Nobody wants to see Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley fight a second time. It may have taken one Bob Arum flip-flop and two weeks of fan whining to get that message across, but it appears as though everyone finally get it.
Eighteen days after the terrible, unforgivable decision that rocked boxing to its very core, reality has officially sunk in.
In the direct aftermath of Bradley’s victory over Pacquiao, a ton of conspiracy theorists came out of the woodwork claiming that the match had been fixed. These conspiracy theorists said that Arum had rigged the fight, and that he had done it just so that he could arrange a rematch between Pacquiao and Bradley (both Top Rank guys) in November.
On a very basic level, the conspiracy theories made a moderate amount of sense. According to CompuBox, in their bout, Pacquiao landed 253 of his 751 punches whereas Bradley only landed 159 of his 839 punches. Pacquiao landed 190 power punches, Bradley landed 108 power punches. Pacquiao landed more punches than Bradley in 10 rounds, Bradley landed more punches than Pacquiao in two rounds.
The math just didn’t jive with the decision. That, coupled with Arum’s general shadiness made folks wary of what had transpired.
But then Arum did something crazy – he came out and squashed all the conspiracy theories by saying he didn't want a Pacquiao vs. Bradley II showdown. He said he wouldn’t sign off on one.
For the briefest of moments, folks suddenly began to wonder if they had misjudged the Top Rank boss. Maybe he wasn’t as slimy as he used to be.
Unfortunately, about two seconds after people started giving him the benefit of the doubt, he flip-flopped on his initial stance and said that if Pacquiao wanted a rematch (which he said he did), then he (Arum) would be okay with it.
So much for standing with the fans. Or so we thought at the time.
Apparently, though, Arum really did turn over a new leaf. During a recent dinner with Pacquiao, Arum gave him a list of three potential opponents for November 10. As noted by the Los Angeles Times:
Pacquiao will choose from a rematch against Palm Springs' Timothy Bradley, who edged Pacquiao in a controversial split decision June 9; a fourth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez; and a rematch against former super-welterweight world champion Miguel Cotto.
Arum said Pacquiao will consider the choices while vacationing in Israel and France, then reconvene with Arum to make a final decision sometime in the middle of July.
A long-awaited bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr. "cannot happen" by Nov. 10, Arum said, saying the date was "too soon" after Mayweather's expected August release from a Nevada jail where he's serving time in a domestic violence case.
Now, the obvious question after reading that is: why are you saying Pacquiao vs. Bradley is off the table when Bradley is still one of the three options?
Well, because clearly Arum is doing his very best to throw other choices out there. Who in God’s name would let their prized fighter go against a guy who had just lost to the other top pound-for-pounder in the world (Cotto lost to Mayweather on May 5 of this year) if he wasn’t legitimately seeking out any other potential match?
Arum can’t tell Pacquiao what to do, but he can give him options and nudge him in the right direction. The Filipino champion may still end up choosing to fight Bradley again but, if he does, that won’t be Arum’s fault.
The Top Rank boss did what he needed to do – he gave Pacquiao the option of sparing his fans a terrible rematch.
What Manny does with that chance is on him.