Styles make fights. The saying is almost as old as the sport itself. People keep saying because it's true.
You can't look at one guy's list of conquered opponents and assume that anyone who beats him, would in turn defeat every fighter on that list.
The styles of each fighter play a major role.
In the rematch between Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley and Manny "Pac-Man" Pacquiao, styles will be the determining factor. The first meeting ended with a Bradley win, but many believed the split decision victory was unjust.
This fight is for Bradley's WBO welterweight title, but because of the history, it's much bigger than just a title fight. Pacquaio will have a chance to right what he believes was a wrong decision. Bradley will be in position to prove he is indeed the better man.
Breaking Down the Style We Expect to See from Bradley
In the first fight, Bradley took advantage of Pacquiao's late-round inactivity.
Pacquiao was somewhat aggressive early. That action waned later in the fight, and it is likely what cost him the decision. It appeared as if Pacquiao felt he had proven he was the better fighter, and thus he coasted.
Bradley's work rate was higher later in the fight. To a judge that doesn't have access to Compubox numbers, that will most often win a fighter a round—unless he's been hurt or knocked down.
In the rematch, Bradley will be more confident than he was in the first fight. He has something to prove. The boxing community was harsh toward him after he defeated Pacquiao the first time. This is an opportunity to silence his haters.
Per Lace Up Boxing, Bradley is prepared for whatever direction the fight goes:
Tim Bradley "If I fight in the trenches or a war, or I go outbox Manny Pacquiao – I will win no matter what." http://t.co/caNAXY31Ek— LaceupBoxing (@LaceUpBoxing) March 28, 2014
Bradley may have said he's open for any kind of fight, but he's a smart fighter. He knows his major edge over Pacquiao is as a boxer. He'll likely try to get some respect with a few exchanges, but Pacquiao is still a better puncher—even with his recent decline in stoppage wins.
By nature, Bradley is a counterpuncher. If he can employ a style that has him mixing in straight right leads and countering with left hooks, he'll keep Manny off balance and frustrate him.
A sticking and moving Bradley has an excellent chance to win an undisputed decision victory over Pacquiao.
Breaking Down the Style We Expect to See from Pacquiao
Per Fighters XChange, Pacquiao indicates judges may not be necessary for his rematch with Bradley.
Pacquiao: I'm Not Worried About Judges For Bradley Rematch #Boxing— FIGHTERSXCHANGE.COM (@fightersxchange) March 27, 2014
That sounds good, but the reality is, Pacquiao hasn't stopped an opponent since 2009. That's seven straight fights without a win by KO or TKO.
Mix in the fact that the undefeated Bradley has rarely been hurt in his career. The only time he has really been dazed came against Ruslan Provodnikov. Bradley fought an unintelligent style in that bout in an effort to prove a point after the Pacquiao situation.
He said as much during an episode of HBO's 24/7 series prior to his bout with Juan Manuel Marquez in Oct. 2013. The segment begins at the 4:28 mark of the video below.
If Pacquiao can get Bradley to engage him in a slugfest, no matter what Bradley says, the advantage shifts to Pacquiao. Bradley has just 12 knockouts in his career.
Pacquiao might be a little more vulnerable to a finish after being viciously knocked out by Marquez in 2012, but that isn't enough to suggest Bradley can win a brawl against him.
If Bradley won't thump with Pacquiao, Manny will have to be patient while going to the body consistently. He doesn't normally do that, but to win this fight, it's a wrinkle he needs to add.
Changing at this stage of his career is far from a given for Pacquiao.
Former HBO analyst Larry Merchant thinks this is a bad matchup for Pac-Man. He spoke with Chris Robinson of Hustle Boss about the dangers of this fight for Pacquiao:
Larry Merchant says Tim Bradley is a difficult fight for Pacquiao at this stage of Manny's career: http://t.co/ubRVdN5O09 via— Chris Robinson (@CRHarmony) March 24, 2014
Bradley is always in superb condition. Without body shots, it's unlikely Desert Storm will tire. Pacquiao has to revert to his relentless style, but he must also find a way to vary his attack. Simply coming full steam ahead and smashing his gloves together won't be enough to win.
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