Saturday night marks the first big boxing PPV fight of 2016 as Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley face off for the third time. Since this is a trilogy fight, the two men have an interesting history with each other - a history that means more is on the line here than just a win or a loss. Here, revisit that history with this video compiling the fights you need to see to understand the full story behind Saturday's big fight. The full video compilation is below - here's the playlist:
Timothy Bradley vs. Joel Casamayor, 11/12/11
This was Bradley's audition for a Pacquiao fight, and obviously it's an audition he passed with flying colors. Bradley was an impressive 27-0 heading in to this fight, and had recent wins over Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander. Casamayor was winding down his career - this would be his last fight. The two met on the undercard of Pacquiao vs. Marquez III, and when Bradley stopped him in the 8th, his ticket to Pac was punched.
Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao I, 6/9/12
Mountains have been written on this fight and its controversial ending already, including my recent scoring analysis. The short version is that Bradley came in written off as just another Pacquiao victim, he gave it a game fight but lost by all accounts, won the fight on the judges' scorecards in what is widely considered one of the biggest robberies of the modern era, and both men's careers were forever changed.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez IV, 12/8/12
For his follow-up to the Bradley fight, Pacquiao took on his rival Juan Manuel Marquez for the 4th time. All three of their prior fights had ended in judging controversy - this one ended with Pacquiao face down unconscious. It was a brutal knockout, and combined with the "loss" to Bradley put the once unbeatable Pacquiao on a two fight losing streak - the first (and to date only) of his career. He took a year off from the sport after this, and there were plenty of questions asked as to what his boxing future would hold.
Timothy Bradley vs. Ruslan Provodnikov, 3/16/13
The aftermath of the first Pacquiao fight was not kind to Timothy Bradley. Accusations of fight fixing and incompetent judging sent Bradley into a deep depression. This was his first time in the ring after that fight, and he came in with something to prove - to show critics that he was for real, at all costs. As Bradley said, he was willing to die in there that night. The result is one of the best fights I have ever seen, as both men came with every ounce of their being, going to war in an all time great fight - one that is tinged by the knowledge of just why Bradley was so willing to fight that war.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios, 11/24/13
This is Pacquiao's return to the ring after the Marquez loss. It's an effective, solid performance against a seriously overmatched opponent, but it's not full of fireworks or the kind of level we got from Pacquiao against the like of Hatton, Cotto, and so many others. Pacquiao holds a similar win over Chris Algieri - both are pretty typical of the current Pacquiao.
Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao II, 4/12/14
The rematch that officially evened the series. Since the first fight, Bradley was 2-0 with huge wins over Provodnikov and Marquez. Pacquiao was 1-1 with the Marquez and Rios fights. Bradley fought this one like it was the Provodnikov fight, getting reckless and overly aggressive right from the start, and allowing the calmer Pacquiao to take control and work him over. The first fight was controversial, this one was not.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather, 5/2/15
Boxing's fight of the century, but you'll be excused if you decide to skip it. What was such a massively hyped fight turned out to be a bit of a dud, with Pacquiao looking like Just Another Mayweather Opponent - not significantly better than Robert Guerrero, Canelo Alvarez, or many before (and certainly not as good as Marcos Maidana). Is it that Floyd is just that good, or that Manny is faded? Hard to say for sure, but perhaps we'll get some clarity on that question this weekend.
Timothy Bradley vs. Brandon Rios, 11/7/15
Aside from the first two fights in the trilogy, this is probably the most important fight for this weekend. This is Bradley's first fight with his new trainer Teddy Atlas. Much has been made of that pairing, and for good reason - the two men seem to click perfectly, with the best Bradley we've seen maybe ever emerging in the Rios fight. Atlas has talked about how hard they worked to tighten up Bradley's game and get him to no longer be taking shots in his fights - you see that evidence against Rios, and the corner is hoping you see it again against Pacquiao.
Under the Lights: Pacquiao vs. Bradley III
Finally, HBO's always excellent preview of the fight, looking at both this history, and what you can expect in the ring for the rubber match.
Watch the full playlist below, and join us here at Bloody Elbow Saturday night for live fight night coverage of Pacquiao vs. Bradley III.