Tim Bradley could probably retire undefeated.
But if Bradley’s legacy did not include a second victory over Manny Pacquiao, the WBO welterweight beltholder still would consider his career to be unfulfilled, according to statements he made during Saturday’s night’s first of three episodes of 24/7: Pacquiao-Bradley II on HBO.
Bradley (31-0, 12 knockouts) is coming up on an April 12 rematch with Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs), from whom he earned his current title by disputed split decision in June 2012.
Bradley was awarded the decision over Pacquiao by scores of 115-113 on the cards of official judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford. Jerry Roth had the same score for Pacquiao and an informal poll of 51 writers favored Pacquiao over Bradley, 48-3.
“Truly, I have arrived but what is it that just keeps bothering me, man?” said Bradley. “It’s that whole Pacquiao situation and everything that went on with that.”
Bradley followed up the win over Pacquiao by rising from a 12th-round knockdown to secure a unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in March of 2013, as well as a split decision last October over four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez, who was coming off a sixth-round stoppage victory over Pacquiao in December 2012.
Yet despite defeating Marquez, against whom Pacquiao is 2-1-1, Bradley still craves a decisive victory over Pacquiao.
“If I don’t go back and revisit that chapter of my life,” said Bradley, “then I’m never going to be able to get over it.”
Pacquiao rebounded from the Marquez loss with November’s unanimous decision over rising 140-pounder Brandon Rios, a former 135-pound titlist.
“Manny says that he’s going to be the aggressive, destructive Manny Pacquiao of old times. I love challenges. I love when people say that I can’t do something,” said Bradley, “because I love to prove them all wrong like I have been doing my whole career. I know that I’m going to be the underdog even though I’m the champion.”
The WBO has declared that the winner of Bradley-Pacquiao II must face that between Marquez and Mike Alvarado, who will fight on May 17.
Bradley wants to earn that opportunity.
“I don’t want a gift. I want a win,” said Bradley. “When I walk down the street, I want people to say, ‘Dang, that’s the guy that beat Pacquiao.’ I want to win and I want the credit for it.”
Bradley’s triumph ended a 15-bout winning streak that included eight knockouts for Pacquiao, an eight-division titlewinner who was in his 60th career fight. Pacquiao had last suffered defeat against Erik Morales by unanimous decision in March of 2005.
During his winning streak, Pacquiao had twice stopped Morales, earned split and majority decisions over Marquez, knocked out Oscar De la Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton and decisioned Marco Antonio Barrera, whom he had also stopped in 2003.
“You’ve got to be hungry. You’ve got to seek and destroy,” said Bradley, “and that’s what we’ve set out to do. I’m going to be there every minute of every dang round. It’s either him or me.”
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Source: The Ring