A little over a week from now, WBO Welterweight champion Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao will take on the "Desert Storm" Timothy Bradley, in a fight that should be a really exciting for fans.
Both fighters have promised to go toe-to-toe, and while Bradley is a very live underdog in this fight, I have to give the edge to Manny Pacquiao. He's faster, more powerful and an overall better fighter. So, here are five keys to the fight for Pacquiao to ensure he comes away with the victory June 9.
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Timothy Bradley is said by many to have three fists, he gives you a left, a right and then comes straight in with his head. Just ask Devon Alexander about how hard Bradley's head is. He isn't a dirty fighter, but he absolutely does use his head in a quasi-illegal way. He isn't intentionally head butting his opponents, it's more a result of his style.
Pacquiao has to be absolutely focused on where Bradley's head is at all times. Pacquiao has struggled with cuts in his career, mainly in his last fight with Marquez, as well as seven years ago when he was badly flustered in his last loss against Erik Morales.
If Bradley causes a cut over Pacquiao's eye via headbutt or a punch (although a headbutt is more likely), Pacquiao has to keep his composure and not panic as he has in the past. Without a doubt, Freddie Roach has addressed this in camp and Pacquiao should be ready.
When you hear boxing trainers or commentators refer to "using angles" it means that when your opponent comes in, you pivot off of your front foot, step to the side away from your opponent and punch. It's somewhat of an advanced technique, but when done correctly it can befuddle your opponent and create openings to exploit. Pacquiao must do this effectively to beat Bradley.
Bradley is a come-forward pressure fighter, which Manny has to exploit on June 9. If he can time Bradley and catch him coming in, there's a good chance he can stun Bradley with something he doesn't see and knock him out.
This also goes hand in hand with the previous slide. If Pacquiao doesn't use angles, he'll be very susceptible to headbutts. Simply put, if Pacquiao moves away from Bradley when he comes in, Bradley's head will hit nothing but air.
In the past, Pacquiao has been all too eager to get involved in slug fests, but I think that in this fight he should fight smarter and box Timothy Bradley instead of going toe-to-toe. While Pacquiao would win either way in my opinion, he doesn't need to brawl with Bradley.
Pacquiao possesses an underrated jab in my view, and this could be a fight in which he finally showcases his ability to outbox an opponent. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this was the game plan, and Pacquiao boxed the ears off of Bradley.
Roach knows Bradley's best chance is if he can lure Pacquiao into a war, so don't be shocked if Pacquiao gets up on his toes and pops the jab a little more than he's used to.
As I've already discussed, Bradley's best shot will be to get in close and go to work on Pacquiao's body and head. So, it will be key for Pacquiao to keep Bradley on the end of his punches and not let him get in too close where he is most effective.
In his past fights, Bradley has showed that he likes to swarm his opponents and throw punches at all times and from crazy angles. Check out that video at the 1:44 mark. Even in a clinch Bradley will continue to throw and isn't afraid to hit behind the head if he has to.
If Pacquiao can keep him at the right distance, Bradley will be much more ineffective and he can keep those dangerous flurries Bradley throws at bay.
At this point in his career, Manny Pacquiao has achieved fame and fortune, and there isn't all that much left for him to do besides fight the recently jailed Floyd Mayweather in a fight the entire world is eager to see. I can't blame Pacquiao and Roach if they are at least in the back of their minds thinking about that fight, but they absolutely must not overlook the dangerous Bradley and must keep their focus on the task at hand.
Coupled with the fact that he's a congressman in the Philippines and has been rumored to have been experiencing a lot of marital problems, Pacquiao certainly has a lot on his plate. He needs to keep his head in the game and not let the distractions outside the ring get to him.
Pacquiao says everything is good going into this fight and his mind is in the right place. If it's true, he should beat Bradley, possibly by late KO in an exciting, fan friendly matchup.
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