NEW YORK — Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao will challenge WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley on April 12th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Top Rank announced on Saturday. Pacquiao-Bradley will be a rematch of the controversial 2012 fight that Bradley won in a highly disputed decision.
Posts Tagged ‘Timothy Bradley’
Three thoughts on Timothy Bradley’s wildly entertaining win over Ruslan Provodnikov:
Who saw this coming?
Bradley, the defending champion who has spent his career competing against top competition, was a heavy favorite coming in against Provodnikov, a 140-pounder best known for being Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partner. But from the opening bell, it was clear this was no mismatch. Both Provodnikov and Bradley came out aggressive, but while Bradley landed the higher volume of punches, Provodnikov’s carried more steam behind them. Provodnikov had Bradley rocked multiple times in the first two rounds, including a shot in the first that appeared to knock Bradley down, to the point where he stumbled twice just trying to get up. Referee Pat Russell ruled it a slip, and Bradley recovered to control the action until the 12th round, when an aggressive Provodnikov swarmed him with power punches and put him down with less than 20 seconds to go. The final scores (114-113, twice, and 115-12) were right, given that judges are handcuffed by what the referee calls. But if Russell had ruled a first-round knockdown, the fight would have been scored a draw.
• I can’t say I’m surprised that former middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik decided to call it quits last week, at 30. From what I have been told, the move to Oxnard, California to train with Robert Garcia had not been going as well as planned and that Pavlik often appeared disinterested during training. It’s fortunate for Pavlik that Andre Ward had to back out of a scheduled January date with a shoulder injury; that could have gotten real ugly, real fast.
Is Pavlik done? I doubt it. Boxing is littered with comebacks, and Pavlik is young enough that he can take a couple of years off. I just hope Pavlik can keep the demons that have chased him the last few years in check. I wrote the first story on Pavlik following his second stint in rehab and I remember his defiance towards accepting that he had a drinking problem. It’s going to be a battle for him to keep his life in order now that he is retired. I hope that, like so many of his battles in the ring, he wins it.
• I’m told Gabriel Rosado, who absorbed a pretty good beating from Gennady Golovkin last weekend, is recovering well and expects to return sometime this summer. Rosado plans to drop back down to 154-pounds, where he will still be a top contender. I know Rosado has his eyes on Saul Alvarez, but a good fight for him would be a rematch with Alfredo Angulo, who knocked Rosado out in the second round in 2009.
• Speaking of Golovkin, promoter Tom Loeffler told me the plan going forward was to have Golovkin fight in March, somewhere in Europe, before returning to the U.S. in June for a bigger HBO fight. If IBF titleholder Daniel Geale wins his rematch with Anthony Mundine later this month, a unification fight with Golovkin would make for a good matchup.
• Timothy Bradley — who has made some of the worst business decisions in recent memory — is reportedly closing in on a fight with Yuri Gamboa. I like it. It’s a very winnable fight for Bradley and would give him a big bounce towards a bigger fight later in the year.
• Checked in with Sergio Martinez’s advisor, Sampson Lewkowicz, last weekend, who told me Martinez is doing well in his recovery from knee surgery. According to Lewkowicz, Martinez is doing strictly upper body workouts right now but will begin full training in late February and will be ready to fight in April.
• Top Rank announced the signing of Chinese amateur superstar Zou Shiming, a three-time world champion and two-time gold medalist in the junior flyweight division. Zou, 31, will make his pro debut in Macau in April.
• If you missed Sergey Kovalev’s one-sided beating of former light heavyweight titleholder Gabriel Campillo, find the replay on NBC Sports Network. In his stiffest test to date, Kovalev walked right through Campillo, a slick, talented boxer who had been knocked out just once before. Kovalev is more than just raw power: He’s a smart boxer who under the tutelage of John David Jackson has developed a complete game. He goes to the head, to the body and when he smells blood has a tremendous killer instinct. Main Events would like to bring him back sometime in June, preferably on HBO. If Tavoris Cloud can get past Bernard Hopkins in March, a Cloud-Kovalev showdown would be explosive.
• I like Bryant Jennings — he was SI.com’s 2012 Prospect of the Year. But fighting Wladimir Klitschko right now is a bad, bad idea. Jennings made great strides in 2012 but he is nowhere near ready for that kind of fight. At this point in his career, a knockout loss to Klitschko might be something he doesn’t recover from.
• Still no decisions have been made on the futures of the Klitschko brothers, per manager Bernd Boente, though I still expect both to be back in the ring sometime this spring.
• So Jorge Arce wants another fight. Boxers really need to stop using the word ‘retirement.’
• Another week, another disgraceful judging performance, this time by Tony Paolillo, who inexplicably scored the Roman Martinez-Juan Carlos Burgos fight for Martinez, 116-112. I’ve watched that fight three times and there is no way you can give Martinez that many rounds. The official punch stats gave Burgos a 286-193 advantage, including 234-164 in power shots.
Unsurprisingly, Burgos’ promoters demanded a rematch.
“Juan Carlos won that fight hands down and this week we will file for an immediate rematch”, said Artie Pelullo, CEO of Banner Promotions. “The kid worked hard and should be a world champion this morning. We just hope the WBO agrees with what the whole world saw and does the right thing by granting us this rematch.”
Timothy Bradley will defend the WBO welterweight title he won from Manny Pacquiao on Dec. 15 at Marlins Park in Miami.
While an opponent has yet to be officially signed for the HBO-televised fight, former welterweight titleholder Andre Berto has emerged as the most probable candidate.
“We’re trying to lock in Berto,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told SI.com on Friday. “HBO is working on it right now. If all things come together over the next couple days that’s what we’re looking at.”
Bradley (29-0-0, 12 KOs), currently No. 8 in SI.com’s pound-for-pound ratings, won a highly controversial split decision over Pacquiao on June 9 to capture the title. The Palm Springs, Calif., native has since recovered from injuries to his left foot and right ankle sustained in the fight.
“From a dates point of view it works out OK for him,” Moretti said.
Berto (28-1-0, 22 KOs) won the WBC welterweight title with a technical knockout of Miguel Angel Rodriguez in June 2008, making five successful defenses before losing it to Victor Ortiz in April 2011. That bout was widely regarded as a Fight of the Year candidate, prompting a much-anticipated rematch scheduled for June 23 in Los Angeles.
But the Miami native tested positive for the steroid norandrosterone in May and was dropped from the card. Berto has since had his license reinstated by the California State Athletic Commission.
Interestingly, Bradley and Berto faced off previously at the 2003 National Golden Gloves championships in Las Vegas, where Berto earned a unanimous decision in the junior middleweight final to win a national title and place in the Olympic trials.
– Bryan Armen Graham
Some quick jabs …
• How much money did Miguel Cotto leave on the table when he passed on a rematch with Manny Pacquiao? According to Bob Arum, a lot. Arum said Cotto’s guarantee for a Dec. 1 date with Pacquiao would have been around $13 million, with the possibility of going as high as $15 million if the pay-per-view numbers were strong. Instead, Cotto will settle for significantly less in a fight with unknown junior middleweight Austin Trout while Arum signed Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth fight with Pacquiao by guaranteeing just $6 million.
• HBO was thrilled with the rating it got for the heavily promoted Sept. 8 showdown between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson. According to the Neilsen numbers, Ward-Dawson attracted 1.3 million viewers, the sixth straight World Championship Boxing telecast exceeding 1 million viewers for HBO.
• Here’s my one and only thought on the proposed partnership between Manny Pacquiao and 50 Cent: I’ll believe it when I see it.
• I’m fully expecting a rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez to take place early next year. Chavez Jr. wants it and Martinez isn’t going to sniff that much money against anyone else. Hopefully Chavez will take his training a little more seriously next time. He has the talent to beat Martinez but he has to be in peak condition both mentally and physically if he expects to have a shot against a fighter as fast and skilled as Martinez.
• At 33, comebacking Ricky Hatton probably has one more big fight left in him. And perhaps the biggest one of his career could be out there: Amir Khan. They haven’t invented a word for how big Hatton-Khan could be in England and after a tune-up or two both could be ready for it.
• Little tired of strength coach Alex Ariza taking to Twitter and passive aggressively implying that a fighter would have done better had he been more involved. In the aftermath of Chavez’s loss to Martinez, Ariza, who had reduced role in Chavez’s camp this time around, in a Q&A with his followers, suggested that Chavez would have performed better had he followed his diet and that Chavez was “not in my kind of shape.” It’s not the first time Ariza has done this and it’s getting a little old.
• Arum says he plans on bringing welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley back in December. Possible opponents include Ruslan Provodnikov, Zab Judah, Lamont Peterson and Robert Guerrero. Guerrero is under contract with archrival Golden Boy but Arum told a handful of reporters last week that Bradley-Guerrero was a fight he would really like to make.
• Hasim Rahman, who held the WBC heavyweight title for a year between 2005 and ’06, is getting another crack at a world title. Rahman, 39, will travel to Germany to take on Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 29 in a fight that will be televised in the U.S. on Epix.
• Predictably, the Adrien Broner-Antonio DeMarco negotiations are progressing slowly. Broner, who is represented by influential and divisive manager Al Haymon, wants the lion’s share of the money and DeMarco isn’t willing to give it to him. Like I’ve said before: Fight each other or don’t fight anyone else in your weight class on premium TV.
• How much did it cost 50 Cent to pry Yuri Gamboa away from Top Rank? That would be $1.2 million. From what I hear from Top Rank officials, that’s just about how much the company invested in Gamboa.
• The always entertaining Gabriel Rosado (20-5) is back in action on Friday night, when he headlines the next installment of NBC Sports Network’s Fight Night series against Charles Whittaker (38-12-2). This is a big fight for Rosado: If he wins, he becomes the No. 1 contender for the IBF junior middleweight title held by Cornelius Bundrage.
• While we all wait (and wait, and wait) for Pacquiao-Mayweather, it’s clear Arum is setting up the winner of next month’s junior welterweight fight between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado as the next opponent for Pacquiao. Rios-Alvarado is expected to be a war, which should give the winner a nice bounce going into a Pacquiao fight.
• Showtime has to be pleased with the numbers for Saul Alvarez-Josesito Lopez on Saturday. According to Neilsen ratings, Alvarez-Lopez attracted 1.04 million viewers. Still, that’s a 42 percent drop from Alvarez’s HBO-televised fight against Kermit Cintron in November 2011, which drew 1.47 million viewers.
• Amir Khan is reportedly set to name Virgil Hunter, best known for training super middleweight champion Andre Ward, as his new coach. That’s a good call. Hunter has a brilliant boxing mind who believes hit-and-don’t-get-hit is the only philosophy a fighter should live by. For a shaky-chinned fighter like Khan, that’s the best kind of trainer.
• Speaking of Ward, cross Mikkel Kessler off the list of potential next opponents. Ward had expressed interest in a rematch with Kessler — whom he picked apart over 11 lopsided rounds in 2009 — but Kessler elected to face 37-year old Brian Magee, who owns a minor super middleweight title. It’s just as well: Ward-Kessler would have created no buzz in the United States.
• Last week, Arum spent a lot of time talking to reporters about junior middleweight prospect John Jackson, even going as far as to say Jackson would get a televised slot on the Pacquiao pay-per-view telecast. But on Saturday, Jackson (13-1) ran into another pretty good prospect, the Jack Loew-trained Willie Nelson (19-1-1), who beat him in a close decision. Jackson still has potential and a lot of power (12 knockouts) but needs to polish his game so he can out box fighters he can’t knock out.
– Chris Mannix
The intrigue surrounding Manny Pacquiao’s next fight continues to simmer.
The Filipino puncher’s first outing since a controversial loss to Timothy Bradley had long been scheduled for Nov. 10 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas against an opponent to be determined, with Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto — all previous Pacquiao opponents — among the leading contenders.
On Wednesday, longtime Pacquiao advisor Michael Koncz told ESPN.com the fight had been moved to Dec. 1 due to issues with his re-election campaign for the congressional seat he holds in the Philippines. Koncz said Pacquiao was required to submit his certificate of candidacy in person and didn’t want to interrupt his training for two days in October with less than a month before the fight.
However, a spokesperson for the Philippine Commission on Elections told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Pacquiao in fact does not need to submit his certificate in person, but can send the documents through an authorized representative.
The inconsistent messages surrounding the postponement have only further fueled rumors, perhaps borne from desperate hope of fight fans and media, that Pacquiao’s team is working to make the long-anticipated megafight with Floyd Mayweather.
Koncz flatly denied the Mayweather speculation, however, saying he doubts the undefeated American will fight again before 2013 after recently serving two months of a three-month sentence in a misdemeanor battery case.
“As you know, we’re willing and able to fight Floyd anytime he wants, but I don’t believe he is ready,” Koncz told ESPN.com. “Floyd just got out of (county jail). He’s spending time with his family. He’s enjoying his freedom. He has money left over from the last fight after being in jail for two months. I don’t see Floyd going into the ring until next year, but who knows? I have no confirmation of his schedule. I’m just glad he’s out of jail. I wish him all the luck in the world and so does Manny, but I don’t see Floyd fighting before us this year.”
– SI.com staff
Top Rank has submitted a request to the Nevada Attorney General’s office for a “full and complete inquiry” into the circumstances surrounding the scoring of the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight last Saturday in Las Vegas. Bradley was awarded a split decision win over Pacquiao despite most ringside observers scoring a lopsided victory for Pacquiao.
Both fighters are promoted by Top Rank.
“The public has a right to know,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum. “The fighters have a right to know. The only way to restore fans’ confidence in boxing is by letting an independent body investigate every detail of the fight no matter how big or small. Sunshine never hurt anyone.”
On Monday, one of the judges who scored the fight for Bradley, Duane Ford, defended the decisions in interviews with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“I thought Bradley gave Pacquiao a boxing lesson,” Ford told the newspaper. “I thought a lot of the rounds were close. Pacquiao missed a lot of punches and I thought he was throwing wildly.”
Skip Avansino, the chairman of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said he had no problem with the decision.
“We had three seasoned professionals working and I don’t question their determinations,” Avansino said. “Unless something is brought to our attention that there was improper behavior, we’re not going to take any action. I’m not going to second-guess our judges.”
– Chris Mannix
LAS VEGAS — Three quick thoughts from Timothy Bradley’s shocking win over Manny Pacquiao …
This was a bad decision. Pacquiao won the fight on my card, HBO’s card and virtually everyone else’s card … except judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, who are the only two that matter. Despite Pacquiao outlanding Bradley (253-159), out power punching the junior welterweight champ (190-108) and outperforming him in 10 of 12 rounds, a pair of judges handed Bradley the WBO welterweight title. It was a bizarre and unpopular decision, one that (again) makes you wonder about the competence of judges in boxing. Bradley was active, but too many of his shots were gobbled up in Pacquiao’s gloves. Bradley didn’t embarrass himself, but he didn’t win this fight, either. Said Bob Arum, “Nothing in my career has stunned me as much as this decision.”
Manny could have done more. Here is why Bradley won: We are in Nevada, and in Nevada the judges have, historically, favored the aggressor. And while Pacquiao was landing the cleaner, heavier shots, Bradley was more active, outpunching Pacquiao (839-751). Every round, every single bleeping round, Pacquiao appeared to give the first minute away. You can’t do that in Nevada. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s the way the judges in this state score a fight.
Goodbye, Pacquiao-Mayweather. You will never, ever be the same. We could still see that fight happen, and there will always be plenty of money in it. But win or lose, the takeaway from this fight for me is that Pacquiao has lost something off his fastball. We thought we saw it against Juan Manuel Marquez, and it was confirmed tonight. The Pacquiao I saw fight Miguel Cotto walked through punches, threw savage body shots, fired heavy head shots. It just didn’t seem like Pacquiao could put together the punches with the same speed or ferocity like he has used to. It’s disappointing, because we will never know what a Pacquiao-Mayweather in their prime fight would have looked like. And that is the biggest blow to boxing.
– Chris Mannix
Here it is. Sports Illustrated writers Chris Mannix (115-113) and Bryan Armen Graham (116-112) both scored the fight in favor of Manny Pacquiao.
Judge Jerry Roth (115-113) agreed, but CJ Ross (115-113) and Duane Ford (115-113) both gave the fight to Timothy Bradley, the new WBO welterweight champion.
LAS VEGAS — It wasn’t the first time Manny Pacquiao organized a pre-fight Mass for friends, family and well-wishers on the morning of a major fight.
Yet there was a particular newsworthiness to Saturday morning’s Catholic service at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, down the strip from the MGM Grand where tonight’s welterweight title fight with Timothy Bradley will take place. The spiritual reawakening undergone by Pacquiao over the past six months has become the central storyline of the promotion, thanks in no small part to Bradley’s anonymity beyond hardcore boxing fans. Thus, more than a half-dozen American and Filipino news outlets had camera crews on hand — from HBO to GMA to the local network affiliates — with countless more still photogs snapping away.
By 9:20 a.m., approximately 400 people had filed into the same room where Pacquiao earned signature victories over Marco Antonio Barrera, Juan Manuel Marquez and David Diaz. On the floor to the right of a makeshift altar, the all-male Servant of God Police Choir and all-female M/J Pacquiao Choir sang Tagalog songs like “Ang Panginoon ang aking Pastol,” “Huwag Kang Mangamba” and “Pananagutan” as ushers in pale blue coats guided congregants to their seats in Section 113.
In the second row sat Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach, in black collared shirt and jeans, politely posing for camera-phone pics with gawking fans every minute or so. At 9:23, Pacquiao’s longtime friend and assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez carefully placed the fighter’s gloves, trunks and six of his title belts on a table next to the gilded cup of the Eucharist, prompting a flurry of photography from amateur shutterbugs.
The congregation simultaneously craned their necks at 9:48, when Pacquiao himself emerged from the tunnel with his wife Jinkee (radiant in a black and white horizontal striped dress) trailed by their children Jimuel, Michael, Princess and Queen Elizabeth, to the traditional Tagalog Mass song “Purihin ang Panginoon.” He looked happy and strong when they rose to sing “Lupang Hinirang,” the Philippine national anthem he’ll hear once again tonight in the ring.
After Communion, celebrant Fr. Marlon Boef blessed the fighter’s shorts, gloves and belts, as he’s done for most of the Filipino’s championship fights over the past few years. But it was Pacquiao’s two girls who stole the show. First 6-year-old Princess made her way to the stage, said a prayer of thanks and dutifully recited three Bible verses (John 3:16, John 14:14 and John 14:15). Then 3-year-old Queenie sang a few bars of “Heaven In My Heart” by the Hillsong Kids.
The pressure Saturday is squarely on Pacquiao, not just to win over Bradley but do it in a way that’s authoritative. That, after all, is how he cracked the cultural mainstream like no Asian-born athlete in history: by dominating his opponents in such hyperkinetic and crowd-pleasing fashion. Yet it’s been more than two-and-a-half years since he knocked out anyone, he nearly lost his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez and turned in a snoozer against Shane Mosley in the one before that. ”Win this one, look good in the next one” is a precept nearly as old as the fight game itself, but a luxury Manny Pacquiao can ill afford to follow.
That burden can’t be easy. Yet for 90 minutes on Saturday morning, he was able to take refuge in the fellowship of his family, his friends, his God. Maybe it’s just what he needed just hours from what could very well be the defining test of his career’s third act.
– Bryan Armen Graham