A collective groan over the last two weeks has swept over the boxing landscape. Top Rank announced that Manny Pacquiao would face Timothy Bradley in a rubber match. A matchup that most boxing fans were dreading would take place. Pacquiao had the options of Adrien Broner, Amir Khan, Terence Crawford and Timothy Bradley. Most fans eliminated the likelihood of a Broner or Khan match due to the promotional divisions currently within the sport. In particular with Top Rank and Al Haymon. Crawford was the hope for boxing fans as the next choice for Pacquiao as it presented a fresh match up. It was also an opportunity to watch the tradition of the torch being passed from one generation to the other. Pacquiao would not be doing himself any favors in facing Crawford, as it would put him in a lose-lose situation. As we all know Pacquiao chose to face Timothy Bradley again. This boxing fans may have been a huge mistake that Pacquiao and his team have made. Pacquiao may have viewed the fight as an opportunity to gain back a title to lure either Marquez or Mayweather back into a rematch. With the way he has performed in the last few years with such a lack in motivation would seem to suggest that the bout is just one final money grab. Pacquiao at this point may just be a mercenary and in Bradley it could backfire on him.
1. Pacquiao and his team have been consistently counterproductive.
Pacquiao in the eyes of most boxing fans has defeated Timothy Bradley two times. At this point another win over Bradley does not add much value to Pacquiao’s resume. It only gives an opponent who has already been in the ring twice with him another chance to defeat him. This is not new with Pacquiao as he just got through a 5 year ordeal with Floyd Mayweather. Pacquiao waited until his performances, abilities, and PPV numbers had slipped significantly. The fight took place and he lost. It was the biggest fight in the sport that will forever be apart of his legacy. Pacquiao also after the first decision loss to Bradley gave a rematch to Marquez who looked better than ever in their third fight. Pacquiao bypassed doing any extra testing for the bout leaving himself open to be brutally knocked out by his biggest rival. Marquez ended up being highly suspicious. Pacquiao against Bradley will be coming off of one of the longest layoffs of his entire career along with a shoulder injury. It is unclear how much Pacquiao has left going into a third fight with Bradley.
2. Bradley will be more motivated than ever to defeat Pacquiao.
We don’t know how motivated Pacquaio will be for a third Bradley fight. We do know that Bradley will be highly motivated to get back at Pacquiao. After the first fight Bradley was publicly ostracized as a pariah for being declared the winner. In the second bout he may have let it slip from him mentally as he attempted to knock Pacquiao out instead of following the game plan. Pacquiao may find Bradley a much more difficult opponent the third time around. At this point with Pacquiao being older and less active his rhythm will be easier to figure out for Bradley. Bradley going into a third bout with Pacquiao will have even more of a chip on his shoulder.
3. Pacquiao has mentally checked out of the sport.
In the biggest fight the sport has seen in quite some time, Manny Pacquiao for his entrance was taking selfies. When he got in the ring he attempted to box Floyd Mayweather, a man that he had been waiting to face for the last five years. This for many observers and close to the sport know that this wasn’t a surprise. Pacquiao for years has been taking training camps half heartedly. Pacquiao has been splitting them in half with time in the Phillipines and then in Los Angeles with Freddie Roach. After so many years of doing training camps in this manner it seems that Pacquiao is incapable of putting in 100% effort into training. Pacquiao has not made any changes in his training to coincide with his age and has had subpar performances. While Bradley is at his most confident with new trainer Teddy Atlas, Pacquiao may be putting in another half ass training camp to end his career.
In summary, Top Rank could help save the PPV event by actually making it an event and putting on a stellar undercard. The reality is, however, is that Top Rank will likely put Vasyl Lomachenko in against another no-hoper on the undercard. Pacquiao may end up being the loser of a trilogy against a fighter he should have two wins against. For Pacquiao to get gain forgiveness from boxing fans for his performance on May 2nd, he may have to leave the same way he came. Pacquiao needs to once again remind us why he was once considered the most exciting fighter int he sport.
Team LeftJab’s Hector Franco with Keith “One Time” Thurman
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