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Top Rank chief announces Pacquiao’s swan song, Donaire’s return



To open the new year, Top Rank Promotions’ Bob Arum announced two pivotal bouts that will shake-up the Philippine boxing scene.

After months of speculation, The “Fighting Pride of the Philippines” Manny Pacquiao will face Timothy Bradley for the third and final time on April 9 (April 10 in the Philippines) in Pacquiao’s final professional boxing bout.

Current WBO Welterweight Champion Bradley (33-1-1) has seen a resurgence after suffering his first career loss against Pacquiao (57-6-2) during the summer of 2014. “Desert Storm” has strung together a four-fight win streak including a win over former Pacman opponent Brandon Rios to cop the WBO Welterweight crown last November in Las Vegas.

In addition, the 32 year old American decided to switch his camp in firing long-time mentor Joel Diaz for Teddy Altas prior to the Rios bout.

The masses though think that a trilogy is no longer needed as boxing’s only eight-division world champion “won” the first two bouts against Bradley. In their controversial first bout in 2012, Pacquiao clearly dominated Bradley during the entire course of the bout but let the match reach the judges. The result was one of the most controversial decisions in boxing history with judges Duane Ford and CJ Ross scoring the bout in favor of Bradley 115-113 while the third judge Jerry Roth was the only one who saw the bout for Pacquiao 115-113 for the split decision loss. Pacquiao-Bradley I drew 890,000 PPV buys.

After suffering a setback against Marquez, the Congressman from Saranggani Province soundly defeated Brandon Rios in Macao to set-up a rematch against Bradley in Las Vegas in 2014. Pacquiao was able to decisively outpoint Bradley, to give the then 31 year old boxer his first loss, 116-112, 116-112, 118-110. There was a steep drop in PPV buys for this bout though as it only drew 800,000 buys.

“This is a different Timothy Bradley under the aegis of Teddy Atlas,” Arum told ESPN’s Dan Rafael. “This is not me just saying that. The Bradley that fought Rios, whatever you thought about Rios, was a different fighter. It’s still Bradley, but a new Bradley with Teddy. And at this point of his career, can Manny handle that? Remember, Manny is also coming off an injury.”

Pacquiao is coming off a loss against Floyd Mayweather Jr in the richest bout in fight sports history. Moreover, Pacquiao had just turned 37 last December.

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Top Rank chief announces Pacquiao's swan song, Donaire's return News

Top Rank CEO Bob Arum with the Filipino Flash

Also announced by Arum is the return of newly-minted WBO Super Bantamweight Champion Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire (36-3).

Arum told ESPN’s Dan Rafael that Donaire’s probable opponent would be another fighter he promotes, former featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich (20-1-1), who would drop down in weight, as Donaire did earlier this year. Moreover, Arum added that Donaire will make his defense here in the Philippines.

Donaire last fought in the Philippines March 2015 as he blasted through William Prado during Pinoy Pride 30. The 33 year old Fil-Am continued his resurgence in a second round TKO victory against Anthony Settoul in Macau.

He capped his impressive 2015 campaign as he bagged the WBO World super bantamweight once more in Puerto Rico with a unanimous decision victory against Cesar Juarez.

Is Pacquiao-Bradley III necessary? Will Donaire continue his resurgence in 2016? Sound-off in our comments section below