by Charles Jay
I am perfectly willing to concede that there is not much chance that Timothy Bradley will be intimidated when he steps into the ring with Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Sure, this is the biggest “stage” he has ever appeared on, but it’s not like he hasn’t been in his share of fights that were meaningful.
Photo: Chris Farina/ Top Rank
I am not overly concerned about him being able to handle himself, at least for a while. He’s enough of a veteran to do that.
The main concern I would have about him concerns his power, and how the lack of it might prevent him from going the entire distance.
Bradley seems like a crisp enough puncher early in fights. In fact, in a previous piece, we made reference to his performance against Lamont Peterson, where he had his man hurt a few times in the first few rounds. And that straight right hand is his is sneaky good. But as we mentioned, he doesn’t throw it enough. He just naturally throws punches that come form the side, rather than straight down the pike.
Bradley has a poor knockout record, with just twelve early exits. As you’ve watched his fights on television, you’ve heard the announcers mention that he is actually a better puncher than that.
That may be true, to a certain extent, but ONLY to a certain extent. Hey look – the numbers can’t be telling a total lie; and the numbers tell us that he has registered a KO or TKO against just one opponent after the sixth round. That opponent was 40-year-old Joel Casamayor, who was completely shot and basically a present from Top Rank for signing a promotional deal.
I have studied fights like those against Peterson and Devon Alexander, which represented one of Bradley’s better wins, even though the technical decision was hardly a satisfying result for fans.
One thing that you notice is that when Bradley goes deep into a fight, not only does he revert to even wider punching, but he also loses a little zip in those blows.
A lot of guys can get away with that, of course, but it can be fatal when you’re at the championship level with the wrong opponent in front of you.
Manny Pacquiao is the wrong opponent.
Hey, I wouldn’t deny that the possibility may exist for someone to come along and box circles around Pacquiao. But I don’t think Bradley is going to be that guy.
As we know with Pacquiao, he’s got a motor that is going to run all night, and he is coming straight at his opponent. In other words, he’s going to be right in Bradley’s face.
What is Bradley going to do?
Can he finesse his way through the whole thing? I doubt it. He may not be a power puncher, but by the same token, he is not really a slick boxer how is going to parry and frustrate a foe all night with his bag of tricks.
In boxing, when you have an opponent who is used to implementing quite a bit of effective aggressiveness, you simply have to be able to do something to hold him off. Otherwise, he’s going to come and come with a certain degree of impunity.
Since I don’t count on Bradley being able to knock out Pacquiao early, no matter how crisp he throws his punches, and I don’t think the array of body shots that broke down Casamayor are going to have the same effect on Saturday, I seriously question whether Bradley has enough artillery late in the fight, when Pacquiao is still going to be strong.
And if he doesn’t, Manny’s walking right through, at which point it becomes a matter of chipping away until the job is done.
If Pacquiao winds up scoring a late-round TKO, that might be how and why it happens.
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