Bradley and Pacquiao tango. Who will have the last bragging rights?
Will Manny Pacquiao risk having the judges call the fight again?
Whenever Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions conducts a Press Conference announcing a fight the event itself actually becomes a media circus.
Thursday, February 6, 2014 at the New World Stages, Off-Broadway Theatre in Manhattan, it wasn’t any different. It was like opening night of a hit Broadway Show. Local and International Media as well as many Filipino Pacquiao fans were present in a standing-room-only elbow to elbow atmosphere.
Bob Arum, exuberant from the success of his mega fight promotion in Macao, China, November 24, where Pacquiao defeated Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios, has now presented us with perhaps what looks like the fight of the year.
He’s matched “PacMan” Pacquiao against Timothy “Dessert Storm” Bradley. According to Arum 70% of the tickets have already been sold.
It’s a long awaited re-match due to the controversy generated by a questionable decision favoring Bradley when in actuality Pacquiao was the clear winner of the first fight.
That loss ended Pacqiuao’s 6 -year, 15- fight winning streak.
That fight, on June 9, 2012, caused such an uproar with charges of corruption that there were demands to investigate the judges and force a re-match immediately, but neither occurred.
Bradley remained undefeated but was viciously victimized by insults and death threats due to his “victory.”
The drama continued. On December 8, 2012, Pacquiao fought Juan Manuel Marquez his nemeses a 4th time. He was shockingly knocked out in the 6th round. Bradley in turn, fought Ruslan Provodnikov the following year on March 16, 2013, and barely escaped with his life.
He again “won” a decision in that fight as Provodnikov battered Bradley like a “piñata” for 12 rounds. although Bradley fought back bravely while also suffering a knockdown in the 12th and final round. This fight was named “Fight of the Year”, because it was so brutal.
Timothy Bradley that same year then defended his W.B.O. 147 Pound Crown against Marquez, who had knocked out Pacquiao; Bradley beat Marquez in a unanimous decision. The following year, 2013, Manny Pacquiao defeated Bam Bam Rios. It’s set up the Bradley vs. Pacquiao re-match which will be held at the M.G.M. Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, April 12, 2014.
Although many questions arose about their health –as a result of Bradley’s brutal fight with Provodnikov and Pacquiao’s own brutal knockout loss to Marquez– all concerns seemed to dissipate when both scored impressive victories in their subsequent fights.
I personally questioned whether they were fully recovered since in their last fights against the different opponents both fought very tentatively and cautiously avoiding any extended fistic exchanges. Both also stayed out of harm’s way preferring to counter-punch effectively.
Perhaps running out of quality opponents to challenge, or maybe running out of excuses not to fight each other again, these 2 ring warriors will now try to prove who is better, who has recovered fully, and who will be the last man standing.
Bradley, W.B.O. 147 Pound Champion, 31-0, 12 k.o.’s, who started fighting at the age of 10, and was an outstanding amateur with a record of 140 fights, opened the doors to criticism by claiming that Manny Pacquiao was not the same fierce warrior he once was because he now appears to have lost his “finishing power killer instinct”, and looked “soft” and beatable.
Pacquiao, 55-5-2, 38 knockouts, former 8 times world champion in 10 weight levels in 18 categories, who started fighting at age 14, and as amateur had a 60-4 record, with his forever impish smile, responded that “yes” he was very “kind” to his opponents but never soft.
On April 12th Bradley will find out if Manny is indeed “soft.”
Who will win this long awaited fight is really anyone’s guess? My readers know I am always concerned about the injuries from previous fights and the long-lasting destructive toll of a steady pounding on one’s body and head.
I do see Manny Pacquiao taking the initiative in this fight since his recovery and return to form was scrutinized more than Bradley’s. I see Bradley staying out of harm’s way, just counter-punching as he did in the Marquez fight until an opportunity to attack Pacquiao presents itself.
At this juncture I am hopefully assuming that the medical professionals assigned to oversee the fighter’s health and well-being as they train will be very vigilant; we want to avoid a repetition of the Magomed Abdusalamov ring tragedy which left him comatose long-term, and the 2 recent fatal ring incidents.
Top Rank’s entire fight card that night will be world championship matchups with an International flavor.
In the semi-final Raymundo Beltran, 28-6, 17 knockouts, Sinaloa, Mexico will defend his N.A.B.O. Lightweight Crown against Rocky Martinez, 27-2, 18 k.o.’s former W.B.O. Super Featherweight Champion from Vega Baja, Puerto Rico.
Khabib Allakhverdiev, 19-0, 9 knockouts, W.B.A. Super lightweight Champion, Derbent, Russia, will be challenged by Jessie Vargas, 23-0, 9 k.o.’s, Las Vegas, Nevada, and in the opening fight also a title fight, Bryan Vazquez, 32-1, 17 knockouts, San Jose, Costa Rica, will fight Jose Felix, 26-0, 21 k.o.’s, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico, for the vacant W.B.A. Interim Super Featherweight Title.
I’m inviting my readers here on The Black Star News to pick a winner of the Pacquiao vs. Bradley fight and post their analyses in the comments section below.
Today, I close on a Baseball note:
Yankees 3rd Baseman Alex Rodriguez who disenfranchised many fans, especially our impressionable youth for years, denying human growth hormones and steroids usage, finally decided to man-up and drop his bogus lawsuit against MLB, agreed not to show up for Spring Training, and take his well- deserved punishment of one year; the entire 2014 baseball season.
Rodriguez’s decision caused a huge sigh of relief by many especially the New York Yankees organization.
Maybe in 2015 he can start to redeem himself, and save his already tarnished baseball career.
He was a sure-fire first ballot Hall of Famer. The key word here is “was”.
What a pity.