by L.D. Ramirez
Eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) finally gets a chance to reclaim his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight championship belt from Timothy Bradley (31-0-0, 12 KOs) after nearly 2 years.
Although the controversial fight was eventually ruled as a Pacquiao win by a special 5-judge WBO panel, WBO rules do not allow decisions to be overturned, hence the rematch. Pacquiao and Bradley are each guaranteed respective purses of USD 20 million and 6 million for the bout.
Timothy Bradley feels that this is his chance to convince the boxing world that he deserved his much-maligned June 2012 victory over the mythical Filipino slugger. “Pacquaio hasn’t stopped a foe since Miguel Cotto (November 2009). He’s lost his hunger, his killing instinct,” said the California-born fighter, who is in high spirits after back-to-back decision victories versus Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez.
Pacquao is unfettered by the Desert Storm’s provocations. “Him saying that actually benefits me, it doesn’t discourage me at all,” Pacquiao said. “It inspires me to train harder and focus on the fight.”
The two fighters are nearly identical in terms of height (5 ft 6 1⁄2 in for Pacquaio, 5 ft 6 in for Bradley) and reach (67 in for Pacquaio, 69 in for Bradley). As far as numbers go, what sets them apart the most are their KO records – Manny Pacquiao has a knockout percentage of 69%, whereas Bradley, although undefeated, compares poorly in this respect, with only 39%.
It’s easy to see why Bradley’s camp (supervised by former title contender Joel Díaz) is focusing on winning the match via outboxing, whereas Pacquiao’s camp (helmed by fabled trainer Freddie Roach) is keen on maintaining constant aggression for all 12 rounds. “If a knockout comes, it will come,” said Roach. “But we’re not gonna force it.” Smart words, as the last time Pacquiao got too careless with his swings, Juan Manuel Marquez made him kiss the canvas.
The match, billed as ‘Pacquiao’s most important fight since Oscar dela Hoya’ by promoter Bob Arum, will take place on Saturday, 9 PM EST in the MGM Grand Garden Arena at Las Vegas Nevada. The cheapest tickets run for USD $150 (PHP 6,747.18), but for just BND 3.50, you can watch this must-see slugfest live via pay-per-view at Ren Yi’s Cafeteria!