Fight Picks: Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley III
Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley face each other on Saturday for the third time, and, like their previous meetings, this one will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Any time two world-class fighters meet it’s intriguing – however, it’s not a fight that many, if any, were clamoring for. Most believe Pacquiao to have been robbed in their first go-around, only to right the perceived wrong the second time.
Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 knockouts) hasn’t fought since last May when he lost a decision to Floyd Mayweather in the superfight that failed to deliver. Pacquiao, now 37, injured his shoulder a couple of weeks prior to the bout, which was revealed in the aftermath, causing some bad feelings. When you factor in his recent comments about the gay and lesbian community, all of which damaged his brand, he needs to get back in the win column and turn around the negative press.
Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) is the consummate professional, respected and underrated. He has won two and drawn one since he lost – for the only time in his career – against Pacquiao two years ago. With his 33rd birthday looming this August, he is closer to his athletic prime.
There’s an interesting subplot between the two protagonists trainers — Pacquiao’s longtime trainer, Freddie Roach, and Bradley’s new coach, Teddy Atlas. Both cornermen are gregarious sorts who don’t believe in beating around the bush and have got under the others’ skin trading barbs throughout the build-up.
The HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast begins at 9:00 p.m ET/PT with a full supporting undercard including Arthur Abraham looking to defend his WBO super middleweight crown against up-and-coming Mexican hopeful Gilberto Ramirez. Also scheduled to appear on the PPV are 2012 Olympians Jose Ramirez and Oscar Valdez, who step up their competition against Manuel Perez and Evgeny Gradovich, respectively.
Online gambling group bet365.com lists Pacquiao at 4/9 (-225), while Bradley is priced at 7/4 (+175).
RingTV.com asked 23 boxing insiders for their picks:
Mitch Abramson, RingTV.com
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: I don’t think this fight will be any different than the previous two times when Pacquiao showed he was the better fighter. I don’t buy the hype that Bradley is a different/better boxer then he was before. I respect Teddy Atlas as a trainer and wish he trained more fighters for the sake of the sport but at 32 I’m not sure how much better you can become as a fighter. I’m sure Bradley would have been just fine if he had Joel Diaz in his corner against Brandon Rios. So I’ll go Manny by UD.
Chris Algieri, welterweight contender
Manny Pacquiao PTS 12 Tim Bradley: I believe that it will be a fun fight and that both guys are going to bring it. Pacquiao is coming off the shoulder injury and if you are not 100 percent healthy and ready to perform, Tim Bradley is one of the last people you want to see in front of you. He always is in tremendous shape and always gives it his all. That being said, I think that Pacquiao won the majority of the rounds in the first two fights, and I am picking him to once again be victorious come April 9th.
Robert Diaz, Golden Boy matchmaker
Manny Pacquiao UD Tim Bradley: I see Pacquiao winning the 3rd fight more decisively than the past fight. Pac by UD.
Kathy Duva, Main Events CEO
Manny Pacquiao to beat Tim Bradley: I am torn about this one. In the end, it is very hard for me to pick against Manny Pacquiao, even though he lost his most recent fight. It is always possible that he has finally reached the end of the line. But for some reason, I expect that he will pull out one more win vs. Bradley. Just my gut talking. But that is how I see it.
Stephen Edwards, American boxing trainer
Tim Bradley PTS 12 Manny Pacquiao: Pacquiao is no longer the Pacman. Too distracted, too old.
Doug Fischer, Editor of RingTV.com
Tim Bradley PTS 12 Manny Pacquiao: I think, given the circumstances, Pacquiao is ripe for being outworked and outboxed. I think Timmy’s going to finally earn a legit victory against Pac, but I don’t see him doing it by stoppage. And if he tries too hard to score a KO, I think he’ll hurt himself and play into Manny’s hands.
Norm Frauenheim, The Ring/www.15rounds.com
Manny Pacquiao SD Tim Bradley: The best pick is controversy. From his disputed decision over Pacquiao in their first fight to the premature end to his victory over Jessie Vargas, Timothy Bradley’s biggest moments have been crazy. Expect just about anything, including a post-fight argument. Bradley sounds more confident and perhaps more calculating than ever. Maybe that’s the Teddy Atlas factor. If reports about Pacquiao’s surgically-repaired shoulder are accurate, however, Bradley will have to deal with power in a right hand he didn’t see in their first two fights. According to the reports, Pacquiao had been fighting with a torn muscle in the shoulder since his victory over Oscar De La Hoya, or pre-Bradley. If the shoulder is healthy and stays that way throughout 12 rounds, the edge belongs to Pacquiao.
Jeffrey Freeman, KO Digest/The Sweet Science
Tim Bradley SD 12 Manny Pacquiao: It’s obvious that American Tim Bradley is the guy Bob Arum most wants Manny Pacquiao to pass his Top Rank torch off to before retiring. The 2012 Bradley robbery of Manny was a political testament to Arum’s spending of Pacquiao’s promotional capital. The 2014 rematch restored some sense of fair play but now the whole thing has become an embarrassing money grab. I believe Bradley will (again) try to be the disciplined boxer. Pacquiao will (again) do what he already did twice. Then the judges will (again) do what they already did once which is award a split decision to the wrong guy. That’s right. Tim Bradley “wins” the fight and the trilogy without ever having actually beaten Pacquiao in three fights.
Joe Gallagher, 2015 RING Magazine trainer of the Year, works with among others the Smith brothers, Anthony Crolla and Scott Quigg.
Tim Bradley PTS 12 Manny Pacquiao: I think it’s a really good fight, I think a lot of people were surprised it was made. It’ll tell us what Manny Pacquiao has left and what Timothy Bradley has left. They’ve been in some tough fights. It’s a fascinating fight, I’ve just got a hunch. I fancy Bradley to do this. He’s changed trainers and they say ‘A change is as good as a break.‘ I’m not making out his old trainer isn’t good – he is – but Teddy Atlas on board will add one or two things, not massive things. Obviously with Manny we don’t know what he has left being out the ring since the Mayweather fight. There’s talk of it being his last fight: Will he go into the ring with that mentality? Or has Manny Pacquiao got Tim Bradley’s number? They’re the type of questions we don’t know but we will get the answers to them Saturday night. I fancy Bradley to get the win this time on points.
Tom Gray, RingTV.com
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: Manny Pacquiao has already beaten Tim Bradley over 24 rounds, and as knowledgeable as Teddy Atlas is, I think the American needs more than a new trainer. Bradley doesn’t get the chance to lead because Pacquiao is better on his feet and locates angles faster. He can’t counterpunch effectively because Pacquiao throws in bunches and Bradley can’t get his timing down, the way Juan Manuel Marquez once did. What can really change here? Unless Pacquiao has gone way back or he’s distracted by recent events outside the ring, he dominates Bradley for a third time.
David Greisman, BoxingScene.com
Tim Bradley SD 12 Manny Pacquiao: Manny Pacquiao’s loss to Floyd Mayweather wasn’t because Manny has declined, but because Mayweather was just better. Meanwhile, while few believed that Pacquiao will actually retire after facing Tim Bradley, the fact that he’s talking about it is a cause for concern. I think Bradley is fresher, hungrier and will be better prepared for this third fight with Pacquiao. I had Manny winning the first two and think he’s still very, very good. Nevertheless, I think Bradley takes the third by split decision.
Lee Groves, RingTV.com
Tim Bradley PTS 12 Manny Pacquiao: Bradley is younger, busier and coming off an excellent performance against Brandon Rios while Pacquiao is nearly a year removed from one of the worst outings of his career. The fight will swing on two factors: Pacquiao’s ability to regain form after such a long layoff as well as shoulder surgery and Bradley’s ability to control his emotions and fight in a disciplined manner, something he didn’t do in the rematch. I believe Teddy Atlas will be the game-changer because not only is he a strategist he also is an expert on the sport’s mental side. Bradley has been a willing student and I believe that if he executes Atlas’ blueprint he will have the volume, speed and skill to pound out the points win. And this time, it will be perceived as legitimate.
Brian Harty, THE RING Magazine
Manny Pacquiao PTS 12 Tim Bradley: Through sins, conversions and campaigns the storyline on Pacquiao is always “Is he distracted?” and the answer is always no, so I don’t think his recent public stupidity will affect him. So many other things could, though – shoulder, age, inactivity – and for various reasons he’ll get zero love from the judges. On the other side you’ve got the firemen. I love the Bradley/Atlas combo. But Pacquiao is no Rios and Bradley is no Mayweather, so how much can you really get from recent performances? What Bradley did against Rios says something about where his head is but doesn’t amount to much in the way of proof skill-wise – I do think the gap has narrowed, but Bradley still has deficiencies where Pacquiao is (or was) effective and his strengths, however tuned, aren’t the ones he needs to exploit Pacquiao’s weaknesses.
Ricky Hatton, former junior welterweight and welterweight champion
Manny Pacquiao PTS 12 Tim Bradley: I think Pacquiao. Manny will be disappointed with his performance against Floyd and I think that he will want to bounce back strong and put in a good performance and silence the doubters. I think it will go to points with Manny having his hand raised at the end.
Jolene Mizzone, Main Events matchmaker
Tim Bradley PTS 12 Manny Pacquiao: I have changed my opinion on this fight many times, at first felt that Pac won the first two fights so why would this fight be any different, but then took into consideration that Bradley was more active than Pac last year, so my gut is to always go with the more active fighter, plus I think Bradley still has that hunger in his belly and not sure Pac does anymore.
Sergio Mora, former junior middleweight champion and current middleweight contender
When two guys know each other this well, expect something unexpected. Even though Bradley has never been KO’d and Manny hasn’t KO’d anyone in years, I think someone gets stopped due to familiarity. Both are hungry for long overdue KOs. You would have to favor Pacquiao in a stoppage because of power, but like I said, expect the unexpected.
Diego Morilla – XN Sports, HBO.com
Manny Pacquiao PTS 12 Tim Bradley: Pacquiao is the favorite to win this one, as he was the favorite to win the first two meetings. The fact that two judges failed to see him win in one of the bouts is the only reason why we’re being forced to see 24 additional rounds just to make sure that we all know that Manny is better than Tim, when the truth is that this has remained a fact for all this time. As the more aggressive fighter with the higher punch rate, Pacquiao is already the natural pick, but the fact that he is retiring after this fight (a decision I believe he’ll stick to, unlike his fellow former P4P king, Floyd Mayweather) should add the additional motivation needed for him to pull this one out – again.
John J. Raspanti, Maxboxing.com/Doghouseboxing.com/The Ringside Boxing Show
Tim Bradley SD 12 Manny Pacquiao: Though officially tied at one fight apiece, most boxing commentators (this one included) feel that Manny Pacquiao defeated Timothy Bradley twice, not once. So why fight again? That’s easy. Pacquiao likely feels he can subdue Bradley again. But though Freddie Roach says otherwise, the Bradley who shows up on April 9 could be at his best. Why? Because he completely believes in what new trainer Teddy Atlas is telling him. Pacquiao is the favorite, but I have a feeling that Bradley is going to surprise Pacquiao and win by split decision.
Salvador Rodriguez, ESPN Deportes
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: I think Pacquiao will win this fight by unanimous decision … Pacquiao has Bradley’s number and maybe Teddy Atlas could make a different Timothy, but not enough to defeat Manny.
Michael Rosenthal, THE RING Magazine
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: I thought Pacquiao won clear decisions in their first two meetings. I see no reason to believe anything different will happen this time.
Cliff Rold, BoxingScene.com
Manny Pacquiao PTS 12 Tim Bradley: In two fights, Bradley has won about five round total. Maybe Pacquiao finally has enough age and rust to lose to Bradley legitimately. I have to see it because all evidence in two fights says Pacquiao is better, head to head.
Dominic Verdin, RingTV.com
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: Many of us in the boxing world are asking ourselves why a third fight? What does Manny Pacquiao have to prove against a fighter many believe he has defeated twice? And once again the Filipino congressman will show the boxing world why we, the fans of the sweet science, did not need a trilogy between the former champions. Pacquiao by 12-round unanimous decision.
Michael Woods, NYFights.com, RingTV.com, Everlast podcast “TALKBOX” with Michael Woods
Manny Pacquiao PTS 12 Tim Bradley: Admission: My heart and my gut sometimes, oftentimes, get the better of my brain. Twice Pacquiao’s brand of boxing, better volume and hand speed at the top of the list, has bettered Bradley’s. Could be different this time, but has Manny slipped that much? Doubtful. But Bradley is now widely seen as the “good guy” and Manny the judgmental zealot ÔÇª who deserves some comeuppance. I think this one is the closest fight of the three and Bradley, motivated by Atlas, loses legit, by a point or two. Even if maybe Manny deserves comeuppance.
Final tally: 14–8 (and one undecided) in favor of Manny Pacquiao to win Saturday’s welterweight showdown with Tim Bradley.
Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him at www.twitter.com/AnsonWainwright