Contrary to what most people believe, Manny Pacquiao’s first showdown against Timothy Bradley did live up to the hype. Coming into that bout, everyone who had previously seen the latter fight knew what he would do against top-tier competition. Bradley is a nice boxer, but aside from his performance Ruslan Provodnikov, he has never been an exciting one. He signed with Top Rank, he got on Bob Arum’s good side and he got a title match out of it. End of story.
While nobody saw the end result coming, mostly because the judges totally botched it, the ebb and flow of Pacquiao-Bradley wasn’t surprising. Pacquiao conserved his energy for large chunks of every round and then let his fists fly to close them out. Bradley took damage throughout the entire match and scraped out a couple of winning rounds. In the end, it should’ve been a clear, boring decision win for Pacquiao.
The "win for Pacquiao" part of the equation didn’t pan out, but the "boring" part did.
With that in mind, and given how tedious Pacquiao-Bradley I was: is there a chance we’ll see a sequel?
Sadly, yes. It’s no secret that Pacquiao tried to get a rematch against Bradley when Juan Manuel Marquez refused to fight him a fifth time. Similarly, Bradley was mentioned as a possible opponent in the immediate aftermath of their first fight; that time, it was Pacquiao who decided to pass. Given that he’s been a finalist to take on the Filipino star in each of the last two times he’s been looking for an opponent, it’s probably not all that farfetched to suggest that history will repeat once more if both win their next fights.
The fact of the matter is: the name brand talent in boxing isn’t particularly deep right now. Guys with some sort of recognition are essentially forced to fight each other just to maximize PPV potential. Regardless of whether anyone actually wants it or not, Pacquiao-Bradley II is probably one of the more inevitable showdowns we currently have in boxing.