Pacquiao vs. Bradley fight preview
On June 9th, fight fans will take in an intriguing contest between WBO welterweight titleholder and pound for pound stalwart Manny Pacquiao and his highly regarded undefeated challenger, Timothy Bradley.
The Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley contest will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will be televised on HBO Pay-Per-View. Right here, you can check out our comprehensive Pacquiao vs. Bradley preview and prediction, as we dissect and analyze the bout, what it means and how it’s all likely to go down.
Meet the Fighters
|Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao
||Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley
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Pacquiao vs. Bradley Preview & Background
While the eternal disappointment of not seeing Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather remains, in its place we were given two high quality match-ups. On Pacquiao’s end, he meets an undefeated, top 10 pound for pound fighter in Timothy Bradley, a guy who’s regarded as the best in the world at junior welterweight. Not bad for a backup opponent.
In some ways though, I believe that Pacquiao got the short end of the stick. He’s in tough here with a capable opponent who has never tasted defeated and doesn’t know how to surrender.
Further, Bradley doesn’t carry the name recognition or star appeal of Mayweather’s opponent, Miguel Cotto. Therefore the fight is likely to garner a bit less attention, and may perhaps be viewed by the public at large as less meaningful than it is. Finally, even in victory, it will likely be rather hard to look good against Bradley and his literal and metaphorical hardheaded fighting style.
For his part, Bradley wisely maneuvered himself into this position, despite facing a sizable amount of flak for his decision to forgo a high profile match against Amir Khan.
His fight against Devon Alexander in January 2011 was supposed to produce a bright, shining star. Instead, an ugly, foul-filled affair with an anticlimactic ending resulted in more disinterest than anything else.
Followed up by 10 months of inactivity spurred on by a promotional switch to Top Rank, and a relatively fruitless fight against Joel Casamayor, and here we are. The journey surely wasn’t what he would have wanted, but Bradley has reached his desired destination, a mega-money mega-fight against one of the sport’s two reigning kingpins.
Pacquiao vs. Bradley Fight Analysis
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Have we begun to see the slow, inexorable decline of Manny Pacquiao? I think there are legitimate concerns across a number of fronts, all of which make this a dangerous fight for him.
Pacquiao has ongoing issues with his leg cramps. His body may be wearing down a bit after taking on so many bigger, stronger opponents. His commitment to fighting, as well as his overall emotional and mental dedication to training, may also be reaching its collective breaking point. Pacquiao continues to move closer to a full-time political career, and distractions, as always, abound in his personal life.
I don’t think Pacquiao has fallen very far, however. There’s clearly an end in sight, but our last image of him in the ring shouldn’t be the standard-bearer of how we consider him today.
Juan Manuel Marquez has his number, and he always has. His combination of precise counter-punching, along with his combative spirit and all around technical skill, ensure that he will always be an ideal foil to Pacquiao’s aggressive, dynamic offense.
I believe that the fight community at large made too much of the difference in weight between the second and third fights, and that led to outsized expectations of a dominant performance – which given the style of these two guys – was simply never going to happen. Pacquiao didn’t look good against Marquez and he never will, but that’s really besides the point.
Bradley does pose concerns of his own, of course. He’s never tasted defeat as a professional, and he’s fought back from the brink and against adversity to score impressive wins.
He went to the UK and fought Junior Witter in his backyard to capture his first title. He came up off the deck after a vicious knockdown to steal a victory from Kendall Holt. He easily controlled an undefeated Lamont Peterson, who of course just rose to prominence with a surprise win over Amir Khan. While he didn’t capture the public’s imagination, he still established himself as the better fighter against Devon Alexander.
The credentials, skills and toughness are all there. He’s more than willing to make things a bit rough-and-tumble if that’s in his favor. Bradley is also deceptively quick. His handspeed isn’t blazing, but he puts himself in the right position with his footwork, and he showcases strong timing and intuition when unleashing his attack.
If he’s to win this fight, he’ll need to stay behind a constant double jab. Bradley actually has a slight reach advantage, so he should be able to pop his jab off while coming forward to get inside of Pacquiao’s power punches.
That should help him to neutralize Pacquiao’s favorite shot, his lead straight left. Once he’s inside, it’s time to tie him up, hold onto him, keep him out of rhythm, push him off… all of those rough, ugly tactics with which he can excel.
The key will be to get off first and to stay behind the jab at all times. Bradley can’t trade with Pacquiao; he’s not a power puncher, and I think his chin would eventually betray him there. He’d be wise to borrow a page from Marquez and prioritize establishing outside foot position, while perhaps keeping Pacquiao a bit off balance by stepping on his foot for good measure.
Freddie Roach won’t let Pacquiao fall victim to that again though, at least not against somebody besides Marquez, who simply has preeminent skills. Instead, expect Pacquiao to try to use his own jab a bit instead of relying solely on the straight left. He’ll showcase some of that trademark in-and-out offense which has always been so effective for him.
Bradley is there to be hit, and Pacquiao will abide him. It will be easy enough with his lightning quick straight shots. Once he’s more comfortable, he should also be able to finish off his combinations with zinging hooks. He’ll have to focus on getting in and out quickly though, so as not to be tied up and roughed up on the inside. That means he may end up sticking solely with the straight stuff unless Bradley looks like he’s on his way out.
Pacquiao vs. Bradley Prediction
Sometime back around 2008 I swore off picking against Bradley. The guy finds a way to win, he just does, and it’s probably his biggest strength in the ring. Of course, that kind of stance has to come with an exception clause of sorts – I’ll never pick against Bradley… unless he faces Pacquiao or Mayweather.
That’s where we are here, and make no mistake about it, I’m tempted to take Bradley against what is perhaps a physically and emotionally tired Manny Pacquiao. Especially given the favorable odds, taking Bradley as an upset winner has had me thinking.
Ultimately though, I’m going to be exercising that exception clause. Bradley’s best chance to win is to make this an ugly affair, and he’s capable of doing that. However, to succeed he’ll have to get in Pacquiao’s face, and that means walking through the incoming fire. Bradley has been dropped and hurt before, and the sheer speed and unexpected approach of Pacquiao’s shots will make them hard for him to avoid.
I expect some holding, headbutts and havoc, and that’s what will help Bradley to survive the full length of the encounter. Both men will show signs of a struggle, but Pacquiao will out-work and out-land him 2-1 en route to a relatively close, but clear, decision.
Official Pacquiao vs. Bradley prediction: Pacquiao by Unanimous Decision