In his first fight since losing two straight bouts, Manny Pacquiao easily defeated Brandon Rios. On April 12, he’ll face much tougher competition when he steps in the ring with Timothy Bradley.
Though it was a controversial decision, Pacquiao has already lost to Bradley. Two years later, the WBO Welterweight champion is an improved fighter. In October, he defeated Juan Manuel Marquez, who had knocked out Pac-Man in December 2012.
Bradley is not known for his power, and is not a knockout puncher, with just 12 of his 31 victories coming by KO. However, his ability to land several hard blows could give Pacquiao trouble. In his win over Pacquiao, Bradley was outpunched 253-159, according to CompuBox. Pacquiao was more accurate, but Bradley’s flurry of jabs won’t be easy to stop.
If Pacquiao is able to win the rematch, it will likely be a result of him taking advantage of Bradley’s defensive weaknesses. The undefeated boxer has a tendency to drop his left hand too much, leaving him vulnerable. Bradley is well aware of what could end up being his downfall.
“I learned that I have to work on my defense,” Bradley told espn.com, following his win over Ruslan Provodnikov a year ago. “I have to work on my defense. I learned that I am my own worst enemy. Standing there and trading with a big puncher was an idiotic move. I really don't know why I did it, I really don't. I guess I had to do what I had to do.”
Bradley held off Provodnikov, but not before being knocked down in the first and last round. Against Pacquiao, he’s not likely to be as lucky.
In the last year, though, Bradley has continued to mature as a boxer. His defense was improved against Marquez. He’s always shown a lot of heart in the ring, and should be a challenge as the underdog.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misstated the CompuBox numbers of the first Pacquiao-Bradley fight.