Repeat or revenge? Who wins Tim Bradley-Manny Pacquiao II?
Manny Pacquiao was riding a 15-bout winning streak that included eight knockouts, had lasted for nearly seven years and was comprised of winning titles over four of his eight total weight divisions when he met Tim Bradley in defense of his WBO 147-pound belt in June 2012.
"Manny used to be like a storm, man. Manny Pacquiao was a punisher," said Bradley, 30. "He used to be blazing. He used to just knock guys out. He didn't mess around."
But after being dethroned by Bradley following a disputed split decision, Pacquiao was left face-first on the canvas and unconcious following a sixth-round knockout loss in December 2012 to Juan Manuel Marquez, against whom Pacquiao is 2-1-1.
Although Pacquiao rebounded from the loss to Marquez with a unanimous decision victory over rising 140-pounder Brandon Rios in November, Bradley thought the 35-year-old looked tentative in doing so and has questioned his hunger for their April 12 rematch at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, site of their last meeting.
In his past three fights, Bradley has beaten Pacquiao, rose from a 12th-round knockdown to unanimously decision Ruslan Provodnikov in March 2013 and won a split decision over four-division titlewinner Marquez last October.
"That's a very interesting fight. Based on what has happened in the careers of both fighters since their first fight, to me, that is what makes this fight a tremendous fight and one that is worth watching. There are some rematches that happen in the world of boxing, and some are more worth watching than others," said unbeaten welterweight Keith Thurman.
"To me, this is one of those rematches that is really worth watching. Timothy is the younger guy and the hungrier guy and Pacquiao's been a multiple champion and held many titles and done so many things in the world of boxing. He may have lived a life that's full, so I'm interested in seeing how hungry Pacquiao is going to be."
Pacquiao's run before falling to Bradley included two knockouts of Erik Morales as well as stoppage wins over Oscar De la Hoya, Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton and David Diaz.
Pacquiao also had earned a pair of decision victories over Marquez and decisions over Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Marco Antonio Barrera and Joshua Clottey.
Having failed to score a knockout since stopping Cotto in the 12th round in November 2009 — he is 5-2 with no stoppages in his past seven bouts — Pacquiao has promised to return be more deliberate in Saturday's bout.
"Sometimes, I'm so nice to my opponent but this time, I need to bring back the aggressiveness. I have to focus and train hard and, not like before, underestimate [Bradley]. I have to focus and get back the aggressiveness," said Pacquiao.
"I'm just too nice, sometimes…my plan in this fight is to throw a lot of punches. More than [in the Rios fight.] I don't care if the fight is stopped or not. This time, I have to prove that I can still give a good show, that I'm a hungry Manny Pacquiao. Aggressiveness."
Bradley owns unanimous decision victories over IBF junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson, ex-beltholders Kendall Holt and Devon Alexander, a split decision over Junior Witter and a technical knockout over Joel Casamayor.
Bradley also has handed hard-hitting Luis Carlos Abregu his lone defeat by unanimous decision and sustained a no-contest against former titleholder Nate Campbell.
The WBO has declared that the winner of Bradley-Pacquiao II must face that between Marquez and Mike Alvarado, who will fight on May 17.
RingTV.com sought the opinions of 38 boxing insiders as to what will transpire in Bradley-Pacquiao II.
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: I think Manny Pacquiao will right the wrong and I think he will pound out a clear unanimous decision over Tim Bradley.
Dan Birmingham, trainer of unbeaten welterweight Keith Thurman
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Tim Bradley: I'm going to pick Manny Pacquiao and I just think that he won the fight against Tim Bradley the last time and that he's got something to prove.
I think it's going to be Pacquiao by decision. Bradley's a tough, tough guy and he's got a real tough constitution but I just think that he's going to get outpointed.
Mike Coppinger, RingTV.com/USA Today
Manny Pacquiao SD 12 Tim Bradley: I expect a closer fight than the first one — scorecards be damned — as Tim Bradley should have two good wheels for this one and is coming off the biggest legitimate win of his career.
However, the loss to Bradley still stings Manny Pacquiao and I expect to see the killer instinct finally return. Pacquiao should hurt and drop Bradley but Bradley will have his moments, coming up just short.
Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Jean Pascal TKO Lucian Bute]
Gareth A. Davies, The Daily Telegraph
Tim Bradley SD 12 Manny Pacquiao: This time, Manny Pacquiao really does lose on a split points decision. The styles don't gel. Pacquiao will want a war; Tim Bradley will pick his shots.
This is not the Manny Pacquiao of three years ago, tearing a strip off every opponent. There is a reason why Bradley is unbeaten. He finds a way. If it is God's will, Pacquiao could earn a decision victory. I had him winning 117-111 first time around against Bradley.
Tim Bradley UD 12 Manny Pacquiao: I was one of the few to pick Tim Bradley by split decision the first time they fought yet feel like I got it wrong, given the controversial nature of the final decision. This time, Tim leaves no doubt, winning an 8-4 type of fight over Manny Pacquiao.
Record: 4-2 [Last pick: Saul Alvarez UD 12 Alfredo Angulo]
Doug Fischer, editor of RingTV.com
Tim Bradley MD 12 Manny Pacquiao: I think Bradley will generally outmaneuver and outhustle Manny Pacquiao in the majority of rounds but a more intense and focused "Pac-Man" than the version he faced in 2012 will have strong moments scattered throughout the fight.
I think Pacquiao will rock Bradley at least once and that he might score a knockdown. This will make the fight close on the official scorecards. I'm guessing the official tally of Nevada veteran Glen Trowbridge might read 114-114 or 115-113 for Pacquiao.
I think most of the media will score the fight for Bradley by a round or two but I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of the public believes that Pacquiao once again deserved the nod.
Record: 4-1 [Last pick: Alvarez UD 12 Angulo]
Norm Frauenheim, THE RING magazine, www.15rounds.com
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: Manny Pacquiao is a different fighter. So is Tim Bradley. Changes since Bradley’s controversial decision over Pacquiao make for a rematch as intriguing as any. Bradley has evolved into a versatile, quick-thinker who thrives because he survives.
He wins the close ones. There are fewer questions about him than there are about Pacquiao, who has been an instinctive force of nature. But have those instincts been dulled by time? Can he think his way through what promises to be a close encounter? A knockout is Freddie Roach’s promise but that’s unlikely. Nobody has ever stopped Bradley.
The guess is that Pacquiao realizes that his feet and hands don't move at a blinding rate anymore. He too has been evolving. The process included Brandon Rios. He didn’t knock Brandon Rios out but compassion didn’t have anything to do with it.
Instead, he was learning how to use what's still there. For Pacquiao, there's still enough to apply tactical patience and precision for points in a victory he should have had the first time around.
Record: 5-3 [Last pick: Daniel Ponce de Leon TKO 8 Juan Manuel Lopez]
Jeffrey Freeman, www.KODigest.TV
Manny Pacquiao SD 12 Tim Bradley: Expect another very controversial decision in Vegas. Nearly two years ago, Tim Bradley got dominated in the desert by Manny Pacquiao and he also got a title-winning split decision that he didn't deserve. Since then, Bradley has matured as a champion while Pacquiao has regressed even further as a compassionate cash cow with no more killer instinct.
This time around, Bradley will actually perform better in the ring and when the final bell tolls, fans and media alike will perceive "Desert Storm" to have done enough to deserve a close but clear cut victory. The judges will tell a different story, however, that of a Pacquiao win by split decision.
With the series tied at one "win" apiece by "robbery," this rivalry heads into its final phase, a third and deciding rubber match where the chips will finally be allowed to fall where they may and the best man will actually win.
Record: 5-3 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon TKO 6 Lopez]
Tim Bradley W 12 Manny Pacquiao: I've got Tim Bradley by decision. Bradley, with healthy feet, will be a handful for Manny Pacquiao, who appears to be overconfident against a guy who beat Juan Manuel Marquez more convincingly than he ever did.
Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Alvarez W 12 Angulo]
Manny Pacquiao UD12 Tim Bradley: Manny Pacquiao has already beaten Tim Bradley over 12 rounds, so I’ll go for a repeat performance in the rematch and, hopefully, the judges will be watching the same fight as everyone else.
Both guys are superbly talented but I don’t think either has the power to knock the other out. Pacquiao just seems to have more intensity and is quicker at closing the gap than the American. Unlike in his bout with Marquez, Bradley won't find the same counter opportunities because Manny can match him for foot speed and athleticism.
We also have to factor in that Pacquiao, who is already immensely popular, is the sentimental favorite before a punch is thrown. Bradley became a pariah after controversially defeating him and in my view, will need to dominate this bout to win a decision. I can't see Bradley dominating the action in this fight and this is do-or-die for Pacquiao.
Record: 5-2 [Last pick: Alvarez TKO 6 Angulo]
Tim Bradley W 12 Pacquiao: If Manny Pacquiao were fighting the version of Tim Bradley that brawled with Ruslan Provodnikov, I would be picking Pacquiao. However, Bradley proved a lot by not only beating Juan Manuel Marquez but by outboxing him so comprehensively. He was quick, slick and disciplined and that's the formula Bradley must follow to beat Pacquiao.
As for the "Pac-Man," one stat may prove to be telling: although he was facing a slower-handed foe whose style was made for him to look good, Brandon Rios still managed to land 43 percent of his power shots. That tells me that Pacquiao's defensive reactions are slowing down. If he can get hit that often by Rios, how much more will he be struck by Bradley, who has faster hands and who will likely employ a style that will make Pacquiao look bad?
Plus, Bradley will likely be fighting while completely healthy, not with two injured feet as he did during the first fight against Pacquiao or with a concussion like he fought with against Provodnikov. Finally, Bradley, who officially won the first fight, is actually the one who is fighting for redemption, not Pacquiao, who many believe won the first fight in lopsided fashion.
In short, Bradley is younger, quicker and highly motivated while Pacquiao is older, slower and perhaps less able to summon the killer instinct that marked his prime. When one looks at all these factors, the stars seem to be lining up for a Bradley win. But as we know, boxing is a place where the unexpected is commonplace. If Bradley brawls, all bets are off. But if he boxes, as I think he will, he will win fairly handily.
Record: 3-2 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon KO 7 Lopez]
Andreas Hale, KnockoutNation.com
Timothy Bradley SD 12 Manny Pacquiao: Call me crazy for this pick but I truly believe that the Manny Pacquiao of today is a far different fighter than the one who steamrolled his opposition with relentless aggression between 2008-2009. It was evident in the Antonio Margarito and Shane Mosley fights that Pacquiao has taken his foot off the gas pedal and isn't here to leave his foes in a battered heap and coughing up blood.
To make matters worse, when he mustered up the killer instinct to dust off Juan Manuel Marquez last December, he was flattened for his troubles. Before the first Timothy Bradley fight, I suggested that Bradley is a problem that could pull out a split decision if Pacquiao isn't firing on all cylinders for 12 rounds. I didn't have Bradley winning that first fight but that's exactly what happened.
Bradley is a jack of all trades and a master of none but his grit and determination will be an issue unless Pacquiao finds the savage that has since become a bit more compassionate. And considering that Bradley has already dealt with the shock and awe of Pacquiao from their first fight, his confidence will soar as the rounds progress and he'll pick his spots well without concern that Manny is coming to kill him.
Bradley has improved since their first fight and will battle Pacquiao for as long as he has a pulse. It will be up to Pacquiao to take the judges out of the fight and prove that he's still a killer inside of the squared circle. But if he doesn't assert himself as the monster he once was by round six, you can expect extremely close rounds that could likely swing in favor of Bradley, giving him another controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao.
Record: 7-1 [Last pick: Lopez UD 10 Ponce de Leon]
Keith Idec, The Record/BoxingScene.com
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 over Timothy Bradley: A motivated, rejuvenated Manny Pacquiao will beat Tim Bradley again but this time, he’ll get the decision he deserves. It won't be as easy for Pacquiao as their first fight, though.
Bradley's ankle and foot injuries were big factors for much of that 12-round fight. A healthier Bradley will win rounds in this rematch and already has proven he can take Pacquiao's power.
But Bradley's willingness to trade, especially at close range, will still cost him valuable points on the scorecards. Bradley will have his moments; he just won't win enough rounds to come out ahead in what should be a highly-competitive fight.
Record: 5-3 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon TKO 8 Lopez]
Tim Bradley W 12 Manny Pacquiao: I felt that Manny Pacquiao won on June 9, 2012 and nothing has changed my mind in the interim. But these are different fighters competing at a different time.
Tim Bradley's confidence has soared after his wins over Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez. I think he’ll use his boxing ability to avoid a slugfest and will pull out an unquestioned decision this time.
Rich Marotta, KFI Radio, Los Angeles
Manny Pacquiao SD 12 Tim Bradley: First of all, I am expecting a real good fight, an even better fight than the original. Like nearly everyone, I thought Manny Pacquiao was an easy winner the first time around. However, Tim Bradley is a better, more confident fighter than he was then.
Pacquiao, on the other hand, will be more focused within the confines of the fight itself, press the action when he has the advantage and not take his foot off the pedal.
While both guys talk confidently of a knockout, the fight will go the distance. The ironic result will be Bradley fighting much better than he did in a fight where he got the verdict, only to lose a close decision this time.
Record: 5-3 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon W 10 Lopez]
Gordon Marino, Wall Street Journal
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: Manny Pacquiao is inspired for this contest against Tim Bradley. Unlike in their last encounter, he will close the distance and apply constant pressure to "Desert Storm." If Bradley holds his ground and fights, the "Pac-Man" will stop him.
If Bradley runs, Tim will lose the decision. A key factor is that Bradley does not have the power to keep Pacquiao at bay or to make him hesitate in his attack. I also believe that Pacquiao's flashdance footwork is back and that is at the core of his boxing brilliance.
Shane Mosley, retired five belt champion
Tim Bradley W 12 Manny Pacquiao: I think that I'm leaning slighthy toward Tim Bradley in this fight. I think that Manny Pacquiao is hungry but that Bradley is still a little more hungry. I think that it's going to be a great fight, probably a split-decision but I'm not really sure.
Jack Obermayer, Fight Fax Inc.
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Tim Bradley: This is another toughie. Manny Pacquiao seeks revenge; Tim Bradley seeks confirmation. Pacquiao won easily the first time but got screwed. Will a new set of judges feel his pain and reward him a controversial nod as payback?
Don't rule it out. That said, I look for Manny to press the issue even more so than in 2012. Forward march pays off as Bradley fights valiantly in a real humdinger. Pacquiao by decision, maybe even split.
Record: 2-1 [Last pick: Alvarez KO 11 Angulo]
Tim Bradley UD 12 Manny Pacquiao: It will be relatively close but I have Tim Bradley taking the rematch via a clean, unanimous decision.
Yes, Manny Pacquiao will be fired up and itching for revenge. But I just don't feel he has another elite victory in him, which is the requirement to stop or beat the improving American.
John J. Raspanti, Doghouseboxing.com/KO Monthly Magazine/examiner.com
Manny Pacquiao W12 Timothy Bradley: The story of the first fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley has been beaten to death. Pacquiao won but Bradley was gifted with the decision. Since that fight, Pacquiao has been knocked out while Bradley defeated Pacquiao’s conqueror.
Bradley feels that Pacquiao has lost his killer instinct. Pacquiao strongly disagrees. Did Bradley's talk wake up the Filipino icon? I'm going with Pacquiao to outpoint Bradley over 12 competitive rounds.
Record: 5-3 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon TKO 9 Lopez]
Matt Richardson, Fightnews.com
Tim Bradley W 12 Manny Pacquiao: I like Tim Bradley. To me, he's been vastly underrated by both boxing fans and the media. He's a perfect example of a fighter who doesn't do any specific thing great but does everything well.
And against this version of Manny Pacquiao, that should be more than enough to earn the "W." I like Bradley to use his speed and boxing skills to beat Pacquiao from the outside.
He may be tempted to trade now and then – and he will – but I think Bradley is smart enough to know when to turn that on and off. For the most part, in this fight, that option should be turned off.
I expect Bradley to win a close decision, this time much more cleanly and clearly than he did in their first controversial encounter.
Record: 5-2 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon W 10 Lopez]
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Tim Bradley: I think Manny Pacquiao will move his hands more and look more for contact than explosion.
Tim Bradley will be more comfortable but may lose close rounds with judges trying to make sure they get the rematch right. This one might end with debate, though not as much as the first.
Record: 4-4 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon KO Lopez]
Michael Rosenthal, THE RING Magazine
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Tim Bradley: I believe Pacquiao has at least one more outstanding performance left in him, which is why I'm picking him by a close decision. I'm not overly confident I have this right, though: this is as close to a 50-50 fight as you can get.
Record: 4-3 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon KO 10 Lopez]
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Tim Bradley: Tim Bradley Jr. and Manny Pacquiao go at it again and, honestly, this fight could go in many directions. I think the one main question that will make or break the fight for Pacquiao is whether he will be content to box or have that "killer instinct" against Bradley.
In my opinion, it may be best served for Pacquiao to box or try to outbox Bradley. I think he gives himself the best opportunity to win that way. If he tries to brawl or exert his aggressiveness, it may play into Bradley's hands as that is how he was successful against Juan Manuel Marquez.
Bradley's ring generalship is underrated and he could get Pacquiao to open with feints. This will be a very close bout but if Pacquiao sticks to a game plan, he could win. I have Pacquiao winning a very close bout, 115-113 or 114-113.
Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Julio Cesar Chavez MD 12 Bryan Vera]
Abel Sanchez, trainer of WBA 160-pound titleholder Gennady Golovkin
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: I'm picking Manny Pacquiao. I think that he won the last time, so I think that he's a little more committed to his training and I think that he's more focused since he got knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez.
I think that the knockout by Marquez has made him a little more committed. I think that it will be a decision. I don't think anybody gets knocked out. Tim Bradley is a warrior and he has a great chin and he proved that against Ruslan Provodnikov. He took everything that Provodnikov had to throw at him.
He went toe-to-toe with Provodnikov and got caught with some shots that he shouldn't have gotten caught with and Provodnikov wasn't able to put him out. So I don't think that Pacquiao will knock him out but I do think that it will be a more convincing win for Pacquiao. I think that it's an 8-to-4 fight for Manny.
Joseph Santoliquito/THE RING Magazine/RingTV.com/CBS Sports
Manny Pacquiao KO 9 Tim Bradley: "Pac-Man" has something prove, even at this late stage of his career. Many thought, including myself, that Manny Pacquiao won the first fight against Tim Bradley.
He was ripped off and now he's angry. The interesting thing here is that if "Pac-Man" loses, any last scrap that there could be a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather is gone.
Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Alvarez KO 9 Angulo]
Tim Bradley W 12 Manny Pacquiao: I am going to take a chance and say Tim Bradley beats Manny Pacquiao by decision again. I think Timmy has improved a great deal since their first fight and Pacquiao has suffered that big loss to Marquez. He looked good against Brandon Rios but I just have a feeling that Tim has risen to a new level right now.
Record: 4-1 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon W 10 Lopez]
Tim Bradley W 12 Manny Pacquiao: Manny Pacquiao has always overwhelmed his opponents with a volume of punches. He came on late in the last fight and it wasn't enough to sway at least two of the judges.
Despite Tim Bradley trying to embarrass him into doing something foolish by challenging his killer instinct, I don't think Pacquiao will put himself in position to get KO'ed again like he did against Juan Manuel Marquez.
Bradley has grown as a boxer since the last fight and he proved against Marquez that he can hold his own as a boxer. He will use it against Pacquiao and legitimately win this time. Bradley by 12-round decision.
Record: 0-1 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon W 10 Lopez]
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: This time around, there won't be any controversy – or will there? Tim Bradley's camp feels that they need a knockout to win the rematch after all the controversy surrounding the first fight. Unfortunately for Bradley, he isn't much of a puncher.
I don't believe he needs a knockout but I do think he needs to be dominant to win a decision. After how the first encounter went, I don't see Bradley being able to win enough rounds clearly to win on the cards as every close round will go to Manny Pacquiao.
I see Bradley performing better than he did in 2012 but "Pac-Man" will get his revenge by winning a hard-fought unanimous decision as the fight seems much closer than the scorecards will indicate.
Record: 2-1 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon TKO 9 Lopez]
Steve Stubbs, guest, Germantown, Md.
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: I went with Manny Pacquiao on the first meeting between him and Tim Bradley and I'm going to stick with Manny again on the rematch. I'm a little troubled as of late as to Manny's soft-spoken nature.
I somewhat agree with Bradley that he has lost something that we used to see in the Pacquiao of old. Manny needs to fight like he doesn't want this to go to the judges.
And after their last meeting, who could blame Manny for not wanting this in the hands of the judges? I'm going to say this will end in a unanimous decision for Pacquiao.
Keith Thurman, unbeaten welterweight contender
Tim Bradley W 12 Manny Pacquiao: I still, to this day, haven't watched the first fight. I've seen a few bits of pieces of it. But based on what has happened in both fighters' careers since that fight, to me, that's what makes this fight a tremendous fight and one that is worth watching.
I'm going to lean toward Timothy because I still think that he has the heart of a warrior and I think Pacquiao's heart is a little broken. I hope that it gets restored and I would like to see Pacquiao show us the Pacquiao that we all fell in love with once upon a time.
Manny needs this more than ever right now but he has to prove to me that he was the warrior that he once was. With that said, I'm going to lean toward Timothy because of his fight versus Ruslan Provodnikov and his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez.
Timothy's showed in those two fights that his heart and his spirit have not changed, so I'm going to go with the man who has been more consistent and that's Timothy Bradley.
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: Both fighters have something to prove but I think Manny Pacquiao simply has a greater need to win this rematch than Tim Bradley. Styles make fights and I believe Pacquiao’s busy style, punching power and ability to come at Bradley from different angles works better in this matchup.
Manny knows his career as an elite pay-per-view fighter is over if he loses and besides, Bradley saying Pacquiao has lost his killer instinct was a slap in the face to the eight-division world champion from the Philippines. Pacquiao is a proud man and he will knock Bradley’s socks off to win by unanimous decision.
Record: 2-0 [Last pick: Lopez KO Ponce de Leon]
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Tim Bradley: Manny Pacquiao won the fight in their first meeting against Tim Bradley. I don't care what the record books state. So its safe to say that the Filipino congressman will be the victor in their second meeting; right? Wrong.
Bradley has grown as a fighter and understands that this time, he needs to prove to the world that he deserved the victory and will repeat it again, leaving no questions unanswered. Has Pacquiao lost the fire, the tenacity, the ferocity?
Will Pacquiao ever be the same again? Can the multi-division champion regain his form of old or will Bradley put an end to what has been an astonishing rags-to-riches career?
Although this is not an easy pick, I believe that the judges will be slightly more sensitive toward "Pac-Man" and trainer Freddie Roach will have Manny on the attack.
I do not believe that Pacquiao will give Bradley the room to box and get off on his punches like he did in his win over an aging Juan Manuel Marquez. On April 12, we will see flashes of the old Pacquiao and in the end, we will embrace the return of the "Pac-Man."
Record: 2-4 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon KO 4 Lopez]
Charles Villa, guest/fan, Portland, Ore.
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: With the horrible judging and the vast majority of the boxing public convinced that Manny Pacquiao had done enough to secure the win, most people were convinced that a second match between the two was an unnecessary affair. But a few funny things happened on the way to April 12, 2014. Manny Pacquiao, in search of a lucrative fight decided to have one more definitive fight with Juan Manuel Marquez that ended with Pacquiao shockingly flattened at the end of the sixth round.
A few months later, looking to prove he was indeed worthy of the belt around his waist, Tim Bradley went to war with Ruslan Provodnikov and won a determined decision. After that, he managed to put on an excellent technical performance, outpointing Juan Manuel Marquez, justifying his place as a top-five pound-for-pound fighter.
While Pacquiao was able to rebound with a shut-out performance of Brandon Rios, questions continue to linger two years after Pacquiao-Bradley I. You have to believe that Bradley is peaking in terms of all-around skills. Clean footwork, excellent upper-body movement, fast hands and while he doesn't pack KO power, Provodnikov's face after their fight showed that Bradley is packing a little more than pillows in his gloves.
Pacquiao's speed isn't blinding anymore but it's still faster than most fighters you'll see today. He hasn't stopped anyone since Miguel Cotto in 2009. There were brilliant flashes of the old Pacquiao in his fourth fight with Marquez, but how much does a concussive KO take out of a fighter? At the end of the day, this fight is rightfully a 50-50, classic pick 'em matchup. I'm going with Pacquiao to fight all three minutes of every round, confounding Bradley with combos that were lacking in their previous fight.
Record: 1-3 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon KO 9 Lopez]
Tim Bradley W 12 Manny Pacquiao: The first fight most people believed Manny Pacquiao should have won but Tim Bradley got the decision. Almost two years later, they meet in a fight that will have a huge ramifications on both guys' careers going forward. I think that since the first bout, Bradley has grown as a fighter, showing real character surviving several rocky moments against Ruslan Provodnikov.
Bradley went back to what he does best the last time out and won a just decision over Juan Manuel Marquez, proving the Provodnikov fight hadn't taken the prime of his career. As for Manny, he has fought Marquez, getting stopped in the sixth round whilst appearing to be zeroing in on the KO himself.
Although Manny got back into the win column against Brandon Rios last time, he didn't exhibit his full repertoire. This time, Pacquiao has promised he wont let up. That said, at 35, with as many tough fights as Pacquiao has had, I see Bradley boxing much like he did against Marquez to take a points decision, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 116-112.
Record: 5-2 [Last pick: Ponce de Leon KO 7 Lopez]
George Willis, author, The Bite Fight
Tim Bradley W 12 Manny Pacquiao: I'm going to take Tim Bradley by decision. I think that he's gotten better since the first fight, where I don't see Manny Pacquiao progressing.
I really think that a little of what Bradley says about Pacquiao's lost killer instinct might be true. I think that it will be a decision.
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: I tend to think Timothy Bradley has gotten, oh, 30 percent better since he and Manny Pacquiao first clashed. I think a large measure of that is confidence.
Bradley is a sensitive soul as many prizefighters are…and I think he finally, really, truly decided he was total world-class when he soundly beat Juan Manuel Marquez.
That makes this clash a coin-flip fight. Every round should be even-ish and a draw could be in the cards. But Manny deserves a makeup call, it could be argued, and thus, I can see a "Pac-Man" UD 12, via a couple points.
Coyote Duran, copy/content editor of RingTV.com/Maxboxing.com
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: The buzzwords/phrases leading up to Saturday night's rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley have been "compassion" and "killer instinct." Bradley has readily accused Pacquiao of replacing the latter with the former mainly based on Pacquiao's performances since their first bout in June of 2012. That said, where Bradley has cemented his position as one of the best boxers in the world, Pacquiao has quietly marinated in the criticism.
And yes, perhaps Pacquiao took it light versus Brandon Rios last November but who's to say that fight wasn't a test run on an evolutionary approach, adjustable per respective opponent? What I'm driving at is Manny Pacquiao is looking for something authoritative and decisive this time around. However you perceive either fighter, Rios is no Bradley. Rios is a good fighter. Bradley is a damn good fighter. But as we're well-aware of, Pacquiao is as well.
The whole "Pacquiao was screwed" motif has been done to death. We got it. We watched the fight and most of us believe "Pac-Man" got screwed. Pacquiao believes it too and with a refreshed approach, Manny will turn up the speed many thought has diminished and will spread just a little more mustard on his shots. He's not going to stop Bradley. I'm not sure that can be done at this juncture but Pacquiao will take this fight by unanimous decision eight rounds to four.
By a margin of 23-15, the insiders favor Manny Pacquiao to get revenge by dethroning Tim Bradley as WBO welterweight titleholder.
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