The majority of boxing experts along with Las Vegas odds makers are picking Manny Pacquiao to win by late knockout or decision. Even so most insiders and boxing fans give Bradley enough respect to think he will make it a 2 way fight. Will Manny’s speed and use of angles be too much for the ever improving Bradley? Or will Bradley use his overall skill to outbox and confuse Pacquiao just enough to limit his flurries? This fight promises to be a combination of sloppy, skillfull, and at times a full out brawl with both fighters landing big punches while they exchange. Bradley loves to get inside an land body shots tending to lean in with his big head in the process. Manny has a sizable head as well and has been involved in many head clashes of his own with that in and out style along with the southpaw stance. Which only increases the chances we will see not only blood but a possible early stoppage from cuts caused by headbutts.
Bradley has face some solid competition at 140 remaining unbeaten after 29 fights while showing growth on his way to landing the fight of his lifetime. He’s been a part of exciting fights when he faced Kendall Holt and Lamont Peterson. He can be a very aggresive fighter attacking the body at will showing a chin and heart with a never say die attitude in the ring. From the outside looking in Timothy Bradley seems like a nice guy but the fact remains clear that he leans in or leads with his head on the way inside. Bradley has gotten hurt and dropped but got better for it. Kendall Holt dropped him early and late even though he won the fight decisively. Lamont Peterson got dropped trying to bring the fight to Timothy, once inside though Lamont landed at will to the body for 2 straight rounds forcing Bradley to get on his bike and do his work on the outside. And do some work he did. Bradley showed that he could use his jab, movement, left hand, and looping or straight right hands on the outside to win every round after being hurt in what was still competitive fight.
That jab and right hand will be key mixed with some movement, body work, and a good workrate to keep up with Manny as he tries to steal the round. Bradley has improved from that crude fighter style he has shown versus Witter and Holt when he would just force his way in and get way too wide with his punches. But how much has he improved as far as being a true counterpuncher? You don’t just get better overnight or in a training camp at counterpuncher. It is a skill that most fighters haven’t perfected. There are less counterpuncher’s in boxing overall in the last at least 10 years. It’s a lost art in today’s boxing and many fighters only use that style of hit and not get hit if they are known not to have much power. We still see fighters with a gameplan to try and outbox there opponent’s but not always using counterpunching to win the fight. We see plenty of fighters trying to do there best impression of Roy Jones Jr. with there hands down but many don’t truly set them up. I’m not saying Bradley can’t counter but has he improved enough to do it with the same timing and grace as Juan Maneul Marquez did in there 3 fights?
Manny has been in 2 fights in a row that has produced non favorable results for him with main stream fans. It has seemed to add to the non hype for this HBO PPV event. The recently retired Shane Mosley after being dropped early try his best to avoid Manny for the rest of the fight and did with just basic movement. Manny complained about cramps in his legs during the fight and stated after, that was the reason he could not jump on Mosley and explode. Outside the ring distractions were the reason he looked bad in his last fight versus Marquez. Underestimating Marquez and distractions were just excuses for a style that has always giving Manny fits. We know hear that Manny has turned his life around and credits his bible studies to help him focus. Many think he is slowing down showning some wear and tear from all the wars and years he has been at it. I think Manny’s style is perfect for a truly great counterpuncher to take advantage of. As I previous stated, there are not many elite level counterpunchers out there and that leaves the rest of the fighters around the welterweight class to deal with an elite pressure fighter.
Manny is still a beast from his improved footwork and use of angles to get him in and out of danger while landing accurate punches with some of the fastest, if not the fastest hands in the world. Still a handfull for anyone in the game. If though he has shown weakness in his 3 fights with JMM, remember it took 2 full fights for Marquez not to get dropped from the speed and power of Pacman. Some people overrated him and now some people are starting to underrate him but I will never change my mind on who is one of the best offense fighters in the game. He has shown some weakness to the body as well and not just earlier in his career. Both Cotto and Margarito hurt Manny to the body. He will have to stay off the ropes with a good body puncher like Bradley. He will need to find out how to stop the clinch so he can get his flurries off that usual win and steal rounds for Manny.
Bradley will make this a 2 way fight and give us something to cheer about but also something to possible yell at the TV screen when he makes this an ugly fight on the inside. Let’s hope that we don’t get an early DQ or stoppage due to headbutt’s. If you like to bet this fight has an under that is inviting becuase of Manny’s power and Timothy’s head. If you have some money to throw away you may want to consider taking a flyer out on the underdog spread that has been hovering around 3-1 and assumingly will only get bigger with all the PacMan fans arriving in Las Vegas. When push comes to shove Manny Pacquiao will probably catch Bradley when he gets too wide with his shots. Bradely will work the body but can’t shoe shine too long before Manny returns the favor to the head while Bradley’s hand are down attacking the body. Whatever Tim does he needs to be very wary of keeping his hands up and his head, upperbody, and feet moving. We know the answer if Bradley will come to fight or not, after all that’s what fans want in a PPV Main Event. The real question is, will Timothy be a good enough counterpuncher to not just win this fight but win it clearly which still might not get him the nod on the scorecards. Bradley will have to at least hurt or knockdown Manny if he wants to get a decision. I see Manny landing the better shots and winning this fight on the cards.
Written By Chris Carlson from Rope A Dope Radio