24/7 just wrapped up on HBO. The fighter’s are in Las Vegas. Arum flipped out. The final press conference is over. Everything that we have come to expect leading up to a main event PPV card hasn’t disappointed. Now only two things remain. The weigh-in and the fight. Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley II is just around the corner, and the main question on everyone’s mind, who is going to win the fight? Let’s break it down, and give our prediction.
When trying to determine the winner of a rematch one must always look at how the first fight went. In this particular case, Pacquiao dominated Bradley in the first fight from every aspect. However a bogus decision by perhaps the only judges in the world, Duane Ford and C.J Ross, who happen to be the two people judging the fight, saw Pacquiao on the losing end of a decision. Everyone knows that story. So as we move past that, I took the time out to watch the first fight earlier this week. There were some interesting aspects in that fight that makes me believe that this fight may not be so hard to guess who the winner will be.
Pacquiao dominated much of the first six rounds even on the scorecards of C.J Ross and Duane Ford. He was winning 3 rounds to 1 on all the scorecards when the cameras caught Timothy Bradley’s foot injury in the closing seconds of round 4. I know Bradley said he did it in round two but the only evidence shows that his injury occurred in round four. Ironically, he was actually being beaten soundly in the fight up until round six and it wasn’t until after the foot injury where the judges started to give him rounds. After the injury he started boxing, backing up, and while it looked like he was still losing the rounds to almost all the eyes watching, the judges were giving rounds to Bradley. Ford and Ross gave Bradley a ridiculous 5 of the last 6 rounds, and even Roth gave Bradley the last 3 rounds. Bradley spent the last six rounds backing up, letting Pacquiao come to him, and trying to counter but he was so ineffective at it that it was mind boggling that anyone could have given Bradley 5 of the last 6 rounds. Despite what I think, and how I was scoring it along with most people who were watching it, to the judges Bradley was very effective letting Pacquiao bring the fight to him while he backed up and countered. That’s a very interesting aspect going into Saturday night. Can Bradley trick the judges again? Is he actually going to box better this time?
Alot has happened since then, Pacquiao has been knocked out, and Bradley is coming in as confident as he’s ever been. Anyone will tell you though, especially in the sport of boxing, having too much confidence can either make you or break you. I believe that Bradley is coming into this fight a little too confident and that he is going to try to brawl with Pacquiao. Pacquiao is faster, he’s stronger, and a toe to toe battle will not go well for Bradley. In the first fight, every time Bradley tried to exchange it was Pacquiao that clearly got the better of him. This fight won’t be any different, confidence or no confidence.
Bradley is the better boxer and to win this fight he is going to have to box Manny’s ears off. He’s going to have to move side to side, back up, and counter Manny when he comes in. He doesn’t have the power to hurt Manny but he may be able to keep him guessing if he uses different angles to avoid Manny’s flurries. Bradley didn’t have success in the first fight trying to counter Manny (At least to me he didn’t). Even when he was trying to box, Pacquiao seemed to be getting the better of him as he landed the lead left hand at will the entire fight. However, in the eyes of the judges it looked like Bradley was doing something right. That may be something to look at Saturday night when trying to score rounds. If Bradley can box effectively, and I mean a lot better than he did in the first fight, he could pose a problem for Manny.
I think this fight can be exciting. I see Bradley trying to brawl in a toe to toe war at times. I think he’ll lose those exchanges and may even get dropped. Once he realizes that he can’t go to war with Pacquiao he is going to start boxing. This is where Pacquiao will have to fight smart, and be aggressive. Bradley is going to be hard to catch when he is backing up and countering. The big difference to me is that in the first fight I didn’t see Bradley being successful backing up. He’s not a very good counter puncher and unless he’s watched the tape and has a good gameplan to adjust his style I don’t think he can win this fight brawling or boxing. His confidence may be through the roof but his style is the same. Pacquiao may have got knocked out two fights ago but his style is the same. And for that simple reason I think Pacquiao wins again but not as convincingly as he should have the first fight. 116-112 Pacquiao.