Filipino southpaw Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring for a re-match and the chance of revenge against American Timothy Bradley on April 12 in Las Vegas, promoter Bob Arum said.
The fight will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena where Bradley (31-0, 12 knockouts) will defend his World Boxing Organization welterweight title.
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,” promoter 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 mis-match.”
Judge Jerry Roth (115-113) awarded the fight to Pacquiao while CJ Ross (115-113) and Duane Ford (115-113) gave it to the American, who had been a 5-1 underdog.
“I accept what the result is,” Pacquiao said ringside. “I respect the judges, I cannot blame them. It is a part of the game. I give thanks to the Lord. I do my best but my best wasn’t good enough.”
Pacquiao went on to lose his next fight, a sixth-round knockout at the hands of Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012 which prompted retirement talks.
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, beating Mexico’s three-division world champion Marquez on a split decision at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.