Boxing betting: Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley
It’s not the Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather superbout that everyone wants to see, but Pacquiao’s tenuous title of best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, one that Mayweather also can claim, is on the line Saturday night in Vegas as he puts his welterweight title on the line vs. light-welterweight champion Timothy Bradley Jr. Pacquiao is a -500 favorite on WagerWeb.com with Bradley at +300.
The fight was put together after Pacquiao was unable to come to terms on a meeting with Mayweather, who instead set up a fight against Miguel Cotto and beat him last month. Pacquiao, the reigning WBO welterweight champion, will be fighting at welterweight for the third consecutive fight and fifth time in his last six fights. Bradley, the undefeated light welterweight champion, is moving up to welterweight after spending the majority of his career at light welterweight.
Pacquiao is coming off a majority decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, and has won his last 15 fights. Bradley has never lost in 29 professional fights (one no contest), and is coming off a TKO victory over Joel Casamayor on the Pacquiao-Marquez card.
Although Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) will be moving up to the 147-pound division for the fight — there is no catch weight — he is about the same size as Pacquiao and has fought in the division before, including two fights ago when he outpointed Luis Carlos Abregu in a nontitle bout in July 2010. At 28 and in his prime, Bradley, who is fast and skilled but lacks power, probably poses more danger to Pacquiao than any of his recent opponents.
The other names in the running to face Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) in the pay-per-view fight were junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and Juan Manuel Marquez, who is 0-2-1 in three incredibly close and exciting fights with Pacquiao, including a majority decision loss to him in November.
Bradley, although widely regarded as one of the 10 best fighters in the world regardless of weight, is virtually anonymous beyond hardcore boxing fans. He’s beaten several current or former titleholders, but his highest-profile win to date was an aesthetically displeasing technical-decision victory over Devon Alexader in January 2011 to unify the WBC and WBO 140-pound titles. Afterward, he turned down a 50/50 offer to fight Amir Khan, then sat out for several months while dealing with an ensuing lawsuit with his former promoters.
Both Pacquiao and Bradley are busy fighters, always in excellent shape and throwing dozens of punches per round. But Bradley lacks the power to do significant damage, which will be evident against Pacquiao — a guy who routinely dishes out more than he takes (and he can take a lot). Bradley needs to make the fight about quantity rather than quality. Since his power isn’t there, he’ll have to score substantially greater punch numbers and make Pacquiao try to match his output.
Bradley has everything to gain in a challenge that could catapult him to the upper reaches of the pound-for-pound list and earn him the keys to the most lucrative fights in the sport today.