Despite his recent loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao's next fight still held some intrigue.
Former training partner Amir Khan seemed an obvious choice for an opponent, while "Bud"-ing superstar Terence Crawford presented another appealing option. The two of them, who are presently competing in the upper echelons of the welterweight and junior welterweight divisions, respectively, each presented unique style matchups for the Filipino dynamo and would likely make for entertaining fights.
Instead, we're getting a rubber match nobody wanted.
Just spoke to Arum. Pac-Bradley 3 is set. 4/9 MGM on HBO PPV. Paperwork being finalized but said it's done. Sent Pac $2M advance to close.— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) December 30, 2015
Yep, it's Tim Bradley again.
"Desert Storm" (33-1-1, 13 KO) edged Pacquiao in 2012 by a widely-reviled split decision that, while maybe not as egregious as first thought in hindsight, remains baffling to this day. After a brilliant brawl with Ruslan Provodnikov and a decision over Pacquiao rival Juan Manuel Marquez, Bradley faced "Pac-Man" once more in 2014.
Essentially, Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KO) has already beaten Bradley twice in the minds of many. It's not that Bradley isn't still a great fighter; he looked phenomenal in smashing up Brandon Rios earlier this year. It's just not an interesting matchup anymore.
Khan's much-hyped speed and Crawford's switch-hitting both offered unique challenges for Pacquiao and it would have been delightful to see how he handled them. We know what Bradley has to offer and so does Pacquiao, so why do it a third time?
In any case, we'll have continuing coverage as the card takes shape in the next few weeks.