(Photo Credit: AP)
Today’s boxing fan resembles a person on a diet being tempted by someone waving a delicious chocolate cake in front of your face with seven glorious layers. It looks like this, but you have to say no and enjoy the food that you know you can eat.
The Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight we all want and would love is that cake. It’s not healthy to dwell on it wondering what that cake would taste like, so let’s enjoy what we have now instead. We have Carl Froch, Andre Ward and Sergio Martinez all staking their own claim as the greatest middleweight of our era. We have Canelo Alvarez trying to become the next big Mexican fighter after Barrera, Morales and Marquez.
And we have the fight this Saturday night.
Manny Pacquiao is an action fighter. No matter what else you might think of him this can’t be denied. He has very rarely if ever not given you your money’s worth. The only times that this hasn’t happened is when he’s been in there with someone who is clearly avoiding confrontation.
Manny needs a foil for his fight to be truly compelling. He needs a guy who will bring the fight to him for three minutes of every round. Juan Manuel Marquez has given this to him each time they’ve fought. They can’t fight each other every couple of months, so who out there that will give Manny Pacquiao the fight he needs?
He would, and if you’re a casual boxing fan this might not seem right. Trust me, Timothy Bradley is the B-side in this little play. He’s the foil. But he’s not the LaBradford Smith to Manny Pacquiao’s MJ, he’s better than that. What you hope and what you need as a sports fan, not just a boxing fan, is another night like this.
If we can get that, it’s going to be a great night. The question is this: Will we? As an action fight, the answer is yes. Timothy Bradley is not the feinting, shoulder-rolling, refusing to fight kind of guy that annoys Manny and makes him look less like the force of nature that he is.
When someone fights Pacquiao and when they’re willing to be hit to get work done, it’s what he wants, and believe that Timothy Bradley is going to give it to him. It’s not so much that Manny is going to have problems with the way Bradley fights, it’s that he’s going to relish it. So we know Timothy Bradley will give him the fight he wants - the fight that we all want. We’re not going to see him give us the same kind of effort Joshua Clottey gave everyone. Timothy is about to perform his own Thermopylae. He will go until he can’t stand anymore, so I don’t think that’s going to be the issue.
But here’s the bigger question: Can he win it?
My answer is he won’t and for a few rounds it will be a great fight, but as always, class will tell. Manny Pacquiao by late-round stoppage in an excellent fight. That’s what we should all want. Not maybe the Pacquiao win, but an excellent fight.