Like it or not, sometimes the narrative wins out in sports.
When it comes to the Manny Pacquiao versus Timothy Bradley boxing match on Saturday, Pac-Man needs a win to set up a potential rubber match showdown. Perhaps aware of this fact, Las Vegas sees Pacquiao as a favorite in the bout.
Here is a look at some of the odds, as of Wednesday, April 9, via oddsshark.com:
Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley Essentials
Where: MGM Grand in Las Vegas
When: Saturday, April 12; card begins at 9 p.m. ET
TV: HBO pay-per-view
There is little doubt that Pacquiao will be incredibly motivated for this fight. It is a chance to avenge what can only be described as a controversial loss in his first meeting against Bradley, and it's also an opportunity to show the boxing world that he is still one of the sport’s best fighters.
Remember, the 55-5-2 Pacquiao fell to the undefeated Bradley (31-0) by a split decision that left many questioning the outcome, which gave Bradley the WBO welterweight title.
Another layer of intrigue when it comes to this matchup is the fact that Pac-Man hasn’t knocked out an opponent since he faced Miguel Cotto in 2009.
Bradley discussed that reality in a press conference, his comments via Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports:
He's great, man, and I really, sincerely mean that. The guy is a great boxer. He has a lot of skills. But he's not destroying guys like he was at one point. He's just happy to go the 12 rounds and box and get his [win] and go home. He's not going out there trying to kill guys any more. He's lost that killer instinct.
While Bradley may have a point, he is simply adding more fuel to the already motivated Pacquiao’s fire. We are still talking about a fighter who has registered 38 knockouts in his career and isn’t exactly a soft puncher, although those marks did primarily come during his prime which included an incredible run from 2008-09.
The fact that Pacquiao is a small favorite, is one of the best fighters in recent history and is fighting for a number of different reasons is enough to give bettors confidence.
Pac-Man is looking for revenge, the chance to maintain his spot among the current bests of the sport and perhaps even a future fight with Floyd Mayweather, even if that does seem like a pipe dream right now. That is a lot of motivation.
What’s more, if there’s any doubt who is the king of the boxing ring right now, Ryan Songalia of Ring Magazine put it to rest:
Think that billboard might stick in the back of Pacquiao’s mind when he's preparing?
Looking forward, a rematch between Pac-Man and Bradley seems almost inevitable.
It seems like things tend to work out that way often in boxing, and the rubber match would certainly bring plenty of buzz and pay-per-view dollars to the table. That type of intrigue and storyline is what the sport feeds on.
Look for Pacquiao to prove why he is the favorite on Saturday.
Follow me on Twitter: