Former lightweight champion Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini is predicting an easier night for Manny Pacquiao when he faces WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley in their April 12 rematch in Las Vegas, Nev.
The 52-year-old Mancini was in Macau, China to commentate last weekend's fights headlined by two-time gold medalist Zou Shiming for HBO2. Though Bradley was awarded a split-decision in the first fight in 2012, Mancini feels that Pacquiao deserved the verdict and will leave no doubts the second time around.
“Manny will beat Bradley,” said Mancini, who held the WBA 135-pound title from 1982-84. “I thought he beat him the first time but Manny wasn't sharp in that fight. But I think he'll beat him easily. He knows now that he has to, it's probably the thorn in his side.”
Mancini said he has no idea how Bradley won the decision.
“It made no sense. You see, if Bradley was a draw, it makes sense, a big draw for Vegas or for the promoter. Bradley doesn't draw two people, so it made no sense. I really don't have a clue why that happened.”
Both Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 knockouts), of General Santos City, Philippines, and Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs), of Palm Springs, Calif., have taken significant punishments in ensuing fights, with Pacquiao suffering a sixth-round knockout to Juan Manuel Marquez in the fight after Bradley before returning in November of 2013 to decision former WBA lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios.
Bradley followed up the Pacquiao fight with a bruising decision win over Ruslan Provodnikov, where he was repeatedly rocked in the early part of the fight and knocked down in the final round. He followed the Provodnikov fight with a decision win over Marquez in October.
Mancini believes that Bradley has taken more damage in that time period, and that it will make him a softer target for Pacquiao in April.
“I think Manny will beat him easier,” said Mancini. “Even though [Pacquiao] got caught by Marquez, anybody can get caught. That's just part of the game.
“For Bradley, the last couple of fights, the fight with Provodnikov, those are fights that are hard to come back from. Marquez was a difficult fight even though he won. Bradley may be ripe for the taking.”