Manny Pacquiao vs. Tim Bradley is a great fight that will take place this weekend (June 9, 2012) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Both fighters are ranked on The Ring's top-10 pound-for-pound list. Bradley is unbeaten and Pacquiao has been on nothing short of a rampage since the 21st Century started. "Desert Storm" isn't a lights-out puncher, but he's got the wits and skills to give "Pac Man" all sorts of trouble.
This is literally the first Pacquiao fight since becoming a fan a long time ago that I consider his defeat a legitimate possibility.
It's a great fight. The problem is that it's not the fight.
Recently, Yahoo! Sports got its mitts on a contract from late 2009. Reportedly, the contract detailed every conceivable aspect of a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, which was penciled in to go down on March 13, 2010. The profits, understandably predicted to be enormous, were to be split 50-50.
Everything seemed to be in place for a generation-defining clash of legends. Everything except for that little bit about drug testing.
Whether Pacquiao was refusing to be bullied by Mayweather or was on something and fearful of its discovery, the fight everyone who has ever enjoyed the fine art of facial tenderizing wanted, fizzled into thin air. Now, with Mayweather in prison and Pacquiao talking retirement, it doesn't look like it will ever happen.
Doesn't mean we won't talk about it, though.
If Pacquiao wins this Saturday, there will be a deluge of articles attempting to use the fight as a barometer of how Pacquiao-Mayweather would go. If Bradley wins, countless pundits (Mayweather included) will use it as proof of how Pacquiao would have no chance against "Money."
The two have become as intertwined as Batman and the Joker. It almost feels like they can't exist without one another at this point. Every fight either one has is seen as, "Instead of fighting Manny/Floyd, Floyd/Manny is fighting *insert elite welterweight.*" I fear that this attitude is going to detract from what should be an incredibly intriguing match up this Saturday and taint both Pacquiao's and Mayweather's legacies.
Pacquiao vs. Bradley is a great fight. I just hope fight fans can see it as such instead of as a cop-out.