Boxing


Pacquiao vs Bradley: Keys to Victory, Four to Explore, & Official Prediction

boxingby Vivek Wallace: In only a few hours the world will watch as Filipino phenom Manny Pacquiao (54-3, 38KO's) takes on American Timothy "Desert Storm" Bradley (28-0, 12KO's). For years Pacquiao has been known as the sports co-P4P King, however, as dominant as he has been during his assault on the ranks, nowhere in that lineup encompassed an undefeated talent graced with both youth and ability. This Saturday night that all changes as Bradley sets out to test his mettle amongst a front-runner within the sports elite echelon for the first time. The battle that lies ahead may not be easy for either man, but to get an idea for what they'll need to do to earn the victory we now take a look at the "Keys to Victory", "Four to Explore", and an "Official Prediction":

TIMOTHY BRADLEY - KEYS TO VICTORY

For Timothy Bradley the keys to victory are quite interesting. Not only do they require great ability to execute, but more importantly, great discipline....something Bradley hasn't always shown. Critics of Bradley have always noted his 'face first' style, identifying how easy it is to hit the young gun with something wicked and stun, or potentially stop him.. Although no one has been able to stop him with this clear tactical error in the past, if there's anyone with the ability to make it happen it'll be the man in front of him Saturday night. Bradley will need to keep this in mind and fight a very intelligent fight. Not an easy task once the bell rings and bombs start flying, but a man named "Desert Storm" should have no trouble executing when things get 'hot'!

Beyond that, Bradley will need to stay in Pacquiao's face. Many make the mistake of sitting back and trying to pick him apart. Unless you bear the name "Mayweather" and boast his reach advantage as well, it may be best to smother Pacquiao rather than give him room to operate. Pacquiao's hands are much faster so it's unlikely that Bradley will be able to land anything meaningful before taking something worst. Bradley will need to initiate his attacks with a good jab and great lateral movement. If he can execute these tactics and use proper footwork to turn Pacquiao and keep him off balance, this fight could undoubtedly go his way.


MANNY PACQUIAO - KEYS TO VICTORY

For Manny Pacquiao, the keys to victory are a bit more simple. Bradley has always been known as a fighter with a huge heart. What's the best way to crack the heart of a fighter who refuses to be broken? Pressure.....until the moment arrives in which he finally does (crack). Pacquaio is one of the best in the game at sheer pressure, able to combine speed and power with unseen angles and deadly velocity. Pacquaio will need to use the hidden southpaw angle to his advantage by swarming Bradley to the point where he doesn't know where the attack initiates from.

With Pacquiao's relatively short reach, using a fundamental jab and other textbook attacks aren't quite the norm. That being the case, Pacquiao's keys to victory can basically be restricted to pressuring his opponent with great angles and doing what he does best: attack! If Pacquiao can maintain his typical typhoon pace and keep Bradley from getting comfortable, this will be an easy victory and inevitably, a short night.


FOUR TO EXPLORE (CRITICAL GAME CHANGERS TO WATCH)

GUT CHECK? - One of the biggest subplots suddenly surrounding this showdown is the fact that Pacquiao has looked far less than stellar. Many who attended his open workout spoke of the fact that he appeared less than ravishing. Days later, several in attendance at the weigh-in felt Pacquiao's mid-section looked more like a 2-pack than his typical 6-pack! Bradley is known to be in great shape, and a stage this grand could definitely bring out the best in him. Last time Ariza missed time from a fighters camp in such a notable fashion that fighter (Khan) looked awfully suspect. With a clear difference in conditioning and appearance coming into this fight, is Pacquiao due for the proverbial 'gut check' this time around, as well? Stay tuned.

BRIGHT LIGHTS, DIM SHOT? - Timothy Bradley has said and done all of the right things leading up to this buildup. Never before in his career has he gotten this much attention and received this much press. Few in the sport deserve it more than the California native, but that being said, history has proven that the bright lights of Vegas can be hot enough to melt down even those known to be strong and determined. With with world watching and the spotlight on, the operative question becomes: Can Timothy Bradley have what it takes to defeat a shark in the midst of a fish bowl?

THE 'TARVER' TIP: One of the most intriguing moments in the history of the sport was the night a not-to-be-denied Antonio Tarver asked the legendary Roy Jones Jr. after the referees period of instructions if he had "any excuses tonight"? These type of bold acts from an underdog have been known to freeze even the hottest stars in the sport. It was intriguing to read the body language at the weigh-in, as the typically reserved Bradley opted not to swap smiles with Pacquiao; yet instead choosing to bump his gums and let the Filipino no that his "time has come". Will Bradley's bold and strictly business approach pay off the same as Tarver's in the end? Gonna be interesting to watch.

A.D.D. AND SUBTRACT? - Attention Deficit Disorder has never been a topic to make headlines in the sport of boxing, but if there's any fighter who seems to be completely distracted now days it's Manny Pacquiao. If it isn't some new lawsuit, it's a problem with the members of his camp. Seems no matter what, Pacquaio's attention is always diverted from the mission at hand to the ones who help prepare him for the mission. With the Pacquiao pulpit in full swing, some have openly questioned whether or not the Filipino is truly prepared mentally for what he may be about to face in a young and hungry lion who has a lot to prove? As of now, it's all subplots. In the end, will it remain that way, or will it be the reason behind one of the biggest shockers we've seen in the sport in quite some time?


OFFICIAL PREDICTION (UPSET BAROMETER - RATING 1 to 5)

Many of us around the sport find ourselves questioning who the next biggest start will be. While most have their personal opinions to lean on, it's those big stages like the one dressed up for Saturday night that typically defines this role better than not. For Bradley, despite all the critics and all of the critical thinking, this is the very stage in which he'll receive the opportunity to thrust himself into that upper echelon and he seems very eager to do so. The intriguing thing is that Bradley remains cut down the middle. Not only evidenced in his 3-D abdominal six pack; but also in the way we perceive him.

Critics say he touches the canvas too much. Supporters say so did Trinidad and Calzaghe at one point in their careers, but they always got up and typically won when they did. Critics will say he's never stood tall on a stage this big. Supporters would say he found a way to win across the pond on another mans turf when no one back at home knew his name. The irony in Bradley is that, similar to the last statement, he has always found a way to win, and that's a direct testament to him having the heart of a lion.

What will that heart do for him against Pacquiao? Well...that's where the plot thickens, as it could be either a curse or a blessing. Bradley has shown a gradual evolution in each fight we've seen him perform in, correcting mistakes while perfecting his place. In many ways "Desert Storm" seems destined for something bigger. Trouble is, I just can't see Pacquiao being the one to give him that place on the throne. I think Bradley will make the fight difficult in stretches and give Pacquiao a run for his money, but I'm not quite convinced that he has the ability to withstand 12 rounds of punishment from the other 'punisher' in the sport. In the end, I see Pacquiao's speed and power making all the difference, and ultimately wilting the California native like a desert storm.

At the end of the night, I think Bradley falls victim to a man much like himself., but just a more elaborate sketch. Small in stature, big in heart, durable in form. When the smoke clears, this isn't a hard fight to predict, but if it gets wild it'll be interesting to see who's ahead on the cards, because all bets are off at that point! Barring anything crazy, I think it's wise to say:

MANNY PACQUIAO VIA 8th ROUND STOPPAGE (UPSET BAROMETER - 2 of 5 - BRADLEY WILL HAVE THE TOOLS, BUT NOT THE STRENGTH TO WITHSTAND)

(Vivek "Vito" Wallace can be reached at 954.292.7346, vivekwallace@ymail.com, Youtube (Vivek Wallace Boxing Talk), Twitter (VivekWallace747), Skype (Vito-Boxing), and FaceBook).

Article posted on 09.06.2012



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