Larry Merchant, a former talking head for HBO Boxing, isn’t quite sure who will win the April 12th rematch between Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO’s) and WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (31-0, 12 KO’s). Merchant thinks that Pacquiao is getting up there in age at 35, and he’s facing a guy that is fighting at a very high level in 30-year-old Bradley, Merchant sees this as a fight will be a really tough one for Pacquiao.
“I think it’s a tough fight for him [Pacquiao],” Merchant said to Hustleboss. “I don’t think he’s going to out-box Bradley. I think the essence of this fight is can he [Pacquiao] stoke up the old fire to get Bradley, who is coming off of a couple of good wins.”
Pacquiao and his trainer Freddie Roach are focusing on training to pressure Bradley and throw a lot of punches in the fight. However, it’s going to be very difficult for Pacquiao to do this if he can’t get to Bradley by having him stand still long enough for him to put pressure.
We saw Pacquiao do well in his last fight against Brandon Rios, but that was the perfect opponent for him to shine against. Rios stood in front of him and made it easy for him to land his shots. Bradley is not going to be that kind of fighter. He’s going to move and force Pacquiao to use his feet to try and land. When Pacquiao fights while moving, he tends to get sloppy and leave himself open for shots. That’s one way that Bradley will be able to take advantage of him.
Merchant thinks Pacquiao needs to revert back to an earlier version of himself for him to have a chance of taking the fight. I’m not sure that Pacquiao is that far off of him prove for Merchant to be speaking in those terms for this fight. I see it more of the case of Pacquiao not having Bradley coming at him or sticking to one spot.
If you look at the fight in which Pacquiao did well in the past – Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto, Brandon Rios, and Antonio Margarito – you’ll notice that all of them came straight at him or stood still. In the fights where Pacquiao struggled – Juan Manuel Marquez and Bradley – Pacquiao didn’t have a stationary target for him to land his shots. It made a huge difference.