Just like the first time they met in the ring, Manny Pacquiao is the clear favorite over Timothy Bradley on Saturday. The two are set to fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
While most expect Pacquiao to win, Bradley has a legitimate chance to upset PacMan. He’s already shown he can defeat Pacquiao, even if his split decision victory was surrounded in controversy.
Two years ago, Bradley wasn’t nearly the proven competitor that he is now. After retaining the WBO welterweight title and his perfect record against tough competition, he’s an even more formidable challenger to the 35-year-old. Some respected boxing experts are choosing Bradley to be the winner, including famed trainer and commentator Teddy Atlas.
It won’t be easy for Bradley to get a second victory against one of the top fighters of his generation. Below are three ways Bradley can beat Pacquiao.
Avoid a brawl
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If the fight turns into a slugfest, Bradley could find himself in trouble. In his first fight after beating Pacquiao, Bradley got into a brawl with Ruslan Provodnikov, and barely walked away with the title. Provodnikov knocked Bradley down in the first and last round, and Bradley was only awarded the decision because the referee called the first knockdown a slip. PacMan hits even harder than Provodnikov, so getting into a brawl with him could mean an early exit for Bradley.
Even though Pacquiao got knocked out in his last loss, Bradley’s best chance to win is for the fight to go 12 rounds. If he forces PacMan to chase him, it could set up a late flurry in the last few rounds. Bradley has worked on his defense since the first fight with Pacquiao, and that showed in his recent victory over Juan Manuel Marquez. In Pacquiao-Bradley I, Bradley threw more punches than his opponent, but landed significantly less of his attempts. He needs to be patient, in order to come out on top.
If Bradley is smart, he’ll fight conservatively, focusing on landing body shots in the early rounds. It will be very difficult for Bradley to score an early knockout, but tiring out Pacquiao with body shots will make him more vulnerable to power punches towards the end of the fight. Bradley’s endurance could be a key in leading him to victory over the older Pacquiao.