This weekend sees a marquee title rematch (but not championship — our World Welterweight Champion is Floyd Mayweather) that is arguably the most hotly anticipated fight of the year, at least for Manny Pacquiao’s legion of fans. That is because the Filipino dynamo is seeking to even the score against Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley.
In the previous fight, Bradley “won” a highly controversial Split Decision, one that was roundly booed and condemned by many experts. This was so much the case that Boxrec.com complied a list of 123 independent scores of the fight, with none coming from the Filipino media, and the results were 121 for Pacquiao, 1 draw, and 1 for Bradley (one wonders if Danny Flexen of Boxing News, seemingly the only boxing writer in the world who thought Bradley won that fight, was having a micro-stroke that night).
Against a backdrop like that, Pacquiao is an obvious favorite to win, but I’m not picking him to just win. I’m picking him to win by knockout, and here’s why:
1. Motivation: The first fight with Desert Storm was literally the only time Pacman has ever tasted the bitter injustice of a blatant robbery. Beyond merely evening the score, getting screwed burns the soul and demands payback. Wronged men are doubly motivated to get even, and that is a fact. If Pacquiao has been losing his focus in recent years, he will be on Bradley like a laser beam this weekend.
2. Fair Scoring: In my mind, part of the reason why Pacquiao was robbed against Bradley is because the judges were trying to “right” the many wrongs done to Juan Manuel Marquez in his fights with Manny Pacquiao over the years. The result was what will become one of the worst decisions of the decade, so there will be no such tendency to bend over backwards for the other guy this time. The scoring ought to be fair.
How does that help Pacquiao kayo Bradley? Because if Pacquiao is ahead on the scorecards and a gift win simply isn’t in the cards for Bradley, then Bradley will probably stop being slick and try to pull out a knockout win of his own. Desert Storm has taken that route before, despite not being much of a puncher. He would be foolish to do so, however, because if he trades with Pacquiao, he’s going down.
3. Bradley Is Inconsistent: The truth is that Bradley hasn’t looked consistently good in four years. His best performance by far was his close victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, and past that his record hasn’t got much sparkle. The odds are pretty good that Bradley will show up no better than he did for the first fight with Pacquiao, and perhaps a bit worse. If it’s the latter, Pacquiao is taking him out.