HBO officials confirmed Monday that it will distribute the April 9 Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley pay-per-view boxing event, the third fight between the two former welterweight champions.
The fight is the first for Pacquiao since his record-setting May 2 PPV fight against Floyd Mayweather. That fight, in which Pacquiao lost a lackluster unanimous decision to the undefeated Mayweather, drew 4.4 million buys and more than $400 million in revenue.
Pacquiao claimed he hurt his shoulder prior to the Mayweather fight and underwent shoulder surgery shorlty after the event.
Pacquiao and Bradley have split their first two encounters, with Bradley winning a highly disputed split decision over Pacquiao in September 2013 and Pacquiao winning a unanimous decision against the then undefeated welterweight champion in April 2014.
That April rematch fight drew between 750,000 and 800,000 PPV buys, but industry observers said it will be hard for the fighters – both of whom are passed their prime – to ring up similar numbers for their rubber match.
Fight promoter Bob Arum admitted as much to ESPN.com, saying that was concerned that many boxing fans would react negatively to the fight. Arum did say to ESPN.com that Bradley’s recent partnering with veteran trainer Teddy Atlas throws a different wrinkle into this fight compared to the previous two.
Bradley looked sharp in his first fight with Atlas in his corner, scoring a TKO over an overmatched, former champion Fernando Vargas on Nov. 7.