The upcoming rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley promises to be a boxing bout for the ages. It pits two bitter rivals against one another for the second time, and there are plenty of intriguing subplots surrounding the battle.
Pac-Man will be seeking to exact his revenge on Desert Storm after the American pugilist handed him his first loss since 2005 during a controversial 2012 fight. Bradley will be looking to cement his credibility as a champion by leaving no doubt who the winner is in this one.
Keep reading for a preview of the fight, plus predictions on how each round will be scored and more.
Where: MGM Grand in Las Vegas
When: Saturday, April 12, card begins at 9 p.m. ET
TV: HBO pay-per-view
Referee: Kenny Bayless
Judges: Glenn Trowbridge, Michael Pernick, Craig Metcalfe
Preview and Predictions
There is no shortage of bad blood between the two boxers involved in this bout. That much has been evident during the lead-up to the fight, as both have traded blows in the media.
Bradley took the most recent shot, appearing Tuesday as a special guest to ESPN.com and writing about the decline of his opponent ahead of the upcoming rematch:
Manny Pacquiao has always been a great fighter and from what I have heard he is a great person, but I think in the last two years Manny has become a more compassionate fighter. I think he lost the fire that made him the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
That killer instinct that made Oscar De La Hoya quit on his stool and the fire that knocked out Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and badly damaged Antonio Margarito are just no longer there.
Desert Storm’s comments aren’t completely off base, as Pac-Man went on to get knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez a few months after his split decision defeat in his first bout with Bradley.
While he’s since recovered with a unanimous decision against Brandon Rios, the Filipino superstar hasn’t proved himself against an opponent of Bradley’s skill in quite some time.
Bradley hasn’t exactly been slaying giants, either, but the California native did fell Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov and survived a back-and-forth war with Marquez—a feat Pacquiao failed to accomplish back in 2012.
Bradley has plenty of motivation to feed off and should be boxing with a chip on his shoulder stemming from the amount of detractors and doubters he gained after squeaking past Pac-Man in their first showdown.
According to Kevin McRae of Bleacher Report, the 30-year-old defending champion is not only looking to win, but is also out prove something this time around:
I’m a different fighter now. I’m a different beast. A different animal. And this time around I want to prove it to the fans and prove it to everybody watching. I got the win, but it felt like I lost because I didn’t get any credit for it from the fans. And it’s very important to get the credit from the fans.
While both men would assuredly love to knock the other out, it appears this fight is going to go the distance. Neither has scored a knockout in a long time, with Pac-Man’s last TKO coming against Miguel Cotto back in November of 2009 and his last KO being earned against Ricky Hatton a few months prior to that.
Steve Kim of MaxBoxing.com did compliment Pac-Man on his blend of speed and power, but it will be difficult to translate that into a knockout against a quick and reserved fighter like Bradley:
Manny Pacquiao working the heavy bag is one of the most impressive things Ive seen in the gym, the blend of speed and power #boxing— Steve Kim (@stevemaxboxing) April 5, 2014
Bradley has never been one to overwhelm his foe with power, having last scored a knockout against Alfonso Sanchez back in 2006. However, Bradley has rendered opponents unable to continue and most recently earned a TKO against Joel Casamayor in 2011.
Who will win this bout?
Bet on this battle going all 12 rounds, and once again, coming down to the scorecards of the judges. That sort of outcome favors Bradley, whose style tends to score big points in the eyes of the ringside observers.
Pacquiao is going to put up a strong fight, but ultimately, his overly aggressive style and lack of commitment to defense will doom him with the judges. Don’t be surprised if this outcome is again shrouded in controversy as Bradley walks away with a split decision.
Prediction: Bradley by Split Decision
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