Philippine southpaw Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring for a rematch and the chance of revenge against American Timothy Bradley on April 12 in Las Vegas, his promoter said on Saturday.
The fight will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, where Bradley (31-0, 12 knockouts) will defend his WBO welterweight title, Top Rank founder and chief executive Bob Arum said in a statement.
Pacquiao controversially lost to the American on points when they first met in June 2012, the crowd responding with a chorus of boos after the shock split decision was announced.
It was Pacquiao’s first defeat since he lost to Erik Morales in Las Vegas in March 2005, ending a run of 15 consecutive wins by the Filipino, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions.
“I’ve never been as ashamed to be associated with the sport of boxing as I am tonight,” Arum said at the time. “This is a fight that respected people scored 11-1, 10-2 to Pacquiao. They said that Bradley was trying hard, but that this was a mismatch.”
Judge Jerry Roth (115-113) awarded the fight to Pacquiao, while C.J. Ross (115-113) and Duane Ford (115-113) gave it to the American, who had been a 5-1 underdog.
Pacquiao went on to lose his next fight, a sixth-round knockout at the hands of Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012 that prompted retirement talk.
However the Filipino rebounded from that defeat two months ago with a decisive, unanimous decision victory against American Brandon Rios in Macau, improving his career record to 55-5-2 with 38 knockouts.
“Desert Storm” Bradley won his most recent fight in October last year, beating Mexico’s three-division world champion Marquez on a split decision at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.