by Charles Jay
The good news for those of you who like more than one sport is that Top Rank will not put Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley into the ring with each other until Game 7 of the Miami Heat-Boston Celtics series is over.
Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank
So you’ll get to see LeBron James and the LeBron James of boxing, I suppose, without missing a beat.
Of course, Top Rank helps itself with that move, because they could lose audience in the sports bars and in homes.
I was reading where Freddie Roach doesn’t think Timothy Bradley can win even one round tonight against Manny Pacquiao. He also implied, in an interview with Max Kellerman, that he is going to send Pacquiao out there to take Bradley out early.
Trainers sometimes overestimate their impact on a fight. I’m sure that Pacquiao is going to do whatever he feels comfortable doing early in this fight, and avoid whatever feels comfortable. To me, Bradley figures to be a guy who will show some strength and snap early on, but will lose some of that later, especially as he’ll be in the ring with an opponent who will make him work harder than any previous foe has. That he doesn’t have what it takes to win a round is probably a silly notion, and it is highly doubtful that this represents the kind of overconfidence that is implied.
The Belmont Stakes was run today, and there are some lessons that can be learned from the strategies horse trainers (who DO have a bit more impact) use. In other words, when you have to travel a distance, as the contestants in the 1.5-mile Belmont had to do, you might be well-advised not to shoot the works early, but to stay close to the pace and, if you’re known as a “late runner,” coming on strong down the stretch while others are getting weaker.
It would surprise me if Pacquiao, even at age 33, was the stronger man in the second half of this fight. More to the point, I wouldn’t be shocked if Bradley’s punches had less and less of an effect with each passing round. As we know that Pacquiao has always had a lot of energy in the latter stages, this would be his time to turn things on. Of course, with the possibility of a decision – and I would say that is a distinct possibility – he will have to stay in the lead or close to it, as Bradley exhausts what he has in the way of artillery.
Yes, this is going to be a contest where the closing kick will win. In the Belmont, Union Rags came home first, as one of the two favorites. This will not be a night for the underdog.