Manny Pacquiao fans, you better hope your champion has his head on straight come June 9 because right now, the storm of controversy surrounding him is darker and cloudier than even Floyd Mayweather Jr. is accustomed to.
The Philippines congressman has been dealing with a number of alleged scandals back in his home country and then denounced gay marriage shortly after President Obama endorsed it, according to the New York Daily News.
The backlash has already forced Pac-Man to take a step back from his initial stance and his opponent wasted no time getting a shot in early on him before the fight too. Undefeated American, Timothy Bradley was quoted by Kevin Iole of Yahoo.com saying (via New York Daily News):
"Gay people have their own rights and beliefs and the great thing about this country is that they're welcome to them," Bradley said in the interview. "I don't see what the big deal is. As I said, I have gay uncles, gay cousins, and gay friends. If one of my gay relatives told me they were getting married and asked me to go, I'd say 'Of course,' and go proudly."
The jab in the media is just the start of what Bradley could possibly do to Pac-Man. Unlike Mayweather's recent fight with Miguel Cotto, there is no easy victory to be had here for the superstar fighter. In fact, this is arguably the toughest fight Pacquiao could've signed on for outside of a super-fight with Mayweather.
Bradley likes to run his mouth, but he's backed it up to this point in his career. He's roughly the same size as Pac-Man, but has two extra inches of reach on him.
He's not fought the caliber of fighter's Pacquiao has though, and the longer this fight goes, the more it favors the Filipino.
Bradley, 28 years old, will look to come out early and get some shots in on his opponent and steal some rounds. Pacquiao's stamina won't wain much and he'll be strong throughout the fight, something Bradley can't hinge on.
It's unlikely he'll tag Pacquiao well enough to knock him out, even with his great right hand, so he'll have win this fight methodically.
This fight has the potential to be Bradley's true coming out party—his signature win, if you will. This makes him an extremely dangerous opponent as well.
As for Pacquiao, he just has to do what he does and land the power punches when he sees the opportunity.
Bradley's going to look to stay inside (his alleged headbutting is something to watch for) so Pacquiao could tag him if he's careless. As the fight goes on, we'll see Manny's punches start to take more effect which should ultimately turn this fight in his favor.
If Pacquiao is in his usual frame of mind and trains as he's always trained, he'll be the first one to hang a loss on Timothy Bradley.