The last time these two fighters faced off, we saw one of the most controversial finishes in history.
Manny Pacquiao came out on fire and dominated Timothy Bradley early in the bout. Later, Pacquiao seemed to let off the gas a bit in an attempt to accumulate points rather than go for the knockout.
That was not a good decision.
This strategy allowed Bradley to get back into the fight and ultimately emerge victorious by split decision.
In case you're a bit hazy as to what transpired over the course of the bout, here's a refresher:
Whether you agree with the outcome or not, the decision was upheld.
Poster: Manny Pacquiao vs Tim Bradley 2 4/12 at MGM Grand & HBO PPV pic.twitter.com/zKmoiKJtwX— Boxing Insider.com (@BoxingInsider) March 3, 2014
This time around, Pacquiao must assert his aggressiveness early—as he did last time. However, the difference must come in the later rounds.
Pacquiao cannot rely on the judges—with good reason—and must continue to work Bradley in an attempt to finish the bout without it coming to yet another decision.
Bradley watched Pacquiao's bout against Brandon Rios in November. According to an interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, he came away with some strong criticism for his upcoming opponent:
Manny didn't look the same against Rios. He didn't have his usual killer instinct. That's the first thing I noticed. I don't think he has the hunger anymore and it's never coming back. He no longer has his killer instinct.
That's the first thing I noticed in the Rios fight. Every time he backed Rios into a corner, Manny stepped back instead of going for it. He didn't even try to put Rios away. That spoke volumes to me.
Bradley's assessment was correct.
Pacquiao certainly didn't look to have that "killer instinct" he was known to have in the past. That lack of aggressiveness hurt him against Bradley the last time around and made him look vulnerable against Rios.
Timothy Bradley: "Manny Pacquiao's lost his fire for boxing. He's too nice."— David Kano (@TheDKano) April 3, 2014
If Pacquiao can't reassert his aggressive nature against Bradley on April 12, we could be in store for the same outcome once again.
The key for Pacquiao is to continue attacking Bradley throughout the bout. Pacquiao must keep Bradley off-balance, force him against the ropes and stay assertive once there.
Bradley isn't known to be a fantastic counterpuncher and may not be able to handle such a ferocious onslaught.
Take a look at the keys to success for each fighter, courtesy of Bleacher Report:
It all comes down to this for Pacquiao. His legacy is already set in stone. However, obtaining another decisive victory in the twilight of his career will reaffirm the notion that he is truly one of the greatest of all time to his harshest of critics.