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20 NOVEMBER 2018

Where am I? Home Columns Mike Sloan

The Lowdown on… Pacquiao vs. Bradley

SecondsOut breaks down the matchup and figures out who will win


By:Mike Sloan in Las Vegas: This Saturday the MGM Grand Garden Arena should play host to one of the more intriguing battles of the boxing year thus far. In one corner will be one of the two most popular, greatest fighters of this generation in Manny Pacquiao. A man who needs no introduction based solely on what he’s done inside the ring, Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) is a heavy betting favorite and has been picked by the vast majority of the boxing world to keep his nearly seven year (officially) winning streak alive.


Standing opposite of the Filipino superstar is a man who is virtually unknown to the masses and one who isn’t well known to even casual boxing fans. Timothy Bradley is a terrific fighter who has never lost a bout in his professional career, though because of his boxing style, his lack of power and his low-key approach to life has made him “Pacquiao’s opponent” coming in to Saturday’s mega bout.


However, just because Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) isn’t on the same level in terms of marquee power as Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather, it doesn’t mean he has no chance of pulling off what would amount to a sizeable upset. Everyone is clamoring for a Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown, but Bradley could be the perfect foil to possibly prevent that super fight from happening.


If you want to know who will win the showdown between Pacquiao and Bradley before the first punch is thrown, then look no further than here.


Punching power: Pacquiao is a devastating puncher, a man who can end a fight with a single punch. Though he hits very hard with both hands, his straight left hand is a thing of beauty. It’s a weapon that has removed many a professional fighter from his consciousness and if Bradley can’t absorb or dodge that missile, he’ll be in for a rude awakening. Bradley, on the other hand, has some sting in his gloves but he’s nowhere near the same level as his opponent. Pacquiao has ten more knockouts on his resume than Bradley has professional fights. This category is wipeout. Advantage: Pacquiao.



Speed: To coincide with his crippling power, Pacquiao also has lightning quick hands and panther-like reflexes. However, Bradley also is a blur when he fires and his sheer speed more than makes up for his lack of raw firepower. Still, it’s hard to argue against Pacquiao’s speed because his often oafish, sometimes sloppy, usually off-balance offense is quickly righted because he gets back into position immediately. That speed masks many of Manny’s flaws. Though Bradley is extremely quick with his releases and defense, it’s hard to pick against Pac Man in this department. Advantage: Pacquiao


Size: Both men are the same height and they’ve both been at this weight for a good amount of time. Bradley has a two-inch reach advantage and neither will bulk up two or three weight classes between the weigh-in and the fight. This category, per the norm, is a wash. Advantage: Push



Age factor: Pacquiao is 33; Bradley is 28. Pacquiao is still in his prime, though it’s typically around this age when the decline slowly starts to kick in. Bradley still has a good four or five years of prime fighting in his tank where Pacquiao doesn’t. Also, Pacquiao has been involved in many grueling wars over the years and though he’s almost always come out on top, his three bouts with Juan Manuel Marquez, two of his three with Erik Morales, and various battles against Marco Antonio Barrera, Antonio Margarito and Oscar Larios weren’t exactly healthy endeavors. Those battles all take their toll on fighters and eventually it catches up to them. Bradley has yet to really find himself in a life and death struggle; he’ll probably find one on Saturday. Advantage: Bradley



Chin: Bradley has never been visibly hurt as a pro and getting him off his feet has proven to be near impossible. Pacquiao has been floored several times throughout his career, but he always gets back up and takes care of business. Though Rustico Torrecampo ended his night with one punch, that was sixteen years ago. It’s hard to argue against Pacquiao’s chin because he’s taken on so many elite level fighters since he became a pound-for-pound entrant and never has been taken out. It’s a hard argument either way because on one hand you have a guy who’s never shown a chink in his chin’s armor and another who has learned to absorb the hardest of shots. Still, if one guy has been knocked down multiple times and rocked by various opponents AND was knocked out with one punch to the jaw (regardless of how long ago), it’s hard to pick him. However, and this is a big one, Pacquiao will take out Bradley if he hits him clean and hard; the same can’t be said if Bradley connects on Manny’s jaw. The power differential goes a long way when comparing their two chins and them hitting each other. Advantage: Pacquiao.



Experience: Bradley has taken on some great fighters recently: Joel Casamayor, Lamont Peterson, Devon Alexander, Luis Abregu, Junior Witter and a few worthwhile others. Pacquiao has locked horns with Morales (thrice), Marquez (thrice), Barrera (twice), Oscar de la Hoya, Shane Mosley, Margarito, Miguel Cotto, Jorge Solis. The list goes on and on. On top of that, Pacquiao’s fights have become some of the biggest attractions in the world with millions upon millions of fans watching him. Bradley has yet to even come close to achieving that. Advantage: Pacquiao



Intangibles: Pacquiao has been here many, many times in his life. Nothing fazes the guy. With that said, there has been rampant distractions in his camp as of late and he hasn’t looked as dominant as usual in his last few fights. Sure, he handled Mosley easily but he wasn’t able to put him away when he had ample opportunities to do so. Pacquiao also covets a showdown with Mayweather and a loss to Bradley might dash all hopes of that. One thing worth noting is that everybody around Pacquiao or involved with this fight appear to be awestruck by him and yuck it up whenever he speaks. At the press conference on Wednesday it was a Pacquiao love fest. The WBO gave him a diamond ring, MGM Resorts president Richard Stern couldn’t stop gushing over Pacquiao on the dais and gave a very small amount of attention to Bradley and the media were largely fawning all over the Filipino; the opposite of their treatment toward Pacquiao.


The mainstream sports/news outlets who never watch the fights yet are assigned to the biggest events of the year have only focused on Pacquiao because he’s the story. Many people who aren’t involved in boxing, yet have gotten media passes for this fight, admittedly don’t know who Bradley is and many of those individuals never gave him the time of day because, as one of them put it, he’s “not important.” All this is monitored by Bradley, who is out to prove to the world that he can beat Pacquiao. Even when he has proclaimed over and over that he’ll beat Pacquiao and fight him again in November, he’s laughed at.


Bradley’s look is one of a man hell bent to win. He’s determined, he’s focused, and he’s not playing games. In fact, it’s been an extremely long time since an undefeated young underdog has looked this focused, this hungry for victory. In fact, Bradley is so hungry to win that Sally Struthers was outside of the Hollywood Theatre inside the MGM begging people to adopt him. It’s difficult to defeat a man who is both great at what he does and is a hungry as Bradley. Pacquiao just doesn’t seem to share Bradley’s intensity. Even though Pacquiao is always laid back and reserved, he just doesn’t have that same fire in his eyes where Bradley’s shoot flames. Advantage: Bradley



The bottom line: Many think Pacquiao will climb into the ring and take apart Bradley. A sizeable chunk of those people think Bradley will get stopped along the way. If Bradley winds up being unable to cope with Pacquiao’s tricky angles and, most importantly, his power, he won’t last. However, Bradley’s awkward style, his angles, his speed, and the way he forces his opponents into a rough brawl on the inside is something Pacquiao has never been fond of. Bradley likes to thwart his foes’ attacks by clinching, mauling, and busting them up on the inside. Pacquiao likes to have control and back his opponents up where he can dominate. Bradley doesn’t play that game and likes to push his style onto the man he’s trying to topple. Bradley will make this a very uncomfortable fight for the Filipino and it’ll be ugly. There will be a lot of clinching, a ton of mauling, and Pacquiao will grow frustrated though he’ll keep his cool. Pacquiao might even get cut from an errant head butt or hook on the inside. Bradley does tend to throw looping punches on the outside but he’ll corral that error and force the action into the clinch. Many of the rounds will be very close and Bradley will impose his tricky style more than Pacquiao will and he’ll steal rounds. In the end, Bradley will have won enough rounds to earn the decision but because the Nevada judges are usually incompetent and because Bradley didn’t “truly beat the champ” he’ll get screwed. It’s unclear as to whether it’ll be an egregious decision that is scored a draw or if it will be close enough to warrant Pacquiao getting the majority decision. Either way, Bradley will have actually won but will not walk out of the ring as the official winner. Bank on it.



You can also contact Mike Sloan at or follow him on Twitter @mikesloan19

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