Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2: Changes Pac-Man Must Make in Rematch

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 9, 2014

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 06: Manny Pacquiao addresses the media, while Timothy Bradley (R) looks on, during the press conference to promote his upcoming WBO welterweight championship rematch fight against Timothy Bradley at New World Stages on February 6, 2014 in New York City.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

When first looking at the headline for this article, your initial response is: What changes?

Really, you can't have asked for much more from Manny Pacquiao in his defeat to Timothy Bradley. Ask almost anyone, and they'll tell you Pac-Man won the fight.

Here's a look at the final stats, according to CompuBox.

Pacquiao vs. Bradley Fight Stats
Total PunchesJabsPower Punches
Manny Pacquiao25363190
Timothy Bradley15951108

Boxing being boxing, judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford scored it 115-113 for Bradley, and Jerry Roth had it 115-113 for Pacquiao.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was apoplectic at the result, per's Dan Rafael:

"These people don't know how to score, they really don't," Arum, who has promoted fights for almost 50 years, said at the postfight news conference.

"What the hell were these people watching? ... How can you watch a sport where you don't see any motive for any malfeasance and yet come up with a result like we came up with tonight. How do you explain it to anybody?"

Despite his strong performance, Pacquiao could improve in a few key areas when the rematch rolls around. If he can accomplish these three things, revenge will be his.


Don't Leave Any Room for Doubt

The most obvious thing for Pacquiao to do is beat Bradley so handily that the judges have no other choice but to award him the fight. Whether it's through a knockout or simply bludgeoning Bradley in every round, Pacquiao can't let the judges have any sort of case with which to defend giving Desert Storm the victory.

After the loss back in June of 2012, Pacquiao said that he had left it all in the ring. He said, "I guess my best wasn't good enough," per Rafael.

While the Pac-Man performed well in that fight, it wasn't enough. He needs to do more in the rematch.

Arum put it best when he said, "We would like this to be emphatic. We would love an outcome like the Ricky Hatton fight," per The Telegraph's Gareth A. Davies.

Pacquiao came out like a buzz-saw in that fight, knocking out Hatton in the second round.

Expecting a performance like that on Saturday is unrealistic, considering Pacquiao's five years older. But you can understand the sentiment.


Make Timothy Bradley Desperate into the Late Rounds

Chris Carlson

Bradley is far from what you'd consider a knockout artist. Of his 31 wins, only 12 have come via KO.

Instead, he relies on his speed and technique. Bradley is happy to stay on defense and counter his opponent's best blows.

Of course, Pac-Man couldn't be any different. He comes at his opponents early and often, throwing a massive volume of punches.

What Pacquiao needs to do is take Desert Storm out of his comfort zone. He must force Bradley to go on the offensive and take more risks. The more he does that, the more he opens himself up to be knocked to the canvas.

This plays into the first key point listed above. If Pacquiao can be effective and win the early and middle rounds, desperation will start to set in for Bradley. He'll have to try something different to win the fight in the final rounds, and that could leave him massively exposed.


Don't Fade Down the Stretch

Jun. 9, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Timothy Bradley Jr (left) punches Manny Pacquiao during a welterweight championship bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

To say Pacquiao faded in the later rounds isn't totally accurate. It's not like he ever lost control of the fight and looked like he deserved to lose.

Looking at the numbers, though, there seems to a slight decline from the 10th round on. Over the final three rounds of the fight, Pacquiao hit 55 punches, 35 of which were power punches. In the seventh through ninth rounds, those numbers were 67 and 56, respectively.

By the time the 10th rolled around, Pac-Man probably figured he had the fight in the bag, so he didn't go on the offensive as much. Why should he leave himself open to a stupid knockdown when he's in firm control, right?

However, that late hiccup opened the door ever so slightly for Bradley. Both Roth and Ross gave all three rounds to Bradley, while Ford gave him the 10th and 12th.

Going along with the first key, Pacquiao can't let up too much late in the fight, no matter how much he thinks it's his to lose.