Finally, the much anticipated (Not!) rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley is here! I don’t see this fight being any different than their first encounter in 2012, where Pac Man controlled most of the action in the entire fight. Although some “experts” have concluded that Manny has experienced a huge decline in skill and power (largely due to his inability to knock-out his opponents since Miguel Cotto back in 2009) his compubox statistics show otherwise.
Note: Manny out-punched (punches landed) all these opponents in every category. Source: Compubox
Manny has consistently out-punched his opponents in every category. In terms of power-punches, he remains pretty consistent. Manny’s power-punch output (his bread and butter) remains as sharp as ever. This will be key, not in terms of knocking out his opponent, but in swaying the judges over with impact points. Why is this important? If this fight goes the distance (as I predict it will) Manny will win the judges over, even if he plays it safe (no real exchanges). Manny has no intention of exchanging heavily with any of his remaining opponents (and why should he? see: Mayweather). His superior footwork and speed will carry him to victory. (Even if they decide to exchange, I give Manny the edge, although anything can happen in an exchange, see: Marquez IV).
Every boxer has to evolve in order to remain at the top. I believe Manny has reached a point in his career (largely due to being put to sleep by Marquez) where he will simply out-box Bradley and rely on a generous margin of victory, courtesy of the judges score cards.
Pacquiao by Unanimous Decision
I hope come April 12, Manny can find that fire and be the Pacquiao of old because this is the hurt business. For those 36 minutes that we will be in the ring, I am not expecting any compassion from him. – Timothy Bradley
Emphasis added on “The Hurt Business”. Those words succinctly bring the mood for both the game “Desert Storm” is going to bring, and probably what Manny is going to bring to the ring this coming Saturday. It’s ironic because, arguably, they are bringing each part of those words together: Tim enduring the hurt and using his budding ring IQ to win rounds, and Manny bringing the business, a glorified masthead for the empire Bob Arum is trying to push forward.
I feigned some jaded attitudes in that last sentence only to characterize the press about this upcoming fight. I’d say the mood is somewhere in between a tune-up fight for Manny, and a business-as-usual fight for Bradley, depending on who you want to root for. Pick a storyline: “Bradley is underrated” or “Manny needs redemption”.
In anticipation of this fight, I feel like we just have to compare the history of these fighters, frankly to see how their history matches up to their storyline.
To me, this is a story of one man taking on the best, and pushing through weight classes since 1995, and another man, honing his skill and spearing the deepest boxing weight class head on, hustling fight-to-fight. It will be a battle of grit for both men who have been through it all. That might be boring to some, and sometimes the fighters themselves seemed bored, but to me it just indicates an itch to get back in the ring and test their strength, endurance, and skill. May the best man win.