Don't believe the hype. Manny Pacquiao is angry and Tim Bradley will wish he never stepped in the ring with him.
Friday's weigh-in for Saturday's welterweight title fight was closely watched, but also over-observed. There has been a lot of talk about Bradley being a headbutter. According to Ted Sares on boxing.com, two of Bradley's fights have been ended in Technical Decisions, after they were stopped because of headbutts. Sares believes that it could happen again, so PacMan better duck and weave if Bradley's big head gets too close.
The live weigh-in also had extra buzz because of its turnout. 5,000 fans showed up to see the two fighters tip the scales. Pacquiao tipped the scales right on the limit of 147 pounds, while Bradley weighed in at a comparatively svelte 146.
The fight is certainly the biggest one Bradley has ever appeared in and at 28-0, his unblemished record is tantalizing. But when Pacquiao applies the pressure Saturday night, Bradley will have trouble catching his breath.
For one of the first times in his career, Bradley will face a warrior with the same heart he has and one who is eager to shut his critics up. Bradley will have his moments, but withstanding 12 rounds with the best pound-for-pound boxer in the sport is a very tall task.
At Wednesday's news conference, Bradley put on a scowl that would make a poor boy blush. But Pacquiao wasn't having it. He scoffed when Bradley said "training camp was hell" and his fans collectively laughed because Tim doesn't know what hell is.
The keys to victory for Pacquiao are simple. Apply relentless pressure, avoid headbutts and finish off Bradley as soon as he appears hurt. Manny's deadly combination of speed and power will prove to be too much for Bradley, who's heart will eventually give out. Vivek Wallace of Eastside Boxing said it best:
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"If Pacquiao can maintain his typical typhoon pace and keep Bradley from getting comfortable, this will be an easy victory and inevitably, a short night."
Predictions are everywhere, but here are some expert ones from Boxing.com:
"Pacquiao wins by a knockout in round eight. Bradley is going to end up standing in front of the Pacman and will get hammered with his straight left."
"The only way Bradley can win is with a pitch-perfect performance against a slightly diminished Pacquiao. If Pacquiao is not in some way afflicted by distractions/sore calves/training camp drama/religious revelations, I see a one-sided decision or maybe even a stoppage for the Filipino icon."
"A strong case can be made for both fighters, so I’m going to do what I do best and pick the underdog. While the harder punching Pacquiao looks faster and stronger in the 24/7 segments, Bradley might be able to overwhelm with sheer volume. Bradley by decision."
"Timothy Bradley has never really distinguished himself in the ring. He has foot speed, fast hands, and stamina, but Pac Man has all of that, plus plenty more. Pac has fought a much higher level of opposition and has significantly heavier power. Manny should win by UD or even by possible stoppage."