Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley are currently stuck between a rock and a hard place. Both are hoping that their next opponent will be Floyd Mayweather Jr., both of them are coming off bouts against Juan Manuel Marquez, and both realize that they might have to fight each other at some point in the foreseeable future.
Generally speaking, two top-tier pound-for-pounders having to square off isn’t a bad thing. Unfortunately, this is the exception to the rule.
Pacquiao and Bradley previously fought in 2012 to a horrible reception. Their bout was boring, it didn’t perform as well as expected from a PPV standpoint, and the resulting backlash from the final decision sidelined Bradley for an extended period of time. With more momentum than he ever had in his career, the 30-year-old couldn’t book a fight because nobody knew what to do with him. He hadn’t really beaten Pacquiao, but officially he had.
It was a mess for all involved.
The other, less talked about consequence of Pacquiao-Bradley was the temporary rift it created between Bob Arum and Bradley. For obvious reasons, when that horrendous decision came down, Arum sided with Pacquiao. That didn’t sit well with Bradley.
There are a million reasons why Pacquiao-Bradley II is a bad idea, however, that may not be enough to prevent it from actually happening. The reality is this: Bradley won’t get a shot at Mayweather. Even if Top Rank and Golden Boy/Mayweather Promotions weren’t beefing, there is no way Mayweather would grant a fight to a guy who can’t pull in his own audience. And as he made abundantly clear last year, Bradley can’t pull his own audience.
Meanwhile, presuming Pacquiao gets past Brandon Rios this November, his options are also slim. Marquez is still out there, obviously, but to date he has expressed zero interest in another rematch. Mike Alvarado is always a possibility, but that fight wouldn’t do legit PPV numbers. So who is left?
Neither guy wants this fight. The fans aren’t really calling for it. And in all likelihood the final product would probably be even worse than what it was originally.
But what’s the alternative?