By Sean Crose
So here we are, fight week. And a huge, relevant fight it’s going to be. Timothy Bradley is out to prove he really, truly, is a better fighter than Manny Pacquiao. As for Pacquiao, he’s out to prove he’s still The Man, a thrilling, domineering force of nature. Here, in short, is a bout where a lot – a whole lot – is at stake. Exciting stuff.
Of course, in less than a month from now, it will be fight week once again. Marcos Maidana will be out to do something no one thinks he can do – beat Floyd Mayweather. And Mayweather will be out to do…what, exactly? Beat Maidana? Sure. But few, if any, think that will be a difficult task. What else might Mayweather be going out to prove, then?
That’s hard to tell. And that’s what makes the upcoming Bradley-Pacquiao fight far more interesting than Mayweather’s upcoming meeting with Maidana in May. Sure, most believe Bradley actually lost to Pacquiao the first time, but the guy’s gone one to win a war with Ruslan Provodnikov before beating no less an icon than Juan Manuel Marquez, (a man who, by the way, literally put Pacquiao to sleep with a single punch).
Just look at Bradley’s eyes in pre-fight interviews. They’re on fire. He’s actually reminiscent of Mavin Hagler in the lead up to his 1985 war with Tommy Hearns. While it’s true the man they call Desert Storm is likely planning to engage Pacquiao in a cerebral manner on April 12th, there’s something about Bradley’s demeanor lately which suggests the best laid plans may indeed go out the window. All that criticism, all that abuse from fans, may make it too hard for Bradley to resist attacking the legend from the Philippians once they’re face to face in the ring.
And Pacquiao? Forget about it. The guy’s going out there to beat Bradley up, plain and simple. If PacMan has his way this Saturday, Bradley’s face will be a speed bag. The point here is that Bradley is not only capable of being a warrior, but that Manny Pacquiao is absolutely incapable of not being one. And that, boxing fans, makes for an interesting evening.
Yet, unlike Bradley, Floyd Mayweather shows little interest at all in becoming a warrior. The man is simply content to let his skill set carry the day. And, in case you’re wondering, that’s a good thing. No, it’s a great thing. It’s pretty much why the 37 year old Mayweather is able to fight like he’s 26. The man has honed his craft to the point where he can win while virtually taking no risks in the ring. That’s extraordinary. Actually, it may be unheard of. But it can also be uninteresting if Money isn’t in with the right opponent.
And there aren’t many people out there who feel Maidana is the right opponent to make Mayweather interesting at this point. The big question leading up to Bradley-Pacquiao is “who will win?” The big question leading up to Mayweather-Maidana is “can Maidana actually make it exciting?” Seeing as how both fights will cost fans a small fortune to watch, which one do you feel is worth the investment?
By the way, that question isn’t my way of leading fans to one fight over another. Maidana may shock the world on May 3d, after all, and countless individuals would love to see boxing history made live. My point is simply to put the focus on ways fighters and promoters try to get people’s hard earned money. The forces behind Bradley-Pacquiao are putting up a very interesting matchup. The forces behind Mayweather-Maidana are putting up the possibility of an unlikely event occurring. And that’s the tale of these two pay per views.
At least for now.