By Tom Donelson, BASN boxing writer
Updated: April 19, 2012
IOWA CITY, IOWA (BASN)—Manny Pacquaio faces off against Tim Bradley, who played a smart waiting game to get this fight. Bradley declined to fight Amir Khan after he defeated Devon Alexander for most of the junior welterweight titles. Bradley gambled that he could enter the Pacquaio’s sweepstakes and fighting Khan would have been a great risk. Why risk a possible or even a probable lost to Khan when there were millions more waiting on a PPV date with Pacquaio? The strategy was a high risk since a year ago; there were bigger names for Pacquaio and over the horizon, the possibility of a Mayweather mega event.
If Mayweather gets by Cotto...Its on.
Unfortunately, the Mayweather-Pacquaio event is still on hold and both fighters have decided on different opponents for PPV events.
Mayweather will be facing Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas and Bradley will be fighting the PacMan. So how do we rate the chances of the challengers in both fights? Both fighters actually picked fighters who they should beat but a loss by either Pacquaio or Mayweather could derail the mega event that could garner both men the biggest purses in boxing history.
Bradley is a tough, in fighter who is not bless with a one punch power but does have the ability to wear an opponent out as he did against Alexander. Unlike his last fight against Marquez, who was excellent counter fighter, Pacquaio will have a fighter who won’t be hard to find and in front of him. This will allow Pacquaio to use his quicker hands to unleash his combinations and over the past few years, Pacquaio has shown that he still has the power in the upper division and will have the power advantage over Bradley. Bradley chance is simple, turn this fight into a brawl and use rough tactics to upset and frustrate Pacquaio. He is not going to outbox Pacquaio and he can’t match the PacMan in hand speed. If anything, Pacquaio picked the right guy to beat; a younger fighter with a style built to Pacquaio advantage.
As for Mayweather, Cotto is more problematic and Cotto comes into this fight with a big win over Margarito. Cotto looked sharp in this bout as he revenged an earlier lost but there is enough evidence that Margarito was farther down the road of decline and Cotto has been in his share of war. In the run up to Cotto’s last fight, I observed that this was bout between two fighters who have engaged in some rough bouts over their career and it was case of who was the more worn fighter and we found it was Margarito.
Cotto is a heavier puncher than Mayweather but Mayweather certainly has one punch knockout power that he has demonstrated on occasion. Cotto is a technically sound fighter but he has already lost to Pacquaio but he did manage to keep the fight competitive in the early rounds before PacMan hand speed got the better of Cotto. Against Mayweather, he will be facing another fast hand merchant but Mayweather has shown that a pressure fighter who keeps pushing the action can give him trouble just as Jose Castillo did in their two fights in the lightweight division. Cotto is capable of doing that but the real question is how he will react when he fails to connect with solid shots against the defensive wizardry of Mayweather and he gets nailed with quick counters. Mayweather controls his fights with fast hands as opponents become very wary after being hit with quick combinations and unable to counter to the faster Mayweather. Mayweather rarely get hits with solid punches and have avoided major wars in the ring, so he is a fresh fighter in his mid 30′s. While he comes into the fight as the older fighter chronologically, he is the younger fighter in the ring as he has taken far less punishment than Cotto, who has never turned down a brawl. So the real question is whether Cotto can set a quick pace early in the fight and force Mayweather to fight at a higher level with the idea of wearing the master counter puncher down. If he can, it will be a close and entertaining fight. If not, it will be a slow motion demolition of a very good fighter by a very great fighter.