By Jake Donovan
Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao both easily made weight for their highly anticipated rematch Saturday evening at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bradley is playing out his role as the underdog and as the perceived villain in the promotion. The reigning welterweight titlist was met with a chorus of boos, but egged on the crowd, as calm as can be sporting a baseball hat, sunglasses and BEATS headphones.
Pacquiao was his usual calm self, all smiles and waiting to take the scales. The always chiseled superstar weighed in at 145 lb. for his first fight as a title challenger since his vacant 154 lb. title fight with Antonio Margarito in Nov. '10.
Despite his name appearing second throughout the promotion, Bradley was granted championship treatment in taking the scales second. Heading into his second title defense, Bradley also weighed in at a ripped 145 lb.
The two fighters were respectful during the staredown, though playfully exchanging words before being encouraged by their respecitve entourages to back down.
The bout headlines on HBO Pay-Per-View (Saturday, 9:00PM ET/6:00PM PT and local time)
THE BACK DROP
The fight comes 22 months following their first encounter, which Bradley claimed victory in a highly controversial split decision win. Most observers had Pacquiao by anywhere from two to 10 points, with very few people believing Bradley (31-0, 12KO) did enough to remain unbeaten and claim the welterweight title.
Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38KO) suffered a knockout loss in his next fight, getting drilled by Juan Manuel Marquez in the 6th round of their epic fourth encounter in Dec. '12. The setback marked the only time in his career in which the wildly popular Filipino suffered back-to-back losses. He has since rebounded with a 12-round win over Brandon Rios last November.
Bradley makes the third defense of the welterweight belt he claimed from Pacquiao in June '12. The unbeaten Californian posted a narrow win over Ruslan Provodnikov - a bout many, including Boxingscene.com, hailed as 2013 Fight of the Year - and a close but clear victory over Marquez last October.
Timothy Bradley vs. Manny Pacquiao - 12 rounds, welterweight
Raymundo Beltran, 134.5 lb. vs. Arash Usmanee, 135 lb. - 12 rounds, lightweight
Khabib Allakhverdiev, 139.5 lb. vs. Jessie Vargas, 140 lb. - 12 rounds, super lightweight
Jose Felix, 130 lb vs. Bryan Vasquez, 130 lb. - 12 rounds, super featherweight
Oscar Valdez, 129 lb. vs. Adrian Perez, 130 lb. - 8 rounds, featherweight
Esquiva Falcao, 161 lb. vs. Pubilo Pena, 162 lb. - 6 rounds, middleweight
Seanie Monaghan, 175 lb. vs. Joe McCreedy, 173 lb. - 10 rounds, light heavyweight
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox