For a while there, it seemed that the mega fight the world has been waiting for between Floyd Mayweather (42-0) and Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao (54-3, 2) may actually come to fruition. However, between Mayweather not accepting an even 50-50 pay split and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum insistent that the date needs to be moved back in order to make time to build a new stadium on the Las Vegas strip, the fight is nixed for sure. Both sides refusing to concede is not a new development in this ongoing drama, and a new target date for the pair has been established for November of this year.
In the meantime, Mayweather will fight Miguel Cotto, and Pacquiao will opt for another in house Top Rank bout against undefeated WBO Light Welterweight champion Tim Bradley (28-0, 1 NC). The American Bradley hails from the deserts of southern California and with wins over Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander he is the clear top boxer in the 63.5 kg/140 lb weight division. A young hungry champion at the top of his game, he is worthy challenger for Pacquiao.
Bradley is a pressure fighter who likes to make fights ugly. He isn’t known for his knockout power, but his fantastic work rate allows him to smother opponents and wear them down. An orthodox fighter, he has a good right cross that he will need to use often if he wants to win this fight against the southpaw. On that note, Bradley has fought 7 southpaws in his career which is impressive for a boxer with only 28 fights. No doubt he will be looking at Pacquiao’s flaws which were made apparent in his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, whose counter right crosses created a lot of trouble for the Filipino.
That being said, Marquez is a master counter-puncher and Bradley is a pressure swarmer. Styles make fights, and I do not see Bradley realistically besting Pacquiao. Manny has handled pressure fighters in relatively easy fashion in recent years, most notably Ricky Hatton and Antonio Margarito. With a lackluster performance last November, Pacquiao will need to make a statement by clearly handling Bradley, and then we all hopefully get to see the Fight of the (21st) Century that we have all been waiting for.