Timothy Bradley is the perfect underdog opponent for Manny Pacquiao.
When the match was first announced, there was a collective groan. We wanted to see Pacquiao give Juan Manuel Marquez the rematch he clearly deserved after a close-decision loss last November, or perhaps we thought we were going to see the much-talked about superfight between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.
Instead of those two big-time matchups, we were given Timothy Bradley, who was coming off a less-than-inspiring victory against Joel Casamayor on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Marquez fight.
In his recap of the fight with Casamayor, Dan Rafael of ESPN.com wrote that Bradley didn't do nearly enough to warrant a fight with someone like Pacquiao:
So although Bradley scored an eighth-round TKO on Saturday night in the co-featured bout on the Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, he did nothing to give boxing fans a reason to demand to see him in the ring with Pacquiao.
Yet here Bradley is, in the biggest fight of his budding career. He is catching Pacquiao at exactly the right time to prove that he is not only a good opponent, but a legitimate championship and main-event performer in boxing.
Pacquiao looks vulnerable for the first time in his career. He is busy with his political career, trying to balance that with his boxing.
Bradley has nothing to lose in this fight. He is not going to come out reckless, but he will take some chances that he probably wouldn't under normal circumstances.
Even if Bradley doesn't walk away with a victory in this fight, he is going to show the world that he is ready for the spotlight and will have a long, prosperous career as a top fighter in boxing.