This Saturday on PPV, Manny Pacquiao, 54-3-2, 38 KO’s, will defend his WBO Welterweight title against the ambitious former light welterweight champion, Timothy Bradley, 28-0, 12 KO’s, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao is not a stranger to mass media coverage. When there’s a fight in town, the sports pages and websites will have plenty of articles and commentaries. Most of the time, Pacquiao is placed in a certain light that has been carefully crafted by his promotional team. He is a good guy, a charitable family man that does right for him and the sport, but some truth was leaked out recently and that has shaken the once sterling reputation of the “PacMan.”
The first negative news concerning Pacquiao came out after his near loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in their third fight. The rumor that Pacquiao was served with divorce papers, wasn’t faithful to his wife and had gambling problems surfaced. They were later dismissed by the Filipino superstar, but then more bad news would hit.
In an interview, Pacquiao made some off color remarks about homosexuals and it made worldwide news. With a Nike and several other high paying endorsement deals, Manny was quick to apologize and save the cash. This public scrutiny may weigh heavy on the mind of the fighter, which is where the glimmer of hope for Team Bradley gets a little brighter.
Another issue that could factor in is the Alex Ariza – Freddie Roach feud. Ariza left camp with permission of Pacquiao to work with Julio Cesar Chavez, JR., which infuriated Roach. The infighting in Team Pacquiao has been widely covered and if the pending divorce hurt the performance of Manny against Marquez, he may have a lot of trouble with Bradley.
The career of Manny is not in question. He has taken on and beaten some of the biggest names in boxing. He has wins over Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, and Juan Manuel Marquez. Most of the opponents he has caught beyond their primes, but when you look at what many of them were able to accomplish after their defeats to Pacquiao, it is still very impressive. The gold ring is a fight and victory over Floyd Mayweather, JR., which is a bout that may never happen.
Timothy Bradley has proven that will can beat skill and that you can still be a tenacious boxer even if you do not pack a huge punch. Victories over Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander were incredibly impressive wins, especially when you consider what they were able to do after those defeats. Peterson beat Amir Khan and Alexander picked up victories over Lucas Matthysse and Marcos Maidana. Bradley is the underdog in this Pacquiao fight, but there are certain situations here that could send a shock down the spine of the boxing world.
Bradley is coming up from 140 to 147, and Pacquiao has been dealing with primarily welterweights lately. If Bradley wasn’t a puncher at 140, and he wasn’t, then he will theoretically be less of a threat at 147, but that is not the case in every situation. At 5 feet 6 inches, he will be staring Manny directly in the eyes. They are both the same height and Bradley is very strong and will try to muscle Pacquiao back into the ropes and do some damage with the hope that the quantity of punches will wear him down and lead to a stoppage win.
A big concern as Manny, a southpaw, faces an aggressive orthodox fighter in Bradley is the heads colliding and causing a significant gash that will lead to an unsatisfying conclusion. Considering the perceived game plan of Bradley, this is a definite possibility.
Manny isn’t what he used to be. He is definitely slowing down, but he is fighting a boxer that he will not have to look for. Bradley, as gutsy as he is and as determined as he is, he will have his hands full getting to Pacquiao and avoiding the incoming. What makes Pacquiao so special is his timing and he will be unloading on the incoming Bradley early and often. This could very well be a quick fight. Bradley is running through a mine field in order to get his punches it and he will have his chin checked early on. If he can take Pacquiao’s punch, we have a fight on our hands. I suspect he won’t be able to and Manny will land a shot early, probably an uppercut, that will send Bradley down and eventually out. Pacquiao by stoppage in four rounds.