After watching recently some of the monumental upsets in sports — where Meisha Tate put Holly Holm to sleep and Nick Diaz shut up Conor McGregor at least for the time being — and, in a world where the Los Angeles Lakers beat the best team in the NBA by far in the Golden State Warriors, one more possible upset is just a month away.
When perennial favorite Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KO’s) climbs into the ring with American Timothy “The Desert Storm” Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KO’s), at the MGM Grand Garden on April 9, fans are expecting boxing’s eight-division world champion to come out victorious.
Here are a few reasons why Bradley could rain on his parade.
#1 Bradley’s new boxing skills
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but Bradley has looked fantastic in his last few bouts — with a unanimous decision over Jesse Vargas and a technical knockout over previously unstopped Brandon Rios.
With Teddy Atlas at his side, an improved Bradley may be just the ticket to defeating Pacquiao once and for all.
Bradley had two tries against Pacquiao before, and more or less knows Pacquiao’s style. This time around, Bradley will pretty much know how to handle Pacquiao and what he brings to the table.
And as Juan Manuel Marquez has shown us before, that makes a world of difference.
#2 Pacquiao’s many distractions
Manny Pacquiao is in the midst of campaigning for a seat at the Philippine senate and recently, due to some controversial remarks he’s made about same-sex marriage, Pacquiao’s stock took a major hit.
He’s currently working tirelessly now to fix that image, but is it coming at the cost of his focus on training?
Freddie Roach said Pacquiao hasn’t looked all that great since the beginning of camp, which could be a red herring, but could also be true.
One thing’s for sure, distractions were never a good thing for Pacquiao throughout his career, no matter how he said he could always handle them.
#3 Pacquiao’s decline
Much has been said about Pacquiao’s physical decline and while it was mere speculation then, there’s no denying it now. He’s not as fast or as powerful as he once was, and his opponents have noticed.
Since being knocked out by Marquez in 2012, Pacquiao has faced Rios, Bradley and Algieri — and with the exception of Floyd Mayweather — were all safe fights for him at the time.
But the Bradley of 2016 is not the same Bradley of 2014 and so is Pacquiao.
It’s been two long years since Pacquiao beat Bradley the last time around but much has changed.
Bradley’s gotten better, while Pacquiao has become worse for wear. It might be high time that Bradley capitalizes on Pacquiao’s decline to finally score a legitimate victory over the Filipino. – By Carlos Cinco
Follow this writer on Twitter: @CarlosCincoFCB