Once more, with feeling.
Later this evening (Sat., April 9, 2016), Welterweight standouts Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley will battle for the third time inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, headlining a fairly stacked HBO Boxing pay-per-view (PPV) card that's filled with prospects.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE coverage of "Pacquiao vs. Bradley 3," starting with the HBO PPV broadcast at 9 p.m. ET. We will also offer a stream for the various non-televised undercard bouts, which feature top prospects Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Egidijus Kavaliauskas, starting at 6 p.m. ET.
WBO Super Middleweight Champion Arthur Abraham helms the co-main event, defending his belt against the fast-rising Gilberto Ramirez, while prospects Oscar Valdez and Jose Ramirez face Evgeny Gradovich and Manuel Perez, respectively.
After 24 rounds in the ring together, will Pacquiao and Bradley give us any surprises on tonight? Let's find out:
Name: Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao
Record: 57-6-2, 38 KO
Last Five Fights: Floyd Mayweather (UD Loss), Chris Algieri (UD), Tim Bradley (UD), Brandon Rios (UD), Juan Manuel Marquez (Knockout Loss)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Juan Manuel Marquez (2x), Miguel Cotto, Ricky Hatton, Oscar de la Hoya, Marco Antonio Barrera (2x), Erik Morales (2x), Lehlo Ledwaba
Name: Timothy Bradley Jr.
Record: 33-3-1, 13 KO
Last Five Fights: Brandon Rios (TKO-9), Jessie Vargas (UD), Diego Chaves (Split Draw), Manny Pacquiao (UD Loss), Juan Manuel Marquez (SD)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Devon Alexander, Juan Carlos Abregu, Lamont Peterson, Kendall Holt, Miguel Vazquez
I've broken down Pacquiao before, but Bradley has fascinated me since I first really started paying attention to his style. On the surface, it looks like it shouldn't work; his punches can get loopy at times, he doesn't have much power, and those bursts of aggression he's picked up ostensibly put him in harm's way.
The truth of the matter, however, is that in addition to quality boxing acumen, he's an extremely skilled showman, and I mean that in the most laudatory fashion. Bradley throws big, wound-up bombs that generally don't seem hurt his opponents, but they look impressive. He's so inordinately tough that incoming fire rarely leaves any impression, save for his fight with Provodnikov and last-minute scare against Vargas, and his swarming attacks both interfere with opponents' strategies and give the impression that he's dominating even if they don't connect.
In short, he's a good body puncher and a good disruptor. He is also, as Connor Ruebusch is fond of saying, a masterful bullshitter.
Again, I mean that in the most complimentary fashion.
This, combined with the fact that he's a really good boxer underneath that veneer, makes him a threat to any Welterweight. Is it enough to finally overcome Pacquiao without controversy? No.
Pacquiao's speed, power and combination punching are a fairly hard counter for Bradley. The Filipino legend is the better fighter at range and, unlike Rios, isn't going to stand there and eat body shots all night. Should Bradley try to provoke furious exchanges, Pacquiao's better-equipped to deal damage and his reputation for power-punching should grant his blows more brownie points from the judges than Bradley's.
Bradley's showmanship didn't produce great results in the second fight; I don't expect that to change here, even with Teddy Atlas' influence and Pacquiao's deterioration.Expect Bradley to come out with something to prove and look to deal real damage to Pacquiao, only to once again run afoul of "Pac-Man's" killer speed and accuracy.
Prediction: Pacquiao by unanimous decision
Even if the main event doesn't tickle your fancy, it's a pretty solid card overall. Hope you'll join me later tonight, Maniacs, right here.