Big fight weeks in boxing are unlike anything else in sports. The grind of covering a fight like tonight's bout between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley makes you go a little crazy as you analyze the same fights over and over wondering what is and isn't a reasonable takeaway for what each man will be able to do to the other.
I came into the week having been very vocal on Twitter and everywhere else that I was picking Bradley to pull off the upset. Despite saying it for months, as I broke down the fight and did "film study" of both guys' recent work, I flipped to thinking Manny would win before settling back in on a Bradley by decision pick (which you can read in my preview of the bout).
Here's a round-up of last minute news and thoughts as we head toward the show:
- If Manny wins, I think it's going to be a convincing win. I think he's either going to outclass Bradley for a stoppage or a wide decision win. I can see Bradley winning a hard-fought, close decision, but I can't really see Manny barely surviving. Then again, I couldn't really see that against Marquez last November either...and here we are.
- It looks like the ticket sales aren't blowing anyone away as there just isn't a huge buzz for this fight like there has been for previous Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather bouts. The place where that really becomes an issue is in any possible negotiations for Pacquiao vs. Mayweather. With Floyd just doing huge business against Miguel Cotto, both at the gate and on PPV, if Manny follows that up with a "down" show in terms of drawing power, it's only going to reaffirm Floyd's position that he deserves a bigger chunk and that there won't be a 50/50 split. Then again, as I keep trying to remind everyone, Floyd vs. Manny is almost certainly not happening anyway. So let's move on from that.
- There has been some debate over how Manny looked at the weigh-ins yesterday with some people saying he looks a bit out of shape. You know, as out of shape as a 147 pound boxer with clearly visible muscle covering his body can be. It was the highest mark Pacquiao has weighed in at exactly the welterweight limit (147) which is the heaviest he's ever come in to a fight, usually coming in to welterweight bouts around 144-145. His physique also looks a bit different, but it's impossible to tell from just the weigh-in if he's "in shape" or not. Once we see things get into the 5th, 6th, 7th round, we'll have a better idea of how everything is going down.
- The talk has already started about if Mayweather will fight Bradley, should Tim pull off the massive upset. Bradley is making it clear that he doesn't think Floyd will fight him. Of course, a lot of the same things will be at play for a potential Bradley/Mayweather fight that have been for years with Mayweather/Pacquiao. Mayweather and Bob Arum do not like each other, Golden Boy and Top Rank have trouble working together and I sincerely doubt that the purse split would be offered in any way that would make the Bradley/Top Rank side willing to take the fight instead of just trying to build him into their own star without the risk that a Mayweather fight would represent.
- I wish the undercard was a bit better. It's built in a "keep the Top Rank darlings safe" fashion with Guillermo Rigondeaux, Mike Jones and Jorge Arce being given opponents that should be reasonably easy for them. Arce is one of my favorite fighters on Earth and can't seem to keep himself from getting into exciting fights, so I'll keep some high hopes for that fight even though he should cruise.
We'll have much more on the fights, so keep your browser locked in.