Photo by Ray Flores
Handicapping the Pacquiao- Bradley Rematch
By Igor Frank
“There is only one true test and that’s the Sports books in Nevada. And those Sports books have this fight as close to the even money fight as possible,” said Top Rank’s boss, Bob Arum announcing Pacquiao Bradley rematch from the podium at the press conference held in Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon: “So the people who really stand to profit or loose based on the outcome of the fight have made this a virtual pick em fight.
The fight will be held April 12th at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas. Actually Manny Pacquiao is two to one favorite according to 5Dimes, a popular on line Sports book, but that is a pretty close odds for boxing.
With Bradley’s WBO welterweight title and one of the top spots on a mythical pound for pound list on the line Pacquiao- Bradley rematch will be televised live by HBO pay-per-view. Tim Bradley won their first encounter in June of 2012 via a controversial split decision.
“It’s a fascinating fight,” said Ring Magazine’s Doug Fisher. “Because Tim Bradley won the first fight but most people thought he lost, so he comes in with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove.”
“We both have something to prove for this fight,” said Pacquiao, 35 whose career went downhill after controversial decision loss to Bradley. Pacquiao did seem to rebound a bit after a dominating performance over Brandon Rios last year. But did we see the prime Manny Pacquiao or is the regal warrior on the decline? And if Pacquiao thought that he beat Bradley convincingly the first time around just like the rest of the world did, why would he want to fight the young lion on the rise again?
“To me you beat Bradley if you are pound for pound,” explained Doug Fisher:” If Pacquiao beats Bradley and gets a decision he is back up where he used to be.”
Few gave Bradley a chance in their first encounter and even fewer thought that he actually won the fight. In fact this controversial victory gave young undefeated champion more grief than he could ever imagine. But time heals all wounds and after a spectacular 2013 where Timothy edged Russlan Provodnikov in a Fight of the Year and out boxed master boxer, Juan Manuel Marquez. Bradley seems to have come to terms with first Pacquiao fight.
“I thought the outcome was fair,” said Bradley:” I thought that the fight could have gone either way. This time around I need to make this win more decisive in people’s eyes and hopefully I’ll get the credit after beating Manny Pacquiao for the second time.” WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley spoke with renewed confidence. With last two fights he has earned the respect that eluded him after Pacquiao fiasco.
“I respect Bradley,” said Pacquiao:” He is a nice guy. He also improved a lot his boxing ability since last fight that we had. He proved that in Marquez fight and Russlan fight.” What a difference twenty-one months makes. Last time around Bradley was virtually unknown aside from hardcore boxing fans and Pacquiao was a definitive favorite. This time around the betting odds are much closer.
“I see it as even money fight,” continued Doug Fisher:” I favor Tim Bradley. He is the younger fresher fighter.”
Doug Fisher is not alone in his assessment. Respected veteran scribe David Avila picked Bradley to stay undefeated.
Of course, by most accounts Manny Pacquiao dominated the first fight. Can he turn back the clock and do it again and get the nod from the judges?
“Only God knows what’s going to happen,” announced Pacquiao from the podium. “I assure that Manny Pacquiao aggressiveness and the young Manny Pacquiao you will see April 12th.”