by Charles Jay
Manny Pacquiao struggled mightily with Juan Manual Marquez in his last fight. And of course, that brought up concerns from people who thought he may have been invincible.
Yeah, there’s some foundation for that concern, I guess. After all, he’s getting older, and as I heard somebody say recently, “Father Time is undefeated.” Of course, Floyd Mayweather didn’t look he was at his career best when he fought Miguel Cotto either.
Photo: Chris Farina/ Top Rank
There’s that feeling in some boxing circles that PacMan could be rather vulnerable when he faces Timothy Bradley on June 9.
This is legitimately a good fight, because Bradley isn’t going to back down, and he though he hasn’t been in with a lot of great opponents, he still knows some tricks that Pacquiao is going to be on the lookout for.
He’s not without credentials, he’s unbeaten, he’s fresh, energetic, athletic, and he’s got some savvy.
But if you’re giving Bradley a big chance because you’re counting on Pacquiao being “over the hill” on the basis of his life-and-death against Marquez, you could be making a mistake.
Remember that it was the third fight between the two, and all three encounters demonstrated that Marquez’s style was just a pain in the ass for Pacquiao to solve.
That’s just the way it is in boxing. Styles DO make fights, and that is why it’s not always reliable to go with the concept of making comparisons based on what happened against the same opponent. I mean, would you make a judgment about prospective Mayweather-Pacquiao fight simply based on their respective performances against Marquez?
You really couldn’t. Or at least you shouldn’t.
Pacquiao is a tough nut to crack, and you don’t have to be the beneficiary of higher education to understand that. I firmly believe that to beat him you are going to have to confound him or frustrate him. Recent opponents have not been able to do either of those things, except for Marquez, who to use the cliche, is a grizzled veteran.
Marquez’s careful, compact, economical, tight defensive approach served to frustrate Pacquiao. I don’t know that I would classify Bradley as a standard boxer. But at the same time, I don’t know if there is enough unorthodoxy there to throw Pacquiao off.
Does Bradley have enough to confound PacMan? Is there something he has that is going to be so difficult to figure out?
Maybe that is one of the things this fight is going to hinge on. We know that both of these guys are talented. We realize that they both know their way around a ring. But the question is, who’s going out who?
Sure, Bradley took care of business impressively in his last two fights against Devon Alexander and Joel Casamayor. But if he thinks that what he did against THOSE southpaws is going to give him any clues as to what to do against THIS southpaw, he’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise.
While Bradley can handle himself, he’s going to encounter the same thing most Pacquiao opponents have, which is to say, something they have never seen before. And not for nothing, but the aforementioned Marquez, who has now had more experience than anyone against Pacquiao’s style, hadn’t seen it before May 8, 2004, but after three minutes (and three knockdowns) he was thinking he may have seen quite enough. It was only after he had weathered the storm that he was able to settle down to becoming, as we mentioned, a pain in the ass.
So perhaps before we even continue talking about how Pacquiao is going to deal with what Bradley has to offer, let’s see if Bradley, who is a relative newcomer to the welterweight class, can navigate his way through the early stages without giving away any and all advantage.