Timothy Bradley will be facing the toughest challenge of his life on June 9 when he steps into the ring with boxing's pound-for-pound king, Manny Pacquiao.
While Bradley is a serious underdog in this matchup, there are several things he can do to position himself to pull off what would be one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.
Bradley will almost certainly not knock Pacquiao out, as he has just 12 knockouts in 28 career wins. But that doesn't mean he can't rough Pacquiao up.
In the biggest fight of his career, the undefeated California native scored a technical decision win over Devon Alexander back in January 2011. In that fight, Bradley was successful in making things ugly and he'll need to do that against Pacquiao.
I'm not suggesting he should intentionally foul the Filipino southpaw, but Bradley uses a conventional stance, and against Alexander (a southpaw) the two fighters repeatedly clashed heads. That led to several cuts and eventually to the stoppage of the fight in the 10th round.
Considering that both Bradley and Pacquiao are high-pressure fighters who consistently come forward, there is a good chance we'll see a lot of accidental headbutts on June 9.
Bradley is also the kind of guy who, like Bernard Hopkins, will hit on breaks and do little, crafty things that are just barely outside the rules but not far enough to warrant points being taken away.
He'll rough opponents up in clinches and make things a lot more difficult than they would normally be. He'll have to do that in this fight, and must make Pacquiao feel uncomfortable as often as possible.
The 28-year-old also must shorten his punches. He has a tendency to swing very wide with his hooks from both hands and if he does that, Pacquiao's quick, short, straight left hand will find plenty of chances to run into Bradley's chin.
Pac-Man's straight left is probably the most devastating punch in boxing today and if he is able to consistently land it, there is no way Bradley will be able to win the fight.
While he loves to move forward constantly, the best way for Bradley to sustain offense against Pacquiao will be to counter-punch in the same way Juan Manuel Marquez did during all three of his fights against the Filipino.
Being countered visibly frustrates Pacquiao and throws off his offensive rhythm. It may be in Bradley's best interest to start the fight off counter-punching before moving forward and asserting himself in the middle and later rounds.
Bradley doesn't lack confidence, which is good because he'll need it on June 9. If he can avoid swinging wildly at Pacquiao and concentrate on out-pointing him, he will have a chance to pull off the upset.