Tonight’s fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley will determine if Pacquaio can make a statement in this bout or if Bradley will continue his undefeated record by scoring a major upset in what would be the biggest upsets of the year. Both fighters stepped to the scales yesterday with Manny Pacquiao coming in at 147lbs and Timothy Bradley coming it at a ripped 146lbs. I was surprise to see that Pacquiao didn’t come out as muscular as in his previous fights. Not only that, but it is strange to me that Pacquiao would come in at 147lbs when he normally weighs 144lbs to maintain his speed. As for Bradley, he has a reputation of being one of boxing’s most condition athletes. Bradley has been very confident leading to tonight’s fight, going as far as making a huge billboard promoting a rematch fight between him and Pacquiao on November 10, 2012 and tickets going on sale tomorrow. I don’t know if Bradley is trying to play psychological games on Paquiao or just using very creative ways to get people to tune in to the fight. Maybe both. Whatever the case may be, we will see if Bradley’s confidence is shown in the fight as well.
A lot has been talked about Manny Pacquiao since his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, a fight which I saw Marquez winning. Pacquaio has come clean and stated that he had a lot of distractions, marital problems, gambling addictions and took Marquez very light. He learned after that fight that he had to make profounded changes in his life and he did. Manny had a spiritual awakening and has devoted his life God. Manny is the latest athlete to be “born again.” While I commend him for having this transformation, he still has a job to fulfill. Will this transformation lead Pacquiao to fight like he did against Hatton and Cotto or is time catching up to him. He is a 33 year old veteran who is going to fight his 60th bout tonight.
For Pacquiao to win he has to take the fight early to Bradley. Fight at a distance and give Bradley different angles. Throw 3-4 punch combinations, move quick then come back with another set of power punches. Pacquiao is going to have to work the jab early. The later the fight goes the more opportunities he will be giving Bradley. If Pacquiao is able to hurt Bradley in the beginning rounds, he has to close out the show. He doesn’t want to be in the same position Kendall Holt was when he dropped Bradley only to end losing the fight and losing his belt to Bradley. Pacquiao’s best chance of winning the fight is by a knockout in less than 8 rounds. If he wins a decision, he will lose some credibility in his potential clash with Mayweather.
As for Bradley, he has nothing to lose. He is an underdog who is trying to take advantage of this spotlight and prove the world wrong that he is being used as a stepping stone for a Pacquiao vs Mayweather fight. Bradley has a lot of tools to his advantage. The question is will he be able to use them effectively. Bradley will be able to go to toe to toe with Pacquiao in terms of speed. Will Bradley take some pages from Marquez and use the counterpunch approach to frustrate Pacquiao? Will Bradley body punching slow down and possibly hurt Pacquiao? I see Bradley using different angles to try to stop Pacquiao’s rhythm and to try frustrate him. Bradley has to use a solid jab. If he doesn’t stand in front of Pacquiao and makes it more of a boxing match then I smell an upset. If he ends up making this fight a brawl like Hatton then I have a feeling he might get knock out like Hatton.
Everyone expects Pacquiao to win in fashion and if Manny ends up winning via knockout it will come before the 8th round. I have him winning a decision. I just hope that this fight is not fix. Nowadays with fights promoted under Arum, one tends to be very skeptical. One reason for my thinking is the fight between Brandon Rios vs Richard Abril. Rios was suppose to knock this unknown fighter out, who served as a late replacement when Yiorkis Gamboa pulled out of the fight. Instead, Abril gave Rios a boxing clinic and defeated Brandon Rios. But, the judges saw it differently and gave Rios the victory. I’m guessing that the judges had some type of connection with Top Rank and they had to score the fight in favor of Rios if he wanted to fight Marquez in July, just as Arum had it planned. Now that Marquez doesn’t want to fight Rios in July which will cost Arum millions of dollars, it is not a surprise to me that Bob Arum is now thinking of matching Pacquiao with Cotto for a potential rematch in November. This is Bob Arum’s way of sticking it to Marquez. He is basically telling Marquez, “nobody fucks with me!” With this said, part of me feels that Bradley has played the part very well but he knows this is a business more than a sport and to play the part, Arum payed him very well. A Pacquiao loss to Bradley is like someone hijacking a plane and flying it on the Top Rank “Towers”. Bob Arum’s empire will suffer a huge blow! I hope I am wrong! I just want to see a great fight between Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley without any outside assistance dictating the fight. If the fight goes to the judges may they be fair and score the fight accordingly. I hope Pacquiao and Bradley will give fans an enterntaining fight. If not, I guess Travierso Arce will have to come to the rescue and steal the show as he fights Jesus Rojas in the tonight’s co-headliner.