Pacquiao offers Bradley second chance at defining the Desert Storm legacy

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(by Stephen Lynch) Bereft of options, Manny Pacquiao is about to repeat the same mistake he made in 2012 in challenging Timothy Bradley to a rematch. Sympathetic judges, debilitating injuries or one concussive punch from the Pacman are the only ways he can win this second fight. Giving a “thinking fighter” like Bradley a second opportunity to figure you out is like going to rob the same bank you did last week using the exact same method, the exact same crew and even wearing the same outfits and disguises.

All credit to Filipino’s national hero for taking on this difficult assignment again – even though this time around he is left with a far shorter list of viable opponents – but it is a fight he simply can’t win. If it goes the distance like the first bout, the commentariat wisdom is that Bradley will have thoroughly outboxed Pacquiao. Having worked out the angles, timed the incoming punches, limited his prior mistakes and made the adjustments to counter and strike at the legendary southpaw, Bradley will deconstruct Pacquiao in similar fashion to Juan Manuel Marquez over four engrossing fights.

Controversial scoring aside, “Desert Storm” Bradley recovered from a twisted right ankle and a fractured left foot to fight through the pain barrier and see out the rest of the fight on his feet. Again, while most thought Pacquiao won by at least two or three rounds (including me at first viewing) – all three judges gave the American round seven and two of the three handed him the last three rounds of the bout. This was a competitive, close fight folks – ignore the hyperbole from HBO’s biased team of Lampley and Merchant that night – Emmanuel Steward was the only one calling the action down the middle and watching without rose-tinted spectacles.

Gamblers Advisory’s Richard Dwyer sets out two broad types of fighter in boxing; “Pattern” fighters such as Wladimir Klitschko, Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao contrasted with “Adaptive-reactive” fighters who count Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins and Andre Ward among their class. Tim Bradley belongs to the latter grouping. He is also one of those boxers, like Danny Garcia, who has no obvious exceptional quality or attribute, but is very able across a wide range of competences including foot speed, hand speed, counterpunching, combinations, inside fighting skill, punch resistance, ring generalship and IQ.

If the elusive Mayweather-Pacquiao fight wasn’t killed off when Bradley won the split decision in April 2012 then I expect it to be on April 12 2014 when Bradley wins a much wider decision. Although Pacquiao is 35 years old now, power is the last thing to leave an aging boxer, and he has a decent puncher’s chance in whatever fight he’s in. The only question is how much Desert Storm will engage with and trade with Pacman if the bullets start flying. The WBO champion has said he’d be willing to have a shootout, no doubt as a show of bravado if not a misdirecting tactic. Freddie Roach doesn’t expect such brawling fireworks from the unbeaten Californian, telling reporters they are planning to cut off the ring and aggressively back Bradley into a corner. Roach added that “once he gets hit he’ll fight back and he’ll become his old self.” Is this archetypal Tim Bradley the same who got into the trenches with Ruslan Provodnikov in the Fight of the Year? Or the more conservative outfoxing and outsmarting of the wily Juan Manuel Marquez?

Tim Bradley already has a knowledge base on fighting Pacquiao, 12 rounds at that, after surviving the stormy early rounds and appearing to begin solving the Pacquiao puzzle. He also admitted in the press conference last week to having studied his foe “forever.” But if in some parallel universe Pacquiao was to fight Floyd Mayweather, a notoriously slow-starter, he’d surely have a greater chance of stopping the unbeaten RING/WBC champion. Zab Judah, Ricky Hatton and Shane Mosley all had their greatest success against Floyd in the earlier rounds – such is the small window of opportunity that presents itself to his opponents. This window closes almost as soon as it opens, once Mayweather recognises the chink in his armour and adapts his game to conceal it again like a shape-shifting chameleon.

Bradley is a tough competitor, an exemplary athlete, a dangerous opponent and fiendishly difficult to beat the first time, never mind having to do it a second time. To borrow another analogy from Dwyer; if you’re in the ring with a safe-cracker – the last thing you want to do is to give them your combination. “The Fighting Congressman” is handing such information to Tim Bradley, whose determination will drive him to take full advantage of the blueprint.

Keen to prove it wasn’t a fluke the first time around, Bradley seeks an exclamation mark to his Pacquiao predicament. Speaking often of the chip on his shoulder sustained by his critics, and how he uses these to motivate himself to train “like an animal” – Bradley is on a mission to prove us all wrong. A clear victory here would further enhance his formidable legacy, and would see him replace his Top Rank stablemate as the public’s crowned challenger to Mayweather’s throne. But there is a real sense that their lanes will not cross, in the same way Pacquiao’s never did. Promoter politics and network disputes notwithstanding, boxing historians will look back on this period and lament the failure of the “Mayweather-Pacquiao-Bradley” Era to materialize. We have the next best thing to look forward to on April 12.

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16 Responses to "Pacquiao offers Bradley second chance at defining the Desert Storm legacy"
  1. artjd says:

    The author seems to be dying to blurt out that Bradley won the first fight but just don’t have both the guts and conviction to say so. I can emphatize with him, I can feel what’s going on in his head, poor boy!

  2. ronnie says:

    there were three blind mice during the first encounter between brad and pac. and here’s another blind

  3. LILO says:

    Bradley lost the first fight rose tinted glasses or not, he clearly lost it by a wide margin but the judges gave it to him, he was the challenger and he did not challenge enough he fought only to survive and not win. He injured his legs in the first fight because he kept on running instead of fighting.

  4. dekahana says:

    Let’s be real. Bradley didn’t figure out Pacquiao in the first fight. As a matter of fact, he LOST CONVINCINGLY. That is the majority opinion. And Bradley would not figure out Pacquiao in the second fight either. He would LOSE again, perhaps by KO. Does any one in his right mind think Pacquiao would fight Bradley the same way he did the first fight? Pacquiao himself said he took Bradley for granted in the first fight; no way he’s making the same mistake twice. If Bradley wins, then all props to him. But I’m not betting on it!

  5. Jerry Lynch (not related to the writer) says:

    The first round will be a feeling out round and could go either way as a result. After that Pacman will systematically destroy Bradley if he does not knock him out. Nobody (obviously) knows what it will take to KO Bradley but we may just find out. Pacman knows he has lost the public trust with his ‘take it easy on the other guy’ attitude lately and I expect a return to the killer Pacman of old. Bradley is an outstanding fighter and other than Mayweather ,or possibly Mikey Garcia, along with Pacman, not many fighters have much of a chance with him.

  6. Barok says:

    Robbing a bank with the same method and disguise is not going to work. As soon as the employees see the same outfit, they will press the panic button and Tim will panic and run. He is going to get caught. As soon as Da Manny recognizes the same method, he will press the panic button and Tim would n’t know what to do. Tim will be confused, run and KABOOM the KO. No more controversy with the judges like what Juan did to Manny.

  7. Glen says:

    I wish luck to Tim Bradley’s team…They are going to need it…..

  8. benjamin says:

    is it obvious? this writer is pro bradley. the only way to outbox pacman this time is to employ the same tactics he used from “dinamita” marquez. hit and run. it’s the system commonly used by coward boxers like the “TBE” maynever. run like a chicken when sensing danger.

  9. mylven pontillas says:

    To the author :
    KEEP DREAMIN’ MAN…..

  10. Were you watching the fight?it sounds that your pre-conditionning our mind.Full of ambition less ammunition…

  11. Stephen Lynch says:

    Very straightforward point I’m making here: Bradley picked up two separate injuries in the first four rounds – and fought back to go the distance with a big puncher. Pacquiao didn’t finish him off and took his foot off the gas in the championship rounds. I scored the fight for Pacquiao watching it live but having watched it back a couple of times it’s much closer than the majority think – try it without the commentary.

    Pacquiao didn’t KO TB the first time so there’s lesser chance of him doing so this time against a motivated & fully fit Bradley with a point to prove. Should be a great fight, not discounting Pacquiao completely but I see no way Bradley allows MP to outbox him.

    The public narrative is usually in favour of Pacquiao so anything remotely questioning that is going to sound pro-Bradley.

    • pedro penduko says:

      stephen lynch,,

      you said you watch the fight over and over again… tell me the 7 rounds that bradley dominated the pacman? show the highlight if you can do one…the punch stats by both fighters doesn’t lie,, and where the crap you will get the additional punch made by bradley every rounds huh.. pacquaio didnt finish him off and took his foot off the gas in championship rounds doesnt mean he is loosing anyway,,

  12. AWAKINMO says:

    I THINK THE AUTHOR IS RIGHT BRADLEY WILL OUTMATCHED PACMAN…HEY HOLD ON WAKE HIM UP I THINK HES STILL DREAMING …LOL WAKE UP YOW YOU CAN PUT JOEL DIAZ TOO IN THE RING IF YOU WANT THEY CANT BEAT PACMAN

  13. richie says:

    The author is obviously a Bradley fan…and maybe a blind Niggah himself

  14. ton ton says:

    poor author he must be paid for writing this article,