Pacquiao, Bradley ready to set fire to Las Vegas

Carlos Cinco
Expect Bradley to be overwhelmed by the sheer ferociousness of Manny Pacquiao.

SINGAPORE – Two men, two worlds apart – literally and figuratively – are set to return to sin city.

This superfight will pit blinding speed and unbelievable power against ferocious determination and stonewall durability. Filipino phenom, Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38KO) puts his WBO Welterweight title up for grabs against seriously ripped Tim “Desert Storm” Bradley (28-0, 12KO).

Styles make fights – it’s a famous boxing adage as old as the sport itself. Pitting Pacquiao against Bradley offers an interesting contrast of styles with a yet unclear outcome. Pacquiao is currently listed as the 4-1 betting favorite, odds that do not accurately represent the close separation between the pugilists.

In Manny Pacquiao, we get perhaps the most destructive offensive fighter in the game today. Without delving further into it, as all of us already know, Pacquiao is a two-fisted beast of a boxer who’s chilling knockout power is superceded only by his unparalleled speed.

In Timothy Bradley, we get a rough and rugged powerhouse whose best asset, aside from his hard as rock physique and seemingly unbreakable confidence, could be his unfailing determination. Bradley is focused and fierce with just a little under a week to go until fight night.

Drama and storylines

With a superfight inevitably comes the drama and storylines that go with it. For the most part, Tim Bradley has had a steady training camp, most likely the best he’s had in his career. The man looks solid. If muscles win fights then crown Bradley as the new champ. “The fight is won in the gym,” Bradley says.

Fortunately for fans, it’s not that simple. There is an intricate mix of factors that all add up to provide our conclusion – a formula of blood and violence whose sum is greater than its parts.

That doesn’t take away from Bradley’s amazing preparations for this fight however, as he looks probably as focused and as determined as he’s ever been. And though muscles certainly do not win fights, determination is found at times to be a better asset – and Tim Bradley is full of it.

In typical Pacquiao fashion, his training camp is once again marred by internal disputes – this time between Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach and controversial strength and conditioning coach, Alex Ariza.

Drama is certainly an integral part of Pacquiao’s preparations and camp would seem incomplete without it, hence the growing rift between Roach and Ariza. It would drive lesser fighters to the brink of madness yet it’s this very same madness  that Pacquiao seems to thrive in. He characteristically feeds off the chaos of camp and turns the negative energies into positive aggression.

And no matter how disorienting it could be to juggle a demanding political career, a full-time religious commitment and all the bickering among the people closest to him, Pacquiao seems to always rise above it all.

The storylines have been set into motion, all building up to an exciting climax just a week away.

It’s interesting to note that Tim Bradley is the most lively opponent Pacquiao is to face since he fought David Diaz back in 2008. Bradley sports an undefeated record of 28 wins including victories over Junior Witter, Lamont Peterson, Devon Alexander and Joel Casamayor.

Never knocked out

Bradley doesn’t have much offensive firepower, certainly not enough to match the Pacman’s awesome blend of speed and volume punching. But what Bradley does have is rock solid durability having never lost, let alone been knocked out.

It’s also interesting to note that he was seen practicing a Floyd Mayweather-esque technique – the vaunted shoulder roll – a move he could use to frustrate Pacquiao as its sole purpose is to maximize defense and to create counterpunch opportunities.

Pacquiao is succeptible to counterpunches, or so it seems.

Bradley’s main weapon, his determination, has won him 28 fights so far, even at times when he seemed on the edge of defeat. But determination and heart can only bring you so far. At some point boxing ability comes into play.

With a newfound focus and renewed faith, Manny Pacquiao is a man reborn. Expect Pacquiao to be as sharp as a knife come fight night, maybe the sharpest we have seen him in years.

Pacquiao’s speed and power punching would be too much for Bradley’s hard-headed, unbreakable heart to overcome. And though Bradley seems like a man possessed, a well-oiled machine out to derail the Pacquiao-Express, expect him to be overwhelmed by the sheer ferociousness of Pacquiao.

It’s all talk until the two actually stand face to face inside that ring.

Fighters fight, and that’s the bottomline.

Stay tuned to Rappler as we break down their styles and examine the odds in the coming days. We’ll give you an expert analysis of the fight on Sunday, June 10, and predict a winner. –

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