Pacquiao-Bradley II: Is this the end of the line for Manny?
By Chris Williams: Career-wise, Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO’s) will be limping into his April 12th rematch against WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (31-0, 12 KO’s) next month at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao has lost 2 out of his last 3 fights, and he hasn’t beaten a really good fighter since his catch-weight win over Miguel Cotto in 2009. Since that fight, Pacquiao’s wins have come against Joshua Clottey, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito, Juan Manuel Marquez and Brandon Rios. Like a lot of fans, I don’t count Pacquiao’s victory over Marquez in 2011 as being a win for Pacquiao, because Marquez clearly won that fight and deserved a decision with a four round cushion.
A loss for Pacquiao in the rematch with Bradley will send a message that it’s pretty much over for the 35-year-old Pacquiao. Yes, he’ll continue to fight after the defeat, because there’s no way that he’ll retire. His promoter Bob Arum will continue to faithfully find opponents for Pacquiao to fight on HBO pay-per-view every 4-5 months, as he’s likely to continue fighting into his 40s, long past the time that he’s lost his skills. But as far as Pacquiao being one of the top guys at 147, a second loss to Bradley will show that he’s not a great fighter.
It’ll be worse for Pacquiao, because with Golden Boy Promotions fighters holding most of the welterweight titles, Pacquiao will be title-less at 147, other than his WBO International welterweight title strap that Pacquiao won in his last fight against Brandon Rios last November. Pacquiao probably won’t move down to 140 lbs to go after the WBO belt held by Ruslan Provodnikov or go after the WBA 140 lb strap held by fellow Top Rank fighter Khabib Allakhverdiev. Pacquiao probably won’t move up in weight to 154 to fight against any of those champions either, because it would mean that he’d have to take too much punishment unless he got one of the champions to fight him at a catch-weight handicap like how he fought Margarito for the vacant WBC junior middleweight title in 2010.
The poor PPV numbers that Pacquiao’s last fight against Rios brought in last November was probably a big hint that we’re starting to see deteriorating PPV numbers for Pacquiao from the after affects off his stoppage loss to Marquez, his defeat at the hands of Bradley and fan fatigue from seeing too many retread fights for Pacquiao against the same opposition. He’s fought Marquez 4 times in 10 years, and he’ll be fighting Bradley for the 2nd time. If Pacquiao beats Bradley, he’ll be fighting Marquez for a 5th time. I don’t care how good their previous fights were in the past, if you put on the same fight over and over again, fans are going to lose interest. It’s like having a popular movie run in the theaters every year simply because it did really well one year. At some point, theater goers lose interest because they want to see new stuff, but that’s not happening. You can make an argument that Pacquiao had to fight Bradley again in order to avenge his loss, but that doesn’t explain all the retread fights against Marquez or the wasted fights against non-popular fighters like Joshua Clottey and Rios, or the fight against a way past his prime Shane Mosley.