One of the more highly anticipated boxing matches in years is finally on hand as Manny Pacquiao takes on Timothy Bradley on Saturday night.
The two battled in 2012 with Bradley coming away with a wildly debated victory via split decision. Since that bout, both boxers competed against Juan Manuel Marquez, with only Bradley earning a win.
As a result, the pressure is now on Pacquiao. He needs to prove that he is still one of the best fighters in the world with a win against the man who beat him two years ago. This is certain to create an exciting and likely memorable competition.
Let's look at the weigh-in results and break down what to watch for in the upcoming bout.
Manny Pacquiao: 145 pounds
Timothy Bradley: 145 pounds
Is Bradley for Real?
By the numbers, it is hard to question Bradley's career. The 30-year-old fighter has built up a 31-0 record since turning pro and has earned impressive wins over Pacquiao and Marquez.
Despite this, the talented boxer has not gotten the respect you would think someone with his resume deserves. According to Sports Illustrated, he was still only the No. 8 pound-for-pound boxer in the world shortly after his latest win.
A loss to Pacquiao would prove everyone right in saying that he is not as good as his record indicates. However, a win would force people to pay attention.
He has a lot of confidence heading into the bout, via PacquiaoBradley.org:
I will be faster than Pacquiao, I will have better defense than Pacquiao, I will be hungrier than Pacquiao. I have been in the ring with Pacquiao so I know exactly what to expect. There are a few adjustments that I will make and with two good feet under me and at the end of the night I will be victorious again.
If he can keep this confidence and make the necessary adjustments, he will put himself on the map as one of the top fighters in the world.
Can Pacquiao Get His Redemption?
Two years ago at this time, Pacquiao was one of the best boxers in the world, and the only debate was whether he would ever set up a fight against Floyd Mayweather. However, back-to-back losses to Bradley and Pacquiao knocked him far off track.
Still, the veteran fared well in his recent win against Brandon Rios, as described by the Associated Press (via ESPN):
If Pacquiao felt pressure, he didn't show it in the ring at The Venetian casino in Macau, putting on a vintage display of his trademark combinations to wear down a gallant Rios and take a unanimous decision, claiming the WBO international welterweight title.
He had a long layoff before facing Rios, which had some people nervous. However, Pacquiao used the fight as a tune-up and should be ready to go against Bradley.
However, this is arguably the biggest bout of his life. If he wants a legacy as one of the best boxers of his generation and possibly earn more high-profile fights, he has to get a win against Bradley in any way possible.
Otherwise, we might be looking at the end of his career.
Who Will Earn the Technical Advantage?
With all of the mental battles certain to take place leading up to the fight, it is important to remember that this bout will be won in the ring.
Boxing experts Jenaro Diaz and Lennard "Action" Jackson broke down the action, predicting Pacquiao to come out victorious:
The key will be the speed of Pac-Man causing tons of damage and forcing Bradley to be defensive. This could cause damage and also win the Filipino plenty of points with the judges.
Meanwhile, Bradley will have to become more of a counterpuncher in order to get an advantage, but he likely will not have the patience for this to work out. As a result, he will not land too many power punches throughout the competition.
It seems unlikely that either boxer will earn the knockout, but Pacquiao should get back on track with a victory by decision.
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