by Bob Smith: Sometimes what appear to be evenly matched big fights are not actually so after careful consideration. One recent example was the Canelo-Alvarez fight – I tended to favor Mayweather by default, but an engaging and incisive article by writer Bob Smith really confirmed my viewpoints:
At the same time, sometimes a clear favorite due to hype actually faces a 50/50, fight, as in the case or Broner vs. Maidana. Do not get me wrong, I like both fighters and both have bright pasts and futures, but for Broner to face the caliber of welterweight of a Marcos Maidana was simply too much too soon, and actually, Bob Smith mentioned this earlier in the year last year:
So, which kind of fight is Pacquaio vs. Bradley 2, the first or the second? Well, there is no clear favorite, so it must be the first, and in fact, quite a few number of boxing writers that I have read favored Timothy Bradley, while the boxing public tends to still favor Pacquaio as is evidenced by the betting odds that still favor Pacquaio.
In my opinion, Pacquaio will completely crush Bradley, will hurt him badly and often, and frankly, I am quite concerned for his physical health, while I am nearly not at all concerned for that of Pacquiao. What then leads individuals to overestimate Bradley and to underestimate Pacquaio?
(1) Recent fight bias/no historical memory – yes, it is true that Manny got KTFO by Marquez, but there are a couple of important things to note. One is that Pacquaio was clearly defeating Marquez at that point, he was up on the judge’s scorecards, and had he not made that error of rushing in and had Marquez not been so skilled, it would have been another KO victory for him. Yes, it is true that he did not KO Brandon Rios, but he clearly won a dominating UD, and Rios had little answer for the speed and power of Pacquaio. It is also true that Bradley fought Provodnikov and won a very grueling and damaging war, and regained his own confidence and stature in the mind of the boxing public; also, he legitimately defeated Marquez, and fought an intelligent fight and used his size and movement advantage to win. None of this, however, negates what Pacquaio has done in the past – need I list who he has KO’d – Cotto, De La Hoya, Hatton, and he dominated Margarito and Mosely. Muscle memory is real, and though Pacquaio was distracted and lost a step due to his various distractions, I believe he is serious about the fight, and rather than the old/new distinction, I will say that we will have a serious Pacquaio at this fight rather than a distracted one.
(2) Undefeated bias – a major reason Bradley is being favored is that he does not have a loss, but can anyone who say Pacquaio vs. Bradley 1, that is, other than CJ Ross, Duane Ford, and a self-deluded Bradley say that he won? Honestly, I think no. So, really, Bradley does have a loss, and he has not fought anywhere near the competition that Pacquaio has. People also pin their hopes on him, as he is supposedly part of a “new wave” of undefeated “special” black American fighters that will assume top tier status as Floyd Mayweather and Andre Ward age. In fact, while Bradley is a solid fighter, I would place him nowhere near great, and I think that he would really struggle against either Guerrero or Keith Thurman, though it is possible he would defeat both.
(3) Bradley’s supposed improvement – Bradley was a very good fighter in 2012 with little experience in major fights; now, in 2014, he is a slightly better very good fighter with some more experience in major fights, and definitely more confidence. He did defeat Marquez last year, but honestly, I think that he could have done this two years ago also. He is naturally much bigger than Marquez, he is a skilled boxer, and Marquez had a fixation to avenge his perceived losses against Pacquaio that bordered on obsession. By contrast, Provodnikov was Pacquaio’s sparring partner, and he jarred and rocked Bradley, and would have KO’d him had the fight lasted another round, or maybe even another minute. How will a slightly improved Bradley do against a much quicker and slightly stronger opponent in Pacquaio, when he will eventually, to prove himself, have to engage in some slugging? He will do no better, and much likely worse.
This is not a Bradley bashing article, he is definitely one of the best welterweights in the world, and personally one of my favorite ones. I respect everything about him, including his modesty, asceticism, skill, and warrior mentality. But he is taking on too much in facing Manny Pacquaio and will receive a beating. He may well finish on his feet, and I would be happy if he does, for his health, but Manny Pacquaio will dominate him this evening. I would be very happy for him if he surprised me and confirmed the predictions of many critics that he will use his movement and skill to frustrate Pacquaio and to win legitimately this time, but I don’t see this happening at all.
What do you think?