Manny Pacquiao's next fight will be against the undefeated Timothy Bradley on June 9. While Bradley is certainly a talented boxer, Pacquiao has some definitive early advantages that give him the edge in this bout.
Timothy Bradley is no slouch in the ring. His 28-0 record speaks for itself.
However, Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title belt will be on the line, so you know that he’ll do anything and everything in his power to put that first loss on Bradley’s record.
Bradley certainly will have the motivation to shock the world and beat Pacquiao (who has won 15 consecutive fights dating back to 2005), but Pac-Man’s title defense will be the biggest motivator.
Pacquiao won the WBO welterweight title in a fight against Miguel Cotto in 2009. Nearly three years later, Pacquiao still retains that belt.
It’s no accident that he has kept his belt for this long. He’s considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the sport today.
Since his welterweight title win against Cotto in 2009, Pacquiao has defended his title three times.
He retained the title in 2010 against Joshua Clottey and twice last year against Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez.
During that time period, Pacquiao also won the vacant WBC light middleweight title against Antonio Margerito.
The bottom line is that Pacquiao steps up big to defend his titles. Bradley is a capable boxer to say the least, but he’ll be fighting an uphill battle against Pacquiao in June.
Certainly Pacquiao’s experience is an obvious edge, but an advantage nevertheless.
Pacquiao has fought in more than double the amount of rounds Bradley has boxed in (59 for Pacquiao, 29 for Bradley). That's an interesting statistic given the fact that Pacquiao has notched 38 knockouts and Bradley only has 12 in 28 wins, but Pac-Man has also boxed in a lot more fights.
Another advantage in Pacquiao’s favor that might get overlooked is the fact that he’s lost fights at the professional level. At a career mark of 28-0, Bradley doesn’t yet know the concept of losing on the big stage.
Obviously, losing should never be in a boxer’s mindset. Often the best advantage a boxer has is his or her confidence. However, Pacquiao will be able to remember back to his losses with the mindset that he does not want to go back there. Bradley doesn’t yet have the benefit of experiencing a loss at the professional level and won't be able to lean on past experience.
Bradley is five years younger than Pacquiao (28 years old compared to 33 years old), but his youth in comparison does not mean that he’s faster or more agile than the welterweight title holder.
In this case, experience wins out and Pacquiao gets the advantage. He can look back on any number of fights and understand what he needs to accomplish in order to beat Bradley. The fact that “Desert Storm” has less experience will hinder him.
With just 12 knockouts in 28 wins, Bradley is more of a grind-it-out, wear-you-down boxer.
Pacquiao, on the other hand, has more knockouts on his resume than Bradley does wins with 38.
Although Bradley is a solid counter-puncher, Pacquiao’s aggressive nature probably won’t hinder him in this fight. In fact, if Pac-Man is aggressive early, it may even help him.
If Bradley can slow this fight down and make it an ugly, sloppy fight without much technique involved, he’ll likely gain the advantage.
Pacquiao can’t let that happen.
As a boxer, you never want to look for the knockout in a fight. A good analogy in baseball would be when hitters are trying to hit home runs. Usually, that’s a bad strategy because players get away from their natural hitting approach. The same goes for Pacquiao in this fight.
While he shouldn’t be overly-aggressive and strictly try to knock Bradley out, he won’t want this fight to drone on into later rounds, where Bradley could hang around and gain confidence.
Pacquiao has the early advantage because of his motivation to retain his belt, his experience and the matchup problems he poses, but anything can happen on fight night.