Manny Pacquiao will face Timothy Bradley on April 12, 2014 Saturday (Sunday morning Australia) for the WBO welterweight title in the second meeting between the two rivals.
For all intents and purposes the controversial loss against Bradley on June 9, 2012 started what was probably the worst stretch in Pacquiao’s career. After the judges Bradley won that fight, the Filipino lost via a devastating knockout to nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez on December that same year.
It was a bitter loss for the Filipino, who felt that he was robbed of the victory. Also, it left a tasteless win for Bradley, who felt disrespected because fans and experts would rather credit the judges than his performance.
Both fighters will have the chance to prove their worth this weekend for the rematch. Who will come out on top?
1. Going for the Kill
Weeks leading up to the second Bradley bout, Pacquiao declared that he’s not leaving chances to the judges’ hands and rather would do more with his.
“I should put more on gas and be aggressive,” the Pac Man said short of guaranteeing a short fight. “I'm not saying that I could knock him out, but I'm just nice to Bradley in the ring. That's what happened.”
Look for a more active Pacquiao. Look for more punches per round from the Filipino. Look for the old Pacquiao that threw multiple combinations round-in and round-out.
Freddie Roach knows too.
“He wasn't busy enough in the first fight. He only fought one minute of each round. I told Manny, he needs to fight three minutes of each round to be dominant in this fight and make sure there are no close rounds,” said Roach during training camp.
2. Revenge Match
Technically, this is incorrect as Pacquiao can’t avenge a “win”, which was what everyone witnessed in 2012. Except obviously two of three judges, Duane Ford and Jerry Roth, both of whom scored the bout 115-113 in favor of the American.
How did Pacquiao perform after past losses against the same opposition?
On March 19, 2005, Erik Morales defeated Manny via a 12-round unanimous decision. Nine months later, Pacquiao bounced back against the Mexican with a convincing 10th round knockout. Heck, he validated that KO in the third fight (November 2006) sending Morales to practically boxing retirement with a third round KO.
3. Marquez Hangover, Mayweather Factor
Pacquiao knows that boxing experts and fans remember that his last fight was against Marquez (no, the bout against punching bag named Brandon Rios doesn’t count.) and it ended in embarrassing fashion.
There are two lines of thoughts here; either Pacquiao is fearful of being too careless again (and suffer the fate against Marquez) or he goes all-out to going back to the machine that he was when he knocked out opponents left and right during his prime.
The fight against Rios supports the former thought. Pacquiao was content in just winning the match by outboxing Rios. He never went for the kill and hesitated all-bout long because he knew Rios could do a Marquez in the latter part of the fight.
So, why would Pacquiao want to go all-aggressive against Bradley? First, he knows the American doesn’t have the power to knock him out cold a la Marquez (or even Rios, by history). Second, he just wants to return to being considered as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
In other words, send a fair warning to Floyd Mayweather Jr.