Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2 Undercard: Preview and Predictions for Tonight's Action

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Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2 Undercard: Preview and Predictions for Tonight's Action
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The Timothy Bradley-Manny Pacquiao rematch will take center stage at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 12, but Top Rank Boxing and HBO Pay-Per-View have also constructed a decent undercard.

It's not on par with the one we saw for the Floyd Mayweather Jr-Canelo Alvarez event, but it has some good points.

Here's a look at the three preliminary bouts as well as predictions for each.

 

WBA Junior Welterweight Title Bout (c) Khabib Allakhverdiev (19-0, 9 KO) vs. Jessie Vargas (23-0, 9 KO)

Allakhverdiev is an undefeated champion, but few people who aren't boxing savants have heard of him. He hasn't fought top-notch opposition, and until recently, he wasn't aligned with a popular promotional team.

Allakhverdiev signed with Top Rank Boxing in Feb. 2013, but an injury forced him out of an HBO fight with Breidis Prescott that was planned for March 2013.

Terrance Crawford took his place and easily defeated Prescott. The win launched Crawford's career and set the table for his WBO title-winning performance over Ricky Burns last month.

Allakhverdiev ultimately got his world title—though it doesn't hold much weight in most boxing circles. He defeated Joan Guzman in 2012. Allakhverdiev still has a lot to prove, just like his opponent on Saturday.

Vargas was once a highly touted member of Mayweather's camp, but he left for Top Rank in 2012. His career has flatlined since, despite the fact he still has an unblemished record.

This is his first world-title fight, so he'll undoubtedly be anxious to prove he belongs amongst the upper echelon of fighters at 140 pounds.

Vargas is the quicker fighter, but Allakhverdiev is a better puncher, though neither man is considered a thumper. If Vargas can use his speed and reach advantage (71" to 68"), he should be able to out-box the champion.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Allakhverdiev is smart, though. He cuts off the ring well, and goes to the body to wear opponents down. Still, Vargas should come out on top in this bout.

Prediction: Vargas by unanimous decision

 

Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KO) vs. Raymundo Beltran (28-6-1, 17 KO) 

Originally, Beltran's opponent was set to be Rocky Martinez. But per Miguel Rivera of Boxing Scene, Martinez pulled out of the bout due to illness.

Usmanee will step in as his replacement. Both Beltran and Usmanee were victims of controversial draws in their last fights.

Usmanee is a 32-year-old Canadian veteran fresh off a spirited, but unsuccessful attempt to win the IBF super featherweight title against champion Argenis Mendez.

In the 12th round against Mendez, Usmanee landed a punch that looked to cause both of Mendez's gloves to touch. The event was not called a knockdown and thus Usmanee didn't gain the automatic point advantage for the round.

Had it been scored a knockdown, Mendez would have won a very close unanimous decision.

Instead, the fight was a majority draw.

Beltran is coming off a controversial loss to Burns. Most believe he beat Burns, but the fight was declared a draw, despite the fact that Beltran broke the former champion's jaw and knocked him down.

Per ESPN.com's Dan Rafael, if Beltran wins this fight, he'll become the mandatory challenger for Crawford.

This one could turn into a slug fest. Neither fighter will want to risk being shafted by another shaky decision from the judges.

Usmanee's speed and boxing acumen should give him an edge in this fight. He'll win to move one step closer to another shot at a world title. 

Prediction: Usmanee by unanimous decision

 

Interim WBA Super Featherweight Title - (c) Bryan Vasquez (32-1, 17 KO) vs. Jose Felix Jr (26-0-1, 21 KO)

This bout is for the interim WBA super featherweight title held by Vasquez. Though he is the champion, this fight is expected to be a showcase for the up-and-coming Felix Jr.

At just 21 years old, Felix Jr. has already established a solid following. The young Mexican fighter has good hand and foot speed and a solid chin. In one of his stiffest tests, he was dropped by Luis Cruz in Sept. 2013.

Felix got off the canvas and out-boxed Cruz the rest of the way. Here's an interview with Felix Jr. conducted by BoxeoMundial.com after the win over Cruz.

Vasquez is just 26. The Costa Rican is far from the end of his career. He'd like nothing better than to slow down the Felix Jr. hype train.

Still, it's hard to imagine Vasquez will find success in this bout. Felix Jr. is quicker and much longer. Vasquez stands just 5'5.5" while Felix Jr. is 5'8". 

This looks like a fight Felix Jr. will be able to dominate with his jab and movement early. Look for him to wear Vasquez down and stop him late. 

Prediction: Felix Jr. by 10th-round TKO

 

Height, weight and reach references per BoxRec.com

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