Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley

By By Francis Walker BASN Boxing writer
Updated: June 5, 2012

NEW YORK, NY (BASN)—The Manny Pacquiao Express returns to the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NY on Saturday. Making the third defense of the WBO welterweight championship, Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) will have his hands full against unbeaten WBO junior welterweight champion, Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs).

“PACQUIAO vs. BRADLEY” can be seen live on Pay-Per-View beginning at 9 PM/ET.

“This fight I’m sure is going to be a great fight because of Timothy Bradley’s style,” Pacquiao said. “He likes to fight toe-to-toe. We’re going to give a good fight. Hopefully, he’ll fight with me.”

It would be great to see Pacquiao in the ring with someone other than Juan Manuel Marquez, whom they fought three times with the remote possibility of a fourth fight in the fall. Finally, Pacquiao will be fighting a ‘live dog’ unlike Antonio Margarito, Joshua Clottey, or even a past-prime and dehydrated Oscar De La Hoya. Let’s face it, Margarito, Clottey, De La Hoya, and even Ricky Hatton were all sitting ducks for Manny Pacquiao.

The difference with Timothy Bradley is he is in the prime of his career. Bradley is in absolute ripped condition and appears pumped for the biggest fight of his career. The chance to fight Pacquiao is an opportunity of a lifetime that Bradley appears ready for.

“I’m always seeking to destroy,” Bradley said. “Manny Pacquiao is the biggest name in the business. He has skills, but I have skills too. It’s another fight for me.”

My question is whether Bradley can raise the level of his game to where Pacquiao has elevated his? Bradley, who started his career fighting exclusively out of his native California in August 2004 (almost eight years ago), was a virtual unknown before a hopped on a plane to Nottingham, England to grab the WBC 140-pound title away from Junior Witter in ’08.

In each title defense against Edner Cherry (W 12), Kendall Holt (W 12), Nate Campbell (NC 3), Lamont Peterson (W 12), Devon Alexander ( Tech W 10), and Joel Casamayor (TKO 8), Bradley has indeed raised the level of his skill-set and his the overall measure of his game. Bradley even moved up to 147 to beat-up Luis Abregu (W 12) in 2010.

The road to the top hasn’t been easy for Bradley, nor was it hand-picked. However, Bradley has made the most of every opportunity he has been given and has positioned himself in the grandest positions of them all – a spot against Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas.

When asked what was his toughest fight Bradley stated, “Lamont Peterson physically and Kendall Holt mentally. I had to break Kendall Holt down and pressure him. He had a height, reach, power, and speed advantage. I was knocked down twice in that fight and still won.”

Pacquiao understands the challenge that await on Saturday. Pacquiao has a lot of firepower and has tackled guys much bigger than Bradley. Pacquiao’s biggest concern, however, is Bradley’s head. He usually comes straight-in head-first which lead to accidental head-clashes.

“My problem is the head-butts,” Pacquiao stated.

When asked about the use of Bradley’s head, Pac-Man’s trainer Freddie Roach said, “he comes in head-first. [Bradley] is so aggressive; Manny will meet him with head shots coming in.”

Bradley’s attitude toward Pacquiao and Roach’s concerns is about the head-butting is more like ‘so what.’

“[Pacquaio and Roach] knows it’s a dangerous fight,” Bradley stated. “Manny knows what I’m bringing to the table. I’m not worried about it. It doesn’t bother me at all. It is what it is.”

Bradley added: “I think I’m not a one-punch knockout artist. I do not hit hard enough to make guys not want to fight. But look at the Casamayor fight. He was holding me. He didn’t want to get hit. I learned nothing from that fight. I’m expecting more a fight [with Manny.”

Bradley appears to be focused and is in a very good place overall. However, as confident Bradley may appear, if Bradley gives any indication that fighting in front of a raucous Vegas audience is overwhelming, Manny Pacquiao might send Bradley home early.

The pressure of fighting a guy like Pacquiao, a southpaw that throws furious combinations from surreal angles, can be overwhelming. Pacquiao can swarm his opponents. Just look at his destruction of Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton. Even Marquez tasted the canvas three times in the opening round of their first fight. Shane Mosley wanted nothing to do with Manny after he himself was floored to the canvas.

Timothy Bradley’s biggest asset heading into a fight with Pacquiao is his faith. Bradley truly believes he is going to beat Pacquiao on Saturday.

“For 18 years of my life I’ve been training my whole life for this moment,” Bradley said. This is my moment. Manny hasn’t fought a young and energetic fighter that takes risks.”

Timothy Bradley is a strong guy, but loses fire in punches when he winds in hands back. It’s as though Bradley often can’t crack an egg. Bradley has excellent footwork and is always in position to punch. His combinations aren’t the greatest, but he fights hard, throws a lot of punches, and is always involved in an exciting fight.

Manny Pacquiao is expected to win on Saturday. However, there will be some anxious moments. Let’s see what happens on Saturday.

PACQUIAO vs. BRADLEY pay-per-view undercard

HBO Pay-Per-View will once again distribute the Manny Pacquiao Experience to a world-wide audience.

Undefeated welterweight prospect Mike Jones (26-0, 19 KOs) will challenge former junior welterweight titlist Randall Bailey (42-7, 36 KOs) for the vacant IBF welterweight title. Watch out because, Bailey can punch.

WBA super bantamweight champion, Guillermo Rigondeaux (9-0, 7 KOs) defends his title against Teon Kennedy (17-1-2, 7 KOs). Rigondeaux, a former Cuban amateur standout, has been fighting professionally since 2009 and already will be making the third defense of a world title.

Of course, the wild and crazy Jorge Arce (60-6-2, 46 KOs) will challenge Jesus Rojas (18-1-1, 13 KOs) to a 10-round super bantamweight bout.

The telecast begins promptly at 9 PM/ET.