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Can Bradley alter his style for Pacquiao?

Manny Pacquiao Timothy BradleyBy John F. McKenna (McJack): The question boxing pundits and fans have on their minds in the lead up to Saturday night’s big fight at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas between WBO light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (28-0-1 NC, 12 KO’s) and WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO’s) is can Bradley alter his style to make the fight competitive?

By Bradley’s own admission Manny is faster and packs more power than he does. And unless we as boxing fans are missing something speed and power will be a major factor as to who emerges victorious on Saturday night. Most fighters who are underdogs going into a major fight attempt to assure boxing fans (and themselves) that they are in for a huge surprise come fight night.

Bradley has taken it one step further by saying that whatever Juan Manuel Marquez can do, he can do better. Marquez of course gave the “Pacman” fits in their fight last November. Most boxing fans in fact thought “El Dinamita” deserved the decision in that fight.

Bradley’s reasoning is that he is a decade younger than Marquez and theoretically should be able to out perform him when he faces Manny inside the squared circle. The secret to Marquez’ success was his steel nerves, plus his ability to land solid counters on Pacquiao at the most opportune times. The thing that “Desert Storm” conveniently leaves out of the equation is that the tough Mexican warrior Juan Manuel Marquez is a master strategist and ring tactician who had fought Pacquiao three times and was able to come up with a strategy to fight him on even terms. Even so, despite the protestations of Marquez fans the fight was close and Compu Box showed that Manny had actually landed more punches and power punches than Marquez did.

It is difficult to dethrone a sitting champion when you are on the defensive and backing up as Marquez was, especially when that champions name happens to be Manny Pacquiao. Decry him if you will, but the cold hard reality is that Pacquiao is the boxing worlds darling and in a close fight he is probably going to get the decision.

Despite what he now says, it is doubtful if “Desert Storm” will be able to morph into a counter puncher for this one fight. The words of the great Joe Louis keep ringing in this writer’s ears when I hear a fighter say that he is going to change his style going into a fight. Louis’ famous quote was “Everybody has a plan until he gets hit.”

Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach has watched numerous tapes of Bradley’s prior fights and reportedly likes what he sees. Although Bradley says he will not just bore in headfirst as he has done in the past, it is likely that once he tastes the power of Manny’s potent left hook he will revert to form and fight in the way that he has become accustomed to.

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