Boxing is entirely subjective and when the scoring of a major fight is announced, many scratch their head in disbelief. How often does a commentator note: “What fight were they watching?” Well, perception is everything and a “bad decision” isn’t always bad, and that was certainly the case with the victory that Timothy Bradley, 31-0, 12 KO’s, holds over fan favorite, Manny Pacquiao, 55-5-2, 38 KO’s.
The big problem with Manny Pacquiao is the large group of fanboys out there that are hopelessly attached to his jock. That includes some members of the HBO commentary team. This gives the Filipino a few points going into the fight. Another problem is the illusion that Pacquiao has power at welterweight. So, the punches he lands on Bradley are counted more than those coming from Bradley. If you examine the welterweight career of Pacquiao, you will see that the power he once had is not there at this higher weight.
The welterweight career of the PacMan goes as follows: Miguel Cotto (KO-12), Joshua Clottey (UD-12), Antonio Margarito (UD-12), Shane Mosley (UD-12), Juan Manuel Marquez (MD-12), Timothy Bradley (L-SD-12), Juan Manuel Marquez (L by KO in 6), and Brandon Rios (UD-12). So, at welterweight, Pacquiao boasts a record of, 6-2 (1 KO). We are not looking at Tommy Hearns here. We are looking at a power-punching super bantamweight turned volume-punching welterweight. He is not going to knock out Bradley in this rematch as so many are now predicting.
On the night of the first Bradley fight, I did have Pacquiao winning 115-113, but I could have easily seen a draw or the fight shifting the other way. It was an uneventful, debatable fight, but not one that should generate this backlash from the public. In boxing, you get “the wrong guy won” reaction. It happens all of the time and this was another example. Bradley was groomed to be a KO victim for Manny, but he was not given credit for his ambition and will.
As I read other articles on this topic, most, if not all, seem to miss a very important point about the first fight. Bradley hurt both of his ankles early on and wasn’t able to set down on his punches or fight the way that he needed to fight. Going into this fight, being at presumably one hundred percent, what will this mean for the match itself? Throw out the Brandon Rios fight. It was a low-risk set up for Pacquiao. He may not be a spent force at this point, but he’s not what he once was and he is not facing an unskilled brawler like Rios. He’s facing a true challenge and somebody that is riding a wave of momentum.
Bradley is coming off of his biggest win. He dominated Pacquiao-conqueror, Juan Manuel Marquez and he showed his grit, eking by the tough as nails, power puncher, Ruslan Provodnikov. Despite the victory over Manny, the public reaction has hurt him deeply and has made this fight a must win for him.
On April 12th, look for Bradley to not only defeat Pacquiao, but to do it in dominant fashion. The fighter and promotion are once again looking at Bradley as a safe bet to keep the Pacquiao train on the tracks, and they have made the mistake again. Bradley will take home the victory by wide decision, and then the Pacquiao groupies will scream foul again over something else that they see that does not exist.
Fear not Pacquiao fans. I am sure that Bob Arum will scrape up another Brandon Rios or somebody of that ilk to step in to lose so they can exclaim that the “real” Pacquiao is back, but a serious pound for pound contender he is not.