It’s Pacquiao vs Bradley, lest we forgetBy Sev Sarmenta
Philippine Daily Inquirer
ON JUNE 9, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao will stake his WBO welterweight crown against undefeated Timothy Bradley (28-0) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Since we cannot have the Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight we want, we’re getting the next best thing Pacman’s circle can come up with to appease our Pacquiao appetite.
The Bradley duel also gives Pacquiao a fight to stay battle-ready. As he has declared time and again, he’ll fight anybody his promoter asks him to fight.
It’s Pacquiao versus Bradley but we all seem to be looking beyond this match and crave for that one fight we want to see. We’re assuming Pacquiao will make short work of Bradley and that the unbeaten American is not in the same class as Mayweather or Pacquiao’s other opponents like Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto.
We’re praying that this fight will be over soon and that Mayweather and Pacquiao and all the other people involved will finally agree to make that fight happen.
But let’s all take it one step at a time, as Pacquiao is probably doing now as he sweats it out in the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles.
No matter how improbable, Bradley could be a dangerous opponent with a surprise, just like when Pacquiao stunned Marco Antonio Barrera and the boxing world in 2003.
Bradley has a wicked right hand and attacks like his sobriquet “Desert Storm.” He doesn’t have much of a KO punch, though, and may not be able to hurt Pacquiao.
There’s also the wariness about Bradley’s propensity for headbutting. Whether it’s intentional or not is hard to prove but it seems to be part of the risk when you fight Bradley. He likes to stay inside his opponents and thus the possibility of noggins clashing is there.
In his 2011 battle against erstwhile undefeated Devon Alexander, Bradley accidentally headbutted his opponent at least six times. Alexander had a nasty cut above his left eye. Bradley eked out a technical decision to remain undefeated.
In November that same year, Bradley had a forgettable battle against a listless and over-the-hill Joel Casamayor that was mercifully stopped in the eighth round. A main supporting bout to the Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez third battle at the MGM last year, the match did not bring out the best in Bradley and did not immediately shove him into the radar for Pacquiao’s next fight even if he remained unbeaten.
But here we are, three weeks away from Bradley and Pacquiao climbing into the MGM ring. At best, it will be an action-filled encounter since Bradley likes to mix it up and Pacquiao is a willing dance partner.
For Bradley, this is what HBO boxing anchorman Jim Lampley calls a “signature fight” that every fighter needs in his career.
He will go for the upset and the distinction of stopping Pacquiao’s win streak.
The crowd will get its thrills but will really look ahead to the possibility, no matter how remote, of Pacquiao finally facing Mayweather. It’s the fight that every fan wants to see, where Filipinos want to see something happen.
It’s seeing Pacquiao finally land one, two or even more punches to an opponent who’s been avoiding him because (as Michael Buffer says when he introduces two undefeated fighters) he does not want the “O” in his fight record to go.
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