Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, believes Saturday night’s opponent, Tim Bradley, to be the perfect remedy to the WBO welterweight beltholder’s last performance, a sub-par majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in November.
“Probably our greatest performance was the fight with [Oscar] De La Hoya,” said Roach, referring to an eighth-round knockout. “That was a dream come true, but with this one, I think we can maybe do the same thing.”
Roach expects the unbeaten, 28-year-old Bradley (28-0, 12 knockouts) to stand and fight Pacquiao, as opposed to the counter-punching Marquez, who has also battled through a draw and a split-decision with Pacquiao.
If Bradley is there to be hit, Roach believes that Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) can deliver his 16th straight win and perhaps his ninth knockout during that time — possibly as sensational as his second-round stoppage of Ricky Hatton.
Bradley scoffs at the notion, however, vowing to neutralize the southpaw fighter’s straight left hand, which represented Hatton’s undoing.
“I think that Manny has to worry about my right hand, and my movement. My movement is going to kill him. It’s going to throw him off. He needs a fighter that stands in front of him, you know,” said Bradley, who meets Pacquiao in an HBO Pay Per View-televised clash at the MGM Grand.
“Most of the guys that he’s faced, they stand right in front of him and they come forward. But when you’ve got a guy that can be right here one minute and be over there the next minute, and weave over here now, it’s a lot more difficult, because he has to find me.”
Pacquiao, who will turns 34 in December, credits faith-based lifestyle changes among the reasons that he no longer gambles and womanizes and that he will be more capable of focusing on Bradley beyond potential distractions that may also stem from his legal problems.
RingTV.com sought the opinions of 26 knowledgeable insiders as to what will transpire on Saturday night.
Steve Carp, Las Vegas Review Journal
I think that Manny knows that he has to look spectacular in the win. Not only to keep the hope of the Floyd Mayweather fight alive, if that were to ever matarialize, but also, for his own confidence.
I think that he knows that he has not fought as well as he can, and while I think that Tim Bradley is going to bring it, and try to match him in terms of volume, I just think that Pacquiao is the better fighter overall.
I still think that Pacquiao can still fight at a high championship level, and I think that he will win. I’m thinking that there will be, unfortunately, some incidents where there will be some head butts.
That could create some cuts and create some controversy. Therefore, I think that Pacquiao is going to win by a TKO in the 10th round.
Abac Cordero, Philippine Star
So it’s going to be a good fight. I see a knockout, but that will be by Manny of course. I see it in the middle rounds. I see it as a knockout in six by Manny.
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Tim Bradley: Timothy Bradley has been coolness personified leading up to this fight. Right time, right place, right person – he says – to dethrone the Filipino idol.
Manny Pacquiao has become a global phenomenon and a media darling for his feats both inside the ring and outside it, where his quasi-messianic desire to eradicate poverty is making him wade into uncharted political waters.
But not so in the ring. And not so in opponent Bradley.The American is tough, neat, compact, and fights well both on the inside and outside. He has impressed me in each outing since he came to England and defeated Junior Witter.
He has power, and compactness. There are those who believe Pacquiao may be on the slide, dead even as a great fighter. But as Mark Twain once said when his obit was printed prematurely: ‘Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’
Who knows what it is in Tagalog? But Pacquiao is due a good performance, if not a fine one, and this could be it. He faces an unbeaten stud, and the Filipino must be wary of Bradley’s head.
But if he can utilize his crab-like lateral movement and combinations, it should be a points victory for Pacquiao. I think if Pacquiao’s footwork is up to scratch, his speed will do for Bradley, who is moving up another level here. Pacquiao to win on points.
Manny Pacquiao UD 12 Tim Bradley: If the Filipino Congressman sheds the distractions, retains the speed and regains a sense of urgency, he figures to win a difficult fight and maybe one close enough to warrant a rematch.
Timothy Bradley might not be outstanding in any single skill set. But he’s very good in all of them. To wit: He finds a way. If the resourceful Bradley takes a cue from Juan Manuel Marquez’ disputed loss in November – and I’m sure he will, he’ll throw change-ups at Pacquiao.
From round-to-round, Pacquiao, seemingly out of his comfort zone, struggled to adjust. It was a tactic that kept him from developing an instinctive rhythm that nobody can stop. Maybe, Pacquiao really was distracted.
Maybe, that explains why he never developed a coherent response. Maybe, maybe. He can’t afford another maybe against Bradley.
Pacquiao knows that, thanks in part to Marquez, who in a controversial loss delivered a timely lesson: Pay attention or pay with a loss.
Manny Pacquiao KO 8 Tim Bradley: I think that Manny Pacquiao wins in the eighth round, if not, rounds five, six or seven. It’s just that the style of Tim Bradley suits Manny Pacquiao just fine.
Manny’s got the power and the speed, and Bradley has not fought on that round. Anything past eight rounds, I don’t think that the fight will go that long.
I do think that there is a lot of truth to the fact that Juan Manuel Marquez is just a horrible matchup for him. I think that we saw that in all three fights. I think that Tim Bradley is just a completely different opponent.
I think that he’s a kid who is hungry and who will make far more money in any fight than he ever has. But I think that it comes down to the fact that, in the end, Manny Pacquiao’s one of the best fighters in the world.
I think that, in the end, Manny Pacquiao wins by a TKO in the eighth. I think that Pacquiao is just a lot more focused and determined this time.
Manny Pacquiao W 12 Tim Bradley: This should be a good fight because Manny Pacquiao hasn’t looked his best in his last two outings and Tim Bradley is a young, highly motivated, strong-minded competitor.
Pacquiao will have his problems early with Bradley and don’t be surprised if the younger man’s head opens up the scar tissue around Pacquiao’s right eye.
However, great fighters almost always find a way to overcome a crisis and such will be the case here with Pacquiao.
Manny Pacquiao KO 10 Tim Bradley: Timothy Bradley has a tremendous amount of heart and will die in the ring. Manny Pacquiao, on the other hand, is the same way, but has more punching power.
It’s going to be a great fight, but I see Pacquiao winning by 10th round knockout.