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What has been seen as an odd and disappointing match set to conclude the trilogy of Tim Bradley and Manny Pacquiao to many fight fans seems a bit strange considering all the ramifications that conclude Saturday night. Finally, from the stand point of Pacquiao fans, the fighter can put away for good a black-eye on his record to the man that ended his impressive and suspect knocked out (KO) victory streak as Pacquiao rose through the ranks racking up on his resume as an 8-time world champion. Since a unanimous decision (UD) loss to Eric Morales in 2005, Pacquiao has been a world superstar in boxing. He’s put the Philippines on the simple man’s geographical map as he shined an undefeated streak until a highly questionable split decision loss to Bradley in 2012. While Pacquiao has remained a beloved Boxer all-around the world, Bradley has quietly put together an impressive resume of his own as a 5-time World Champion that deserves much more respect than he is receiving from the fight fans. After taking on fighters consecutively such as Devon Alexander, Joel Casamayor, Pacquiao 1, Ruslan Provodnikov (2013 Fight of The Year) and Juan Manuel Marquez (whom knockout Pacquiao cold), Bradley has done nothing but gotten better in which he has the platform to prove it on Saturday night April 9th, live from Las Vegas via HBO Pay-Per-View.
One could go on into endless detail about what happened during the first Pacquiao/Bradley fight that appeared to be a robbery but one rule that will remain precedent to all fighters is too never leave a decision in the hands of the judges. Many times fans and commentators alike will see a fight completely different from judges and feel as if there is a bias built into their score card. The truth is they know more than all of us in regards to scoring and that’s why they get paid to do what they do. In boxing, it’s all about the details when it comes to scoring. Each referee is placed at different sides of the ring away from production sets and are given no stats throughout the fight. Each round is scored separately and tallied at the end of the fight. To simply put it, there is no lead in a boxing match. At the end of Pacquiao vs Bradley II, there was no doubt across the ring as even Bradley applauded Pacquiao’s UD win ending Bradley’s career unbeaten streak. Since then, the fighters have gone on to other fights leaving us wondering if, or more so when a third and final would take place? If you follow promoter Bob Arum you know he loves trilogies, and that’s what we’ll get Saturday night.
This 3rd and most likely final fight will surely make for an exciting night for many reason. Pacquiao has stated that this will be his final fight of his illustrious career as he plans to focus on his political life in the Philippines in his post-boxing career. If this is “The People’s Champion’s” last fight, it goes without a doubt that he will have an enormous impact on the history of boxing with achievements that few fighters reach. We’ll remember his big smile as he reminded us how blessed we are simply waking up each day; remembered for his calculated punches with impressive power and precision as he moved-up weight classes seamlessly and dominated pound for pound lists for a decade. His hand speed will be remembered at the top of many lists, right there with Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones Jr, and even the great Muhammad Ali. Had Pacquiao beaten Floyd Mayweather Jr, he could have been remembered as one of the greatest of all-time, refunds aside, we all would have loved to see that fight years prior, but boxing is a business, prize fighting. With all the Pacquiao retirement talk over-shadowing this trilogy fight, the real hopefulness is of newly paired trainer Teddy Atlas and Bradley continuing their blooming relationship into Welterweight dominance. Atlas has seemed to find the flaws in Bradley’s fight game since his win, but shocking 12th round knockdown he faced against Jesse Vargas. Now with his defensive style adapted to avoiding the counters and those of the set-up nature, Bradley could now have all the tools to completely defeat an aging Pacquiao and command the respect of the boxing world.
Prediction: Tim Bradley Jr by UD 116-112