By Jake Donovan, Video by Ryan Burton
The stage is officially set for the rubber match between a pair of future Hall of Fame prizefighters in Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. The two will collide Saturday evening, headlining a four-bout HBO Pay-Per-View event live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Nevada.
Not only did they both easily made weight, but did so in boasting supremely conditioned physiques. Pacquiao was a ripped yet light 145.5-pounds for what could be the final fight of his incredible career. Bradley checked in at a freakishly chiseled 146.5-pounds.
Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38KOs) returns to the ring for the first time since his 12-round loss to longtime pound-for-pound rival Floyd Mayweather last May. The five-year buildup helped produce the most lucrative event in boxing history, but also saw Pacquiao's worst performance in years as he reportedly fought through an old shoulder injury that his team claims is now fully healed.
The wildly popular Filipino southpaw has won titles in eight classes and - with a win on Saturday - will become the first boxer in history to win genuine World (lineal) championships in five separate weight classes.
Bradley (33-1-1, 13KOs) enters his second fight with renowned trainer Teddy Atlas after a public and not-so-amicable split from career-long chief second Joel Diaz. The tandem have immediately clicked, with the former two-division world champion running through Brandon Rios in nine one-sided fire extinguishing rounds last November.
The always confident boxer from California firmly believes Atlas is the final piece to the puzzle that will allow him to establish long-desired superiority over Pacquiao. Despite the boxers having split their previous two bouts, most believe that Bradley should be 0-2 in the series.
Controversy swirled from their first fight in June '12, with Bradley ending Pacquiao's welterweight title reign following a highly questionable 12-round split decision win. He made two successful defenses before conceding the crown to the legendary Filipino in their April '14 rematch.