If Manny Pacquiao wants to continue to be thought of as one of the top-two boxers in the world along with Floyd Mayweather, he must redeem himself after a disappointing (and controversial) win against Juan Manuel Marquez last November.
There was much debate after their third meeting as to who the clear winner was despite the fact that Pacquiao was ruled the victor in a close decision. This was not a fitting end for a third bout that was supposed to show who was definitively the better fighter of the two.
If Pacquiao wants to dispel the notion that he is in the twilight of his boxing career and soon to be on his way out, he has to enter the ring on June 9 at the MGM Grand and make a statement against Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley.
It's been reported that Pacquiao isn't sure if he wants to return to boxing after this fight, so this may be his last chance to prove that he went out on top. His controversial decision against Marquez raised many questions as to his diminishing skills, and a loss to Bradley would decimate his reputation as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
Pacquiao is puzzling in regards to his personality. If he wins, he might feel as though he wants to retire on a high note, but also might want more in the form of a fight against Mayweather. If he loses, he could decide to pack it in, as he may have lost the passion to fight, or he could want to rinse the bad taste out of his mouth with another bout against a high-level talent. I could see this going either way; you never know.
He certainly picked a good fight to come after Marquez, as Bradley is a proven fighter, and a bout against the undefeated WBO light welterweight champion is the perfect opportunity to prove that he still has it. Both fighters possess lightning-quick hands and feet, but PacMan has more polished technique and is better at meticulously picking apart his opponents.
Is Pacquiao on the decline
If Pacquiao loses this fight, it's going to look terrible for him, as Bradley is nowhere near the fighter that Marquez and Mayweather are. Desert Storm is more of a brawler and has a tendency to turn the match into a brawl while straying from proper technique. While he is one of the up-and-coming boxers in the sport and has never lost in his professional career, he's not a top-tier talent yet.
If Pacquiao loses to Bradley, his legacy will be forever tarnished, and he will be thought of as just another boxer who hung around for one fight too long.
Even if Pacquiao wins and we see another split decision or a sleeper of a fight, pundits will begin to question what he has left in the tank. The worst thing in the world for Pacquiao would be another disputable outcome against a fighter who is much less talented than Marquez.
Pacquiao certainly needs to make some noise in this fight, and a knockout would be the best way to do that. I'm not talking about a TKO where the ref needs to stop the fight because of a cut over Bradley's eye. I'm talking about Pacquiao getting in the ring and striking down upon Bradley with great vengeance and furious anger (Pulp Fiction reference), as two fights in a row that end in disappointment would be severely detrimental to the legend of Manny Pacquiao.