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Pacquiao to fight Bradley on April 12, not Guerrero

Manny Pacquiao, right, had little trouble reaching Timothy Bradley in their 2012 meeting, but Bradley was awarded a split decision.
Manny Pacquiao, right, had little trouble reaching Timothy Bradley in their 2012 meeting, but Bradley was awarded a split decision.

Manny Pacquiao’s next bout will be an April 12 rematch with Timothy Bradley,Top Rank announced Saturday.

That’s not what Gilroy’s Robert Guerrero was hoping. He wanted to fight Pacquiao.

But let’s face it, the public is less interested in seeing Pacquiao -- or Bradley -- fight Guerrero than in seeing them fight each other again, so Guerrero might be wise to rethink his current campaign to renounce Golden Boy to defect to Top Rank or any other promoter. Golden Boy offers most of Guerrero’s best options.

Bradley is Pacquiao’s best option, and Top Rank’s, too. The lack of other options gave a bit of weight to Guerrero’s ploy. So many of Guerrero’s Golden Boy stablemates are unavailable to Pacquiao.

The obvious reason to cheer the Pacquiao-Bradley rematch is that the outcome of the first bout in June 2012 was unsatisfactory. Despite hitting Bradley as no one else has and winning 10 to all 12 of the rounds by the reckoning of many, including me, Pacquiao came out on the short end of the split decision.

When Pacquiao then got caught by a sudden knockout punch in a fight he was winning against Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012, it was time to question whether Pacquiao, then 34 and already a busy Philippines congressman, had fallen out of the top tier.

Then Pacquiao’s energetic and one-sided victory over Brandon Rios two months ago convinced the public that Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 knockouts) still bears watching. He sustained action far more forcefully than he did against Bradley or in his 2010 and 2011 bouts.

Bradley (31-0, 12 knockouts) actually lost face by getting what so many felt was an undeserved victory , and I thought Bradley had been diminished further last spring when he got into a slugfest with unsung Ruslan Provodnikov and was knocked down a couple of times.

But that bout ended up winning plaudits for fight of the year, and Bradley’s gritty performance made him considerably more popular He followed up with a close but convincing decision victory over Marquez in November 2013, and Provodnikov followed up by overpowering Mike Alvarez.

Bradley has quite a body of work now, as we were reminded Saturday when former Bradley victim Lamont Peterson fought impressively to retain his IBF junior welterweight title Saturday against fearsome and unbeaten Dierry Jean.

Bradley now outranks Pacquiao in the pound-for-pound ranks, and don’t be surprised if he’s the betting favorite.

It would be great to see Guerrero fight either guy someday, but he definitely must fight someone else in the meantime. Marquez would be nice, but Guerrero needs to broaden his view of prospective opponents, not so much because he lost convincingly to the great Floyd Mayweather last spring, but because he hasn’t accomplished anything since. He needs a fight, and soon.

Pacquiao-Bradley gives boxing fans something big to anticipate, and right now No. 2 on that list is Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo, a bout in which Angulo has only a puncher’s chance, and only rumblings of a Mayweather bout with Amir Khan, in early May presumably, provide further hope beyond April 12.

Let’s hope the spring-summer schedule changes a lot in the next three weeks or so and that Guerrero is somehow part of it.

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