Pacquiao vs. Bradley.....Again?

By Charles Jay

As we wind down the hours until Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight actually happens at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, there are certainly some people who are wondering “Why?” as in “Why should we buy this fight when they have fought twice already, and the reality is that Pacquiao has done enough to win both times?”

If you are a boxing bettor who has followed things through the years, you know that Pacquiao seemingly beat Bradley by a decisive margin back in June 2012, but lost the decision, touching off a controversy that is still talked about to some extent, and led to the indictment of at least one Nevada-based boxing judge. Pacquiao gained a measure of payback in April 12 with a rather easy decision.

Okay, we have added to the storyline a little, although we are not so sure it’s got anything to do with what is going to happen in the ring. Pacquiao, who is a politician in the Philippines, has ignited a furor in many circles with his statement about gays and lesbians, where he is quoted this way: “Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals.”

Well, you can imagine what kind of backlash that caused here in the United States. Nary an LGBT group could be found that wasn’t calling for a boycott of this fight. And here in the home office, we never realized there were so many members of those groups who actually bought fight tickets and pay-per-view subscriptions. But I guess you learn something new all the time. If this fight doesn’t produce big numbers, it won’t be because of THAT.

Subsequent to the whole mess, Pacquiao gave the papal wave and said that “I love you all with the love of the Lord. God bless you all and I’m praying for you.”

Okay, now that we’ve got THAT covered, here are the boxing betting numbers as they have been posted at America’s Bookie on this fight:

Manny Pacquiao -200
Timothy Bradley +160

Over 10.5 Rounds -375
Under 10.5 Rounds +275

This bout between Pacquiao, who has a record of 57-6-2 with 38 KO’s, and Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KO’s) isn’t even for a world championship. It is scheduled or twelve rounds, for sure, but it will be for the WBO International welterweight title. Whatever…..those things don’t mean a whole lot these days when you are talking about the “marquee” level of fighter. Pacquiao is there right now, and Bradley would like to be. The California native has added to his cachet with victories over Juan Manuel Marquez and previously undefeated Jesse Vargas, although he did sustain a draw more than a year ago against Diego Chaves.

Don’t look for knockout blows in this fight; Pacquiao last stopped an opponent inside the distance back in 2009, in a ferocious fight against Miguel Cotto. Bradley isn’t really a knockout puncher to begin with; he has, in the past, had a tendency to throw his straighter punches earlier in bouts, delivering them in more of a roundhouse fashion later. Pacquiao hasn’t fought since last May’s unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather, and that is a part of where the additional back story on “selling” this fight comes from.

Mayweather is “retired,” and of course there are no shortage of rumors that he’ll come back for at least one more fight. A date with Gennady Golovkin, one of the middleweight champions, doesn’t really seem all that practical, so naturally Pacquiao’s name is being floated. There are better fights that can be had from an aesthetic standpoint, but seriously, where are these guys going to make a ton of money except against each other?

And of course, Pac-backers have always tried to keep alive the idea that Floyd’s win wasn’t all that legit because of their man’s shoulder “injury” that he took into the fight. Oh, and Teddy Atlas (Bradley’s trainer) and Freddie Roach (Pacquiao’s trainer) don’t like each other too much, and that has evolved into a war of words as well (more on that in a future column).

Our concern, for the purposes of THIS piece, is not necessarily to pick a winner, or to offer an opinion on the over/under, but rather, to have a wager that will put us on the plus side. And for that, we are going to turn to the “Final Result” options at America’s Bookie. We don’t see where Bradley is going to have enough offense or power to gain a decisive advantage over Pacquiao, and at the same time we’re thinking that no one is exiting this one early. Therefore, we can, in effect, reduce the price on Pacquiao, from where it stands now (-200) to -140, if we pick the Filipino great to win this one specifically by decision. In the CJ / AB Challenge, that’s where we are headed.

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