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Pacquiao vs. Bradley analysis, and more!

Amir Khan Manny Pacquiao Terence Crawford Timothy BradleyBy Ross Walker: In what has been declared as Manny Pacquiao’s final fight of his illustrious career, the modern-day boxing legend is said to face one of three prospective opponents. The indications are that one of Terence Crawford, Timothy Bradley or Amir Khan will receive the honor of facing Pac-Man.

The decision was supposed to be announced on two separate occasions but has thus far remained un-announced. The apparent reason for the delay is rumored to be due to a lack of agreement between the Pacquiao camp and promoter Bob Arum. One would have to assume that Manny is consulting with members of his vast entourage which includes his family, advisor (Michael Koncz), promoter Bob Arum and of course his trainer, Freddie Roach.

Judging by past interviews and assessment of character, the family peripheral members of his entourage would want the highest paying opponent. This would likely be Amir Khan given his European and Muslim following. Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, clearly wants Manny to face Terence “Bud” Crawford as he would financially benefit for years from this matchup by getting Crawford’s name out there to casual fight fans. Then you have the most influential of the bunch, Freddie Roach. Roach would want Bradley. On paper Pacquiao is 1-1 against Bradley, but let’s be honest he is for all intents and purposes 2-0 when facing Bradley. Roach would like nothing more than for Manny to win a rubber match hopefully knocking him out in the process. Now that we have gone through the pleasantries let’s get to the meat; the breakdown of each fight.

Amir Khan

This fight would likely be the biggest payday for Pacquiao and surrounding members. Amir also has the weakest chin of the three fighters referenced suffering knockdowns to Michael Gomez in ’08, Breidis Prescott x2 in ’08, Danny Garcia x3 in ’12 and Julio Diaz in ’13. Two of those knockdowns resulted in KO losses, Garcia and Prescott. There is also a bit of a juicy storyline to this matchup. Freddie Roach trained Amir Khan from 2008 after the Prescott fight to 2012 after a controversial loss to Lamont Peterson. Roach has been quoted as saying “Amir should be going after my man (Pacquiao) or Mayweather. But he doesn’t have the balls.” Khan responded by saying “I’ve already said I would love to fight Manny.” If this fight happens get ready with rewind button on your remote because these men possess some of the fastest hands on the planet. Khan’s “offense is the best defence” approach causes him to drop his hands throughout fights. He is also very susceptible to counter punches during his lightning-fast combos. This leaves huge opportunity for a veteran fighter with fast hands and explosive power to catch him mid-combo. Does that description sound a little bit like Pac-Man? If Manny circles to Amir’s left throwing his jab over Khan’s jab in the process, there will appear an opening for the famous straight left that will no doubt end Khan’s night and Pacquiao’s Hall of Fame career. This would probably be the least competitive fight and also the safest for Manny. If you’re looking for a decisive win and possibly KO for Pacquiao, this is the fight you hope gets made.

Terence “Bud” Crawford

This fight would be billed as the passing of the torch to HBO’s and Top Rank’s next great Welterweight superstar. Crawford is an undefeated fighter who is ranked in any respectable top ten pound for pound list (I have him in the top 5). Crawford possesses technical skills, punching power and a fighter’s mentality as seen in his relaxed ring walks and desire to exchange when hit with a good shot. This could either be the best or worst matchup for casual fight fans. Bud has the best defence of all the fighters on this list and does not consistently push the pace as much as the other two. On the other hand, the power and skill Crawford has could make this a dramatic bout that could be candidate for fight of the year if both corners are able to score knockdowns, which they are both more than capable of doing. Another interesting dynamic to this fight is Crawford’s ability to effectively switch from orthodox to southpaw. This ability could possibly nullify the exploding straight left from Pacquiao. I would be very interested to see what plan Roach could formulate to counteract this rare ability. I personally hope this is the fight that gets made but it may be too tough of a fight for Manny to go out on even though Arum is pushing hard behind the scenes for Pacquiao vs. Crawford.

Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley

This is the most likely of all three matchups to become a reality. The rumors keep indicating Bradley is the chosen one and where there is smoke there is fire. This would technically be the rubber-match between the two as Pacquiao was absolutely robbed in their first meeting. Bradley is now trained by the infamous Teddy Atlas. Bradley looked much more methodical and controlled the first time we saw Bradley under this new partnership. Although Bradley was facing a washed up Brandon Rios whose heart was never in the fight and was fighting solely for financial reasons. Bradley punished the much bigger Rios with varied attacks from start to finish. Bradley used improved footwork, angles and angle-stepping to confuse and disorientate the statue-like Rios. If (and when) this fight happens it will be very interesting to see a Roach vs. Atlas matchup. Atlas will have Bradley attempt to out-maneuver Pacquiao with his improved footwork. I just do not see him being successful in doing so. With Pacquiao’s experience, timing and power he will catch Bradley moving into one of his punches. Once Manny gets a beat on Bradley’s movement it will spell the beginning of the end for the “Desert Storm.” This reflection will be seen on the judges’ scorecards all the way to a win via decision for Pacquiao. That is if they don’t completely drop the ball……which we have seen before.

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