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Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley rematch finalized for April 12

Timothy Bradley’s thirst to definitively defeat Manny Pacquiao has lasted nearly two years.

On April 12, Bradley’s opportunity will arrive.

Top Rank, the promoter for both fighters, announced Saturday that Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 knockouts) and Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) will have their rematch that night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in an HBO pay-per-view card.

“I’m ready to get this fight camp started, but most of all, I’m ready for redemption,” Bradley told The Times on Saturday in a text message.

Bradley, from the Coachella Valley, defeated the Filipino star in a highly controversial split decision on June 9, 2012, when since-resigned judge C.J. Ross and since-retired judge Duane Ford awarded Bradley a 115-113 victory.

Numerous watchers of that fight were outraged by the ineptness of Ross and Ford, with punch statistics reflecting a Pacquiao triumph and Bradley requiring a wheelchair to attend the post-fight news conference.

Bradley said afterward he was made to feel as if he lost the fight and was highly bitter over the treatment.

His return to the ring, however, has been impressive. In March, he engaged powerful puncher Ruslan Provodnikov in the 2013 fight of the year in Carson, surviving a 12th-round knockdown to win a narrow unanimous decision.

In October, Bradley out-boxed and out-worked Juan Manuel Marquez to gain a split-decision triumph in Las Vegas 11 months after Marquez knocked out Pacquiao in the sixth round.

Top Rank Chairman Bob Arum said Pacquiao will receive $20 million guaranteed for the bout and Bradley will get $6 million guaranteed, with both receiving any "upside" of pay-per-view sales.

Bradley, as part of the deal, signed an extension with Top Rank through at least 2015, Arum said.

“Bradley is a much different fighter since their last meeting,” Arum told The Times in a telephone interview from New York. “The fight of the year, beating Marquez, he’s going to be much tougher on Manny this time.

“Many felt he didn’t win that first fight. Now, he wants to win without controversy.”

Pacquiao, 35, rallied from the Marquez knockout with a superb boxing display in routing Oxnard’s Brandon Rios in November in Macao, China, winning a unanimous decision and avoiding the power puncher’s biggest blows while repeatedly relying on his speed to out-punch Rios.

Pacquiao has been beset by tax problems in the Philippines and the U.S. since beating Rios, the issues complicating his effort to pay for relief funds following the typhoon that struck his country before the bout.

Pacquiao’s list of possible opponents included Provodnikov and Robert Guerrero, with Floyd Mayweather Jr. unavailable after past friction and failed negotiations.

Mayweather is expected to soon select England’s Amir Khan for a May 3 welterweight bout in Las Vegas. If both Mayweather and Pacquiao win, there could be another round of talks.

Arum said he expects Pacquiao to fight again in November, perhaps again in Macao.

Pacquiao and Bradley will appear in Beverly Hills on Feb. 4 to begin promotion of a fight card that will include a 140-pound World Boxing Assn. title fight between champion Khabib Allakhverdiev of Russia and Jessie Vargas of Las Vegas.

Pacquiao sparring partner Raymundo Beltran of Mexico will also fight former super-featherweight world champion Roman Martinez of Puerto Rico in a lightweight bout, Arum said.

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lance.pugmire@latimes.com

Twitter: @latimespugmire

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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