When Manny Pacquiao stepped in the ring with Timothy Bradley in June 2012, he was considered a heavy favorite. As the boxers get ready for their rematch, it’s much more difficult to predict which one will come out on top.
Nearly two years ago, Bradley upset Pacquiao in a controversial split decision. Most experts ruled the fight in Pac-Man’s favor, but judges CJ Ross and Duane Ford scored the bout 115-113, in favor of Bradley.
Now, the boxers are at two very different points in their career. Bradley has established himself, retaining the WBO welterweight title with wins over Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao is looking return to the top of the sport, following a unanimous decision over Brandon Rios.
Which boxer has the edge in Pacquiao-Bradley II?
Bradley is not a natural power puncher or a brawler, but that’s what makes him unique. He can adjust to his opponent’s strengths and deliver a strong uppercut or hook when needed. He is not a big puncher, but hits hard enough to be dangerous when he finds an opening. Pacquiao, on the other hand, is very capable of landing a very hard punches which are enough to win him rounds. When he leans in, Pacquiao is an effective hard puncher with both hands as he showed in a dominant effort over Brandon Rios. Power punching is what makes Pacquiao one of the best boxers of his generation.
Whoever has the more effecient jab could determine who wins the bout. Bradley’s jab is serviceable, but he often doesn’t use it right or enough. However, Bradley, who has a two-inch reach advantage over Pacquiao, used it effectively against Juan Manuel Marquez, and in the late rounds against Pacquiao in their first fight. Freddie Roach has pleaded with Pacquiao to use his under-rated jab more often to set up his power shots. Pacquiao tends to want to brawl, and not be a patient boxer, but he can make his jab a real weapon whenever he chooses to.
On more than one occasion, Bradley has slipped in a fight and went down, showing perhaps a lack of balance. However, he is capable of taking a hard punch as well as any welterweight. Provodnikov delivered a collection of sharp right hands in the first six rounds of their fight and in Round 12, yet Bradley somehow survived. Pacquiao has taken a lot of hard hits over his career, and aside from a surprise knockout punch from Marquez in 2012, he has managed to avoid hitting the mat. Pacquiao is tough as nails, and is capable of enduring power shots for much of the fight.
Edge: Slightly to Bradley