Pacquiao poised for one last KO vs. Bradley?
All of the ingredients – another massive pay-per-view spectacle, a seemingly vulnerable opponent, the glitz of MGM Grand – are in place for Manny Pacquiao to enjoy a perfect swan song from boxing. Whether he’ll choose to bow out of the sport after tonight, though, remains up in the air.
In any event, the hotly anticipated third bout between Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley begins at roughly 11 p.m. ET in Las Vegas. Oddsmakers at online sports book Bovada.lv give the slight edge to “Pac-Man,” who holds odds of -200 to capture his 58th professional win. Bradley, meanwhile, enters with a money line of +160 to score his second victory in five months.
Pacquiao, 37, labored throughout last May’s fight with Floyd Mayweather. Since then, the southpaw has alternately handled political duties in his native Phillippines and rehabbed a shoulder tear. The former champion’s running for Senate next month, and yet no one in the Pacquiao camp seems willing to call this the final stand in the ring.
Bradley couldn’t care less about his foe’s future civic service – he merely wants to build on November’s dominant showing against Brandon Rios. The 32-year-old actually boasts an undefeated record since falling to Pacquiao in 2014, even though critics quickly point to a lack of quality competition.
If Bradley wants to retain the welterweight belt, he must outfox Pacquiao for 12 rounds. Trainer Teddy Atlas’ strategy will likely mirror the one employed by the California native back in 2012, when these two combatants met for the first time. Bradley won a highly controversial decision then, using speed and technique to stave off Pacquiao’s powerful left hand.
Flash forward almost four years. Pacquiao’s older, and probably possesses diminished strength. Bradley still wants no part of a slugfest, so he’ll bob and weave for as long as it takes. Look for another tight one on the scorecards and little sense of finality.
SATURDAY BOXING FREE PICK: OVER 10.5 ROUNDS