Long time Ring P4P King, Manny Pacquiao, goes up against one of the latest Ring P4P Princes, Timothy Bradley, in what promises to be one of the most dynamic all action fights of the year at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 9th.
Or it could end on an ugly leaping headbutt, but regardless, Pac Man meets a serious physical challenge in the awkwardly hard charging fellow shortstuff Desert Storm Bradley who never met an angle he couldn’t punch from or used a muscle that wasn’t fully flexed out. Although the sculpted Bradley amazingly may be down on the power charts, he provides the kind of action that could be fought from pillar to post for as long as the fight lasts.
Bradley is always in tremendous condition, boxing’s nonstop Energizer Bunny in the ring, but if recent form holds of Pacquiao opponents whipping themselves into best ever career conditions, Pacquiao may have trouble picking his spots like he was able to do against the laid back defensive counterpuncher Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight. He just might be forced into his old school Pacman slugging frenzy, not bad thing for fight fans as Ricky Hatton found out.
Speaking of the Marquez rubber match, the worm may have turned on the phenomenon of Manny Pacquiao’s unparalleled career. The Congressman/Boxer was heavily booed in his decision win over the popular Vegas fighter, a highly technical bout that resembled two feuding Spanish matadors taking turns at lightning rapier thrusts of their estocadas for the finishing strike.
Pacquiao came up as an all action slugger in the mold of a Jack Dempsey, but is now picking his shots like the master boxer he’s become under the tutelage of trainer Freddie Roach. He’s become so defensively adept that he made the counter punching Marquez whiff amazingly wide on many occasions, but all apparently for naught with Vegas crowd. Bradley is not nearly so popular, but if he succeeds in taking the fight to Pacquiao and having some success, well, who can say how an fickle boxing crowd is really going to react until the moment arrives?
The Congressman/Boxer is also being investigated by the Philippine government for alleged improprieties in one of his charitable organizations. It’s no surprise that big guns are after Pacquiao now since his stated ambition is to run for the presidency in the next election, so he may be in need of an overhaul of his “staff” of faithful followers if he is to ever achieve that ambition. Also, he may or may not have been served his divorce papers on the eve of the Marquez fight, depending on the source.
Pacquiao may be a grizzled ring veteran of 33 years of age now, yet he is as distracted now as he was in the first Morales fight 7 years ago where he was undergoing highly disputed managerial and promotional scrums over his services that left him exposed in the ring without his beloved Reyes’ puncher’s gloves.
The extracurricular distractions have slowly extracted their toll, so the time could be ripe for a prime young gunslinger who’s never been beat and hungry for recognition to show up at the right place at the right time for the huge upset if he can stay upright. Otherwise it’s gonna be a painful night if Bradley gets behind on the scoring because of knockdowns, something Marquez can attest to.
Bradley does have some problems with his balance, his helter skelter attacks leaving him ripe for sharp counters, so I’d imagine that would be the focus of the Roach strategy.
Noteworthy news is that the Boxrec P4P ratings formula has moved Mayweather up after the win over Miguel Cotto, finally edging Pacquiao to become their new #1. Ring’s more personalized opinion is to demote Pacquiao into a tie with #2 Floyd Mayweather and leave #1 newly vacated, rather akin to throwing the baby out with the bathwater by alleged boxing experts. They simply haven’t compared their actual Ring P4P records, 4-0, 2 KO for Mayweather to 7-1-1 for Pacquiao with more KOs, 5, than Mayweather has P4P fights. Moreover, Pacquiao has twice moved to a new division to face the top Ring fighter in his inaugural fight at the weight, something Mayweather has never done during his rise through the divisions.
I can’t be bothered, but I’d imagine the Boxrec historical p4P data would pretty much parallel the Ring P4P data, ie both Ring and Boxrec curently having Bradley ranked #9 P4P.
Impressively, Bradley will be Pacquiao’s 10th career Ring P4P bout, a new record with every P4P fighter he meets now.
Since most every fan agrees to disagree with the “experts” anyway no matter the order of the fighters attached to #1 through 10, it’s all a bunch of hooey for show and bragging rights in the end. The true tragedy is that the explosive primacy for Pacquiao vs Mayweather has gone the fizzle route. If by a strike of drizzling lightning they do happen to meet next year, Manny will be 34 years old and many years into his Congressional duties and Floyd will be 36 after completing his prison sentence and probably still on probation. 2013 is a long ways in boxing years from the March 13th, 2010 date that Mayweather demanded and Pacquiao accepted. The terms were quickly agreed upon when the fight was at it’s hottest apex with Manny at age 31 and Floyd at age 33.
Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men gone awry yet again.
Speaking of the worm turning, Miguel Cotto may not have won the battle against Floyd Mayweather, but perhaps the war as he dished out as good as he got and undermined the invincibility of Mayweather. Then the Al Hayman managed Mayweather stablemate, Andre Berto, has been reported to have trace amounts of a steroid by VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association testing agency, so the repeated accusations that Floyd Mayweather slung at Pacquiao are now dangling on his doorstep making a big stink as the spokesman for “cleaning up boxing.” Maybe he’s trying to clean out Al Hayman who has little left to promote during the interim as Mayweather prepares for his impending Nevada incarceration on June 1st.
Mayweather should at least be able to console himself with his better Cotto PPV numbers than Pacquiao is likely to show against the relatively unknown Bradley. For boxing fans who prefer fight stats, Pacquiao is currently 6-0-1, 3 KO against common opponents to Mayweather’s 5-0, 1 KO.
The less than honorable Berto trainer and ex-con Victor Conte was bragging about being such a whiz as an advisor and spokesman for VADA after the Lamont Peterson postive test shocker, but now is jumping ship and explaining it all away. What a can of worms and cancelled fights Golden Boy and HBO has fallen into, cancelling multimillion dollar fights on the specious trace readings in parts per trillion that very few of their bigshots or the public could pass if they tried.
Pacquiao with the big fight experience will be the betting favorite, but Bradley has been pointing to this fight for over a year, beating southpaws Devon Alexander and Joel Casamayor consecutively. Bradley first made his chops by flying overseas to England to dethrone southpaw favorite Junior Witter in his best ever showing. He’s an aggressive swaming type whose style is reminiscent of HOFer Aaron Pryor even if lacking Pryor’s firepower.
He did knock out the elderly Casamayor after scoring some knockdowns, but his fight with Alexander ended with a butt that went to the cards for a technical decision. Bradley tends to lead with his head, so in a lefty/righty fight, butts seem a certainty and may leave both seeing stars.
Lets’ also be clear about their weights since Pacquiao has had a series of controversial catchweight fights. Bradley turned pro at 143 lbs a few weeks shy of his 21st birthday and has since mostly fought at the junior welter limit, but sometimes straying well over in nontitle fights. Pacquiao has been in the 142-146 range for his 7 welter fights, so Bradley is the natural lifetime welter and as far as I know the fight is at the full welter limit of 147lbs. If promotional comments hold a kernel of truth, Bradley considers Pacquiao to be weaker than him who can be easily counterpunched, so he expects to bully Pacquiao around the ring while sharpshooting him.
I see an up and down type of fight with a series of adjustments until the magic formula is found for the win. Could be a Bradley upset, or another Pacquiao beatdown, or anything between, but guaranteed by styles to be quickly paced action with some interesting technical twists. Bradley is a harder nut to crack compared to most any fighter in the world right now and knows he could make a splash into the Big Buck$ pool, but only IF he defeats Pacquiao cleanly with some style.
Then again, Pacquiao probably feels his future election to the Philippine presidency hinges on every win, so who could beat that kind of motivation?