In a fight that could dictate the immediate future of boxing, Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao will put his WBO welterweight championship on the line Saturday against undefeated Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley. Pacquiao enters the fight as a substantial favorite, but if Bradley can pull off the upset, then the balance of power may shift.
Pacquiao will be out to prove that he isn't declining after narrowly defeating Juan Manuel Marquez in his last fight. Pacquiao escaped with a majority-decision victory, but Marquez's defensive posture and counter-punching frustrated Pac-Man mightily. A second consecutive poor performance could conceivably have Pacquiao thinking about retirement.
Bradley is a perfect 28-0 to this point, but he isn't getting the respect he feels he deserves. His resume is barren compared to who Pacquiao has fought and beaten, but he has a chance to establish himself on Saturday. If Desert Storm comes out on top, then he will be considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in boxing.
Here is everything you need to know about when and where to catch Pacquiao vs. Bradley, as well as the undercard listing and predictions.
Where: MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas
When: Saturday, June 9 at 9 p.m. ET
Watch: HBO PPV
Live Stream: TopRank.com
Betting Line: Pacquiao (-450) and Bradley (+325)
Welterweight: Mike Jones vs. Randall Bailey
Super Bantamweight: Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Teon Kennedy
Junior Featherweight: Jorge Arce vs. Jesus Rojas
Keys to Pacquiao Win
There is one thing that saved Pacquiao in his latest fight with Marquez, and that was his aggressiveness. While Pacquiao wasn't always landing clean shots or putting combinations together, he kept pressing forward and throwing everything he could at Marquez.
Dinamita had the better executed game plan, but Pacquiao still came out on top because the judges saw him on the offensive. Pac-Man will have to take a similar approach on Saturday, but he'll have to do it more convincingly.
Bradley is a very solid defensive fighter, and while he isn't quite as savvy as the veteran Marquez, he knows how to get fighters out of their rhythm. Pac-Man can't afford to sit back and wait for openings because that is precisely what Bradley wants. If Pacquiao presses the issue and makes Bradley uncomfortable, though, he will be in great shape.
Keys to Bradley Win
You had better believe that Bradley has seen what Marquez did to Pacquiao, and while JMM ultimately didn't get the win, he presented a very nice formula for how to get Pac-Man off his game.
Bradley ought to take a page out of Marquez's book, but he has to add a bit of an aggressive flair to impress the judges. Bradley has a delicate line to toe because he doesn't want to go all out and leave himself open to Pacquiao's lightning-quick hands, but he doesn't want to be complacent either.
One way Bradley can get the better of Pacquiao is to utilize body shots. Bradley is very good in that regard, and it is something that has bothered Pacquiao in the past. Pac-Man is much more comfortable fighting at 147 lbs. than Bradley is, but Desert Storm can cut Pacquiao down to size to some degree if he works the body wears Pac-Man down over the course of the fight.
Bradley isn't going to just lay down for Pacquiao and allow for an easy fight, but I don't see Pac-Man faltering in this one. Bradley figures to give Pacquiao some problems in the early rounds, but once the fight reaches its latter stages, Pac-Man's advantage at 147 lbs. will show. He is the quicker and stronger fighter and it will result in a 10th-round knockout victory for the Filipino star.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter