley III produce? Who wants to watch it, and what are they fighting for? Is there a welterweight title on the line or not?

However, when everything is stripped away from the surface, at the end of the day, only one question needs to be answered.

Will the fading warrior fall to the proven champion?

There is no title at stake. The WBO version of the 147 title was on the line when the two first met in June 2012, a fight which produced a result that is said to be among the worst in boxing history as Bradley was awarded a split decision victory in a fight that Pacquiao mostly dominated.

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Photo: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Bradley went on to defend the title against Ruslan Provodnikov in a Fight of The Year win, and then defended the WBO strap against fellow Pacquiao nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in 2013 until he met Pacquiao a second time in April 2014, again another dominant win for Pacquiao, this one with the correct decision attached to it.

Pacquiao made a defense of the title later that year, and then lost it to Floyd Mayweather the following year. The title became vacant with the retirement of Mayweather and was supposedly on the line when Bradley faced Brandon Rios in a knockout victory in November last year, but in March 2016 Jessie Vargas scored a knockout victory over Sadam Ali in what was also supposed to be for the vacant WBO title.

Boxrec officially lists the fight as being contested for the international version of the title.

The WBO website currently has no champion listed at the welterweight division.

As for pay per view sales, for as appealing as they are to the general public, just as much so in other sports such as Giancarlo Scranton’s $325 million dollar contract with the Miami Marlins and the most recent Denver Broncos v. Carolina Panthers broadcast was watched by 111.9 million people, numbers are appealing and eye catching to observers, yet ultimately pay per view number mean little when it comes down to the results of fistic combats.

Look no further than the 4.4 million pay per view purchases with a gate record of $72 million the Pacquiao v. Mayweather fight pulled in last May, which ultimately ended with a lackluster 12 rounds devoid of any serious action after consumers pressed the purchase button on their television sets on May 5, 2015.

One million, two million, even four million pay per views do not a great fight make. There is no guarantee in life, just as there are no guarantees in the brutally magnificent sport of boxing.

How will Part 3 pan out?

How will Part 3 pan out?

So on April 9, after all the pieces are stripped away (including the WBO title) what we are left with after the ‘No Trump Undercard’ bouts are completed are two top welterweights in Pacquiao (rated No. 1 by ESPN) and Bradley (No. 2) who will be giving their best efforts in the third and perhaps final installment of their dramatic, if not entertaining and controversial series.

So forget fights I and II; forget about pay per view numbers; forget about title belts. Ultimately, the only question we need answered is this: Will the fading warrior fall to the proven champion?

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