It’s only a few days before Manny Pacquiao squares off for the second time against Timothy Bradley who claims he deserved the decision win awarded to him in their first bout on June 9, 2012.
While I will not debate that Pacquiao won their first meeting, it was obvious that the Pacquiao who fought Bradley the first time around was not the Pacquiao who felled Ricky Hatton on May 2, 2009 and Miguel Cotto on November 14, 2009.
I expected Pacquiao to stop Bradley in their first fight, given that the American’s recent knockout win prior to the fight was over an aging Joel Casamayor on November 12, 2011, and the American was not a legitimate welterweight (147 pounds) when he met the Filipino. All told, Bradley can even be considered a “gift opponent” for Pacquiao. C’mon, what can you expect from the light-punching junior welterweight (140 pounds) when he faces off with an accomplished fighter like Pacquiao? At the least, I was expecting a late stoppage from Pacquiao.
But the fact that Bradley lasted 12 rounds without even hitting the deck surprised me. And I really did not care to join the chorus who said that Pacquiao was robbed of a victory.
And so Bradley and Pacquiao square off this Sunday for a second time, and this rematch definitely looks interesting.
So what is my fearless forecast?
I believe Pacquiao can still pull off a victory or even a stoppage, provided that he has gained his “second recovery.”
I remember the time when Evander Holyfield was seen going downhill after he was stopped by Riddick Bowe on November 4, 1998. At that time, people were clamoring for Holyfield and Mike Tyson to square off in the ring, almost with the same pitch fight fans are still clamoring for Pacquiao and Floyd Maywea–ther Jr. to meet in the ring.
I was one of those fans who salivated for a Tyson-Holyfield fight, but after seeing Bowe stop a smaller Holyfield in the eighth round in late 1998, I doubted if the clash between the two heavyweight titans would ever happen.
There were also reports that Holyfield had a heart ailment after he lost to Michael Moorer on April 22, 1994.
After losing via stoppage to Bowe, Holyfield beat journeyman Bobby Czyz on May 10, 1996 by stoppage. But Czyz was nowhere a test for Holyfield, who would face Tyson on December 9, 1996.
Although Tyson lost to Buster Douglas via a technical knockout February 11, 1990, Tyson racked up eight consecutive wins with six by knockout before facing Holyfield.
So who would ever think that Holyfield, with his past medical issues and his having to struggle past Bowe would win over Tyson? Well, Holyfield looked very much in his prime when he met Tyson the first time around, and stopped the then “Baddest Man on the Planet” in the 11th round.
I hope that Holyfield’s tale from the time he was stopped by Bowe to his winning over Tyson would happen to Pacquiao, who still faces questions if his knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez and other issues outside the ring has gotten the better of him.
And “comebacks” similar to what Holyfield did after his loss to Bowe are not unique in the boxing world. Who knows—Pacquiao might win convincingly over Bradley and get a shot at Mayweather.
But if Pacquiao loses to Bradley, or the fights ends up too close, it would be game over for the Filipino.
So April 12 would provide Pacquiao with one more shot. And the world will be watching.