manny pacquiao timothy bradley rematch

Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) and Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) are set to collide in a long-awaited rematch this Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Their first controversial fight ended in a split decision criticized across the boxing world as evidence of boxing itself being a corrupt sport.

Even before the bell that began that June 9, 2012 bout, Bradley came to a press conference for the event with a giant ticket stub and a poster depicting the rematch as set in stone for November of the same year.

It was an arrogant way of predicting he would win the fight, and in hindsight it would be seen by many critics as proof that the whole affair was fixed from the start.

Pacquiao would not get that immediate rematch proposed even before the fight. He was supposed to win that first fight, and he actually appeared to win very handily.

The frustration was palpable, and the motivation for Top Rank's Bob Arum to fix such a fight was painfully obvious. Both Bradley and Pacquiao were part of his own stable, so a rematch would literally double his money.

Pacquiao's next opponent would be a familiar one, but not a fighter under Arum's control.

Talk of the rematch eventually faded, and Pacquiao went on to battle Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs), who he was most likely to face next even if the judges didn't screw up so badly in the Bradley bout's scoring.

The two have become famous as much for fighting other superstars as they have for fighting each other over the years.

This time around, Marquez didn't wait for the judges to decide the contest, knocking the Fillipino phenom out for just the third time ever in professional competition (Pacquiao's last KO loss was in 1999).

Much like the still lingering buildup to a potential Pacquiao-Mayweather bout where both fighters battled common opponents, Marquez would later fight Bradley, too. Perhaps it was Arum's way of trying to egg on the rematch between his two best fighters.

Bradley secured a narrow split decision victory over Marquez last October, and Pacquiao put a stop to the first losing streak of his career with a dominant November 2013 win over Brandon Rios.

The stage was set for Pacquiao to attempt to reclaim his old WBO Welterweight Title.

Common opponent analysis really doesn't help in predicting who will win this rematch. Both fighters will have so much to prove this time out with so much to gain and so much to lose. It's guaranteed to be a different fight with both men bringing a strategy and mindset that will be very unique.

Unfortunately for Bradley, he never acknowledged his luck in securing the win after the first bout. Even as he sat in a wheelchair at post-fight press conferences, he maintained he beat Pacquiao despite having two bad wheels through much of the fight.

He arrived home to a hero's welcome and took the controversy in stride. He remained undefeated and displayed his new belt like a badge of courage.

It would have been much more courageous for him to admit he was human and that he really did lose that fight. Instead, he's going into this fight with a false sense of security, likely thinking a lack of injury in the rematch will mean an easy victory.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao and his world class trainer Freddie Roach know that the rematch will take tremendous energy, skill and heart to win.

There's likely more emphasis than ever on power in Pacquiao's latest training camp, as both trainer and fighter would rather avoid another judging controversy if possible.

Even if the fight does go to the judges again, Pacquiao must be going into the bout knowing he will have to win more convincingly this time if he has any hope of reclaiming his belt.

Though Pacquiao has never really been the one standing in the way of a so-called "superfight" with Floyd Mayweather, Jr., he could re-animate that whole discussion with a knockout of Bradley.

As a matter of sheer strategy and technique, Pacquiao had Bradley's number throughout much of the first bout, winning as many as 11 of the 12 rounds according to many boxing pundits.

Still, it's been a long time since Pacquiao's last knockout win (over Miguel Cotto) in November of 2009. That result marked the fourth straight fight Pacquiao won by way of a stoppage.

He will have to recapture that killer instinct to both beat Bradley and generate more interest in the Mayweather fight.

Bradley suffered an incredible amount of punishment in his fight with Ruslan Provodnikov a little over a year ago, getting off the canvas in the final round to secure a narrow victory in what would later be named "Fight of the Year."

Pacquiao has nearly three times the professional experience Provodnikov had going into that Bradley bout, and he has the potential to give Bradley three times the beating Provodnikov gave him.

He may have lost a step when it comes to his power, but only because he's placed more emphasis on speed and punch output in his recent victories.

This fight is different. This fight is personal. Pacquiao already knows he has what it takes to beat Bradley, and he will prove that Saturday night.

Check the next slide for our prediction...


Manny Pacquiao vs Timothy Bradley Rematch: Who Wins?

Pacquiao will pepper Bradley with quick, stinging jabs throughout the first half of the fight to set up his power punches and combinations.

He will be quicker on the draw and more accurate with his shots, displaying more head movement than usual to avoid Bradley's power punches. As the seventh round progresses, Bradley will be caught with some vicious hooks that wobble him.

Pacquiao will move in and knock him to the canvas at the end of the round. Bradley will regain his composure before the bell, but he'll go into the next round in desperation mode.

Pacquiao will chase him down and dispatch him for good late in the eighth.

Pacquiao wins


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