The rematch between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley takes place Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The bout will be televised by HBO PPV. Here are predictions from the media.
It's another nail-biter with Pacquiao and Bradley waging a fight of the year type bout. I just think Bradley is on the upswing, swelling with confidence after his two recent wins while Pacquiao is on the way down. As a result, I see Bradley controlling the bout with his superior boxing ability and winning a split decision, further nudging Pacquiao off the stage of the world's top fighters.
- Mitch Abramson, New York Daily News
Pacquiao W 12 Bradley: What's the saying about awakening a sleeping giant? Bradley has been on the verbal offensive lately, and may be one of the few Pacquiao opponents to have succeeded in crawling under the Filipino Congressman's skin. If, as Bradley says, the Pacquiao fire has been extinguished lately - "Desert Storm" has rekindled it. Look for a refocused, aggressive "Pac-Man" to force the issue - disregarding Bradley's average punching power. He'll hurt Bradley early, put him in a defensive posture for much of the fight, and survive the late-rounds rally to win a split decision.
- Matthew Aguilar, El Paso Times
Pacquiao via decision. I see Bradley trying to prove something after the controversy of their first encounter and being drawn into the trenches by the refocused Filipino. The superior speed and work-rate of Pacquiao earns him the nod. The ‘couch scorecard’ of C.J. Ross does not count.
- Mark Butcher, Boxing Monthly
Although he was clearly handled by Pacquiao in their first meeting -- despite the judges' scores -- the ensuing two years have been kinder to Bradley, who has evolved into a versatile and dynamic boxer with the fearlessness of a puncher. Bradley wins close split decision in a true pick 'em fight.
- Brian Campbell, ESPN.com
In picking a fight, we often talk about physical assets and strengths. But I think this fight has a lot to do with each fighter's mindset. Particularly, Pacquiao's. Manny Pacquiao has to win this fight, and he knows it. What he also knows, is that he won the first fight. (I also had him winning the fight) That is a huge advantage in a rematch. On the flip side, despite everything he has been saying, I believe that Timothy Bradley is not really sure he won that first fight. This may be Pacquiao's last great night in the ring. But he will have a great night Saturday, winning a clear unanimous decision over Bradley.
-Bobby Cassidy, Newsday
Pacquiao by decision. Manny Pacquiao will prove this time that he is the best between the two, but it won’t be easy because Bradley is also looking for respect among boxing fans. It will be a much closer fight than the first one.
-Eduard Cauich, Hoy!
I expect a closer fight than the first one (scorecards be damned), as Bradley should have two good wheels for this one and is coming off the biggest (legitimate) win of his career. However, the loss to Bradley still stings Pacquiao and I expect to see the killer instinct finally return. Pacquiao should hurt and drop Bradley, but Bradley will have his moments, coming up just short. Pacquiao by Split Decision
- Mike Coppinger, RingTV.com
Tough call. Regardless of how people saw their first meeting, I think Bradley knows how to fight Pacquiao. And he only got better with those fights against Ruslan and Juan Manuel. So unless he gets caught early, I see the fight lasting the distance. Anybody's game. Pacquiao wins on points and we're on to a third fight.
- Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star
I like Pacquiao in a split decision close fight. Manny will be aggressive but Bradley will be better than the first time they met. The judges will also be better, and that will give Manny the win.
- Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press
Manny Pacquiao really does lose this time on a split points decision. The styles don't gel. Pacquiao will want a war, Bradley will pick his shots. This is not the Manny Pacquiao of three years ago, tearing a strip off every opponent. There is a reason why Bradley is unbeaten. He finds a way. If it is God's will, Pacquiao could earn a decision victory. I had him winning 117-111 first time around against Bradley.
- Gareth A. Davies, The Daily Telegraph
Hopeless romantics will want Manny Pacquiao to return to his best, as the awesome force that swirled so violently in 2009 and 2010. But since letting Margarito go the distance, his high-five fest with Mosley, the loss to Bradley, the knockout by Marquez and his failure to stop Rios – who took a lot of punishment – then it is hard to see him returning to his best at the age of 35. Bradley, as he has consistently shown, is a hard nut to crack. And while I think Pacquiao won last time, I don't think he will this time. Bradley on points.
- Tris Dixon, Boxing News
I was one of the few to pick Bradley by split decision the first time they fought - yet feel like I got it wrong, given the controversial nature of the final decision. This time, Tim leaves no doubt, winning an 8-4 type of fight. Bradley by Unanimous Decision.
- Jake Donovan, BoxingScene.com
It will be a great fight. Bradley should not be underrated. Pacquiao will win because he still is fast and he learned from the Marquez knockout
- Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times
Pacquiao might not be all that he was, and Bradley clearly is ascending, although I'm not sure that the intersection of those career paths has been reached. It would be no shocker if Bradley would make it 2-for-2 over "Pac-Man," this one truly legitimate and beyond dispute. The guess here, though, is that Pacquiao still has enough tread on his tires to win on points, but close -- majority or split decision.
- Bernard Fernandez, The Ring / TheSweetScience.com
I think Bradley will clearly outmanuever and outhustle Pacquiao in the majority of rounds, but a more intense and focused Pacman than the version Timmy faced in 2012 will have some strong moments in the fight. I think Pacquiao will rock Bradley at least once; he might score a knockdown. This will make the fight close on the official scorecards. I think most of the media will score the fight for Bradley, but the majority of the public will believe that Pacquiao once again deserved the nod. Bradley by Majority or Split Decision.
- Doug Fischer, RingTV.com
While I agree with the masses that Pacquiao deserved to win the first go-round in 2012, I also think the intervening two years have been kinder to Bradley. Particularly in his Marquez fight, he showed the varied skills he'll need to handle a Manny who's either still what he was back then, or a trifle diminished. He's got speed, he's got guts and he's got the patience and the smarts to stick to a game plan that might make for a dull fight... but a successful ending. Give me Tim by a close decision, 115-113 let's say, and get ready for the third match
- Lyle Fitzsimmons, CBSSports.com
Manny Pacquiao by Unanimous Decision. Pacquiao figures to get the scorecard victory he should have got the first time, but it won't be as easy as nearly everybody but two judges thought it was. Above all, Timothy Bradley is a survivor. He's not the best of his generation, but he has unrivaled versatility and smarts. To wit: He knows how to win the close ones. He beat Ruslan Provodnikov with blood-and-guts. Then, he beat Juan Manuel Marquez with tactics and patience. Show him a style and he'll come up with adjustments for just enough points on the cards. That's the challenge that awaits Pacquiao.
There's talk Pacquiao has lost his edge. The theory is he's grown too compassionate for his craft. Who knows? But he is older. That we do know. At 35, his reflexes aren't as quick as they were. But they're still quick enough to confuse, elude and score if he understands the differences and has learned how to make his own adjustments. It's a process that can transform a young lion into a mature one. Different, yet still a lion. The guess here is that Pacquiao has made the transition and will deliver the proof on April 12.
- Norm Frauenheim, The Ring / 15Rounds,com
Bradley has matured as a fighter and will be much better prepared. Pacquiao seems a little too overconfident. Bradley by Decision.
- Leighton Ginn, The Desert Sun
This definitely won't be an easy fight for Pacquiao or Bradley. It looks like it will go 12 rounds again and if it does, expect Pacquiao to emerge victorious this time. I'm not ruling out a stoppage win by Pacquiao though,. if indeed he is training like hell, Bradley is going to be in trouble. Pacquiao by KO within ten rounds. If he lands a perfect punch early, the fight will be over in four.
- Nick Giongco, Manila Bulletin
Bradley's "victory" in the first fight, one of the more dumbfounding decisions in recent memory, informs the rematch with a built-in storyline. Problem is, it doesn't make it a more competitive fight. I love Bradley. I think he's a Hall of Famer. But Pacquiao is the worst possible matchup for him: just as fast and better defensively. It says here Pacquiao wins -- again -- in a fight that plays out much like the first. Pacquiao by unanimous decision.
- Bryan Armen Graham, Guardian U.S.
They say Manny Pacquiao has lost a lot in his advanced age. But why? Because he was too aggressive in a loss to Juan Manuel Marquez? Because judges gave Bradley a split decision that belonged to Pacquiao? That's not proof of any large lost steps. Bradley is the best athlete Pacquiao has faced. If Pacquiao also winds up out-boxed, then we can say he's lost a step. But that seems less than likely. Pacquiao by 10th Round TKO.
- Nick Groke, Denver Post
I am one of the few boxing writers who didn't think Bradley's decision over Pacquiao was that outrageous. Bradley seems to have improved since their last fight and I expect this long-awaited return will be close. No doubt Manny will have learned much from his first meeting with Tim and that will probably be enough to get him revenge - but once again I expect it to go to the judges.
- Colin Hart, Hall of Fame Journalist
Manny Pacquiao by Unanimous Decision over Timothy Bradley. A motivated, rejuvenated Pacquiao will beat Bradley again, but this time he’ll get the decision he deserves. It won’t be as easy for Pacquiao as their first fight, though. Bradley’s ankle and foot injuries were big factors for much of that 12-round fight. A healthier Bradley will win rounds in this rematch and already has proven he can take Pacquiao’s power. His willingness to trade, especially at close range, still will cost Bradley valuable points on the scorecards. He’ll have his moments. He just won’t win enough rounds to come out ahead in what should be a highly competitive fight.
-Keith Idec, The Record
Bradley W12 — I believe Bradley’s confidence has soared after his wins over Provodnikov and Marquez. Bradley will avoid the ropes and keep the fight in the center of the ring, where his jab, lateral movement and boxing ability will carry the day.
- Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports
I thought Pacman won the first fight, of course, and think he’ll not only win the rematch, he’ll get the decision.
- Michael Katz, Hall of Fame Journalist
Manny by TKO in the 11th round.
- Mark Kriegel, Author of The Good Son: The Life of Ray Mancini
I like Pacquiao by hard-fought decision in what is a very good fight. I think this time around Manny doesn't let up in the late rounds and continues to punch in volume throughout
- Steve Kim, MaxBoxing.com
Bradley by decision. Will be easier the second time around
-Thom Loverro, The Washington Times
Mark it down, Manny by decision. Almost the KO, but settles for a unanimous decision.
-Chris Maathuis, KLAS-TV
PACQUIAO BY UNANIMOUS DECISION. I had Manny up by 2 rounds in their first fight. Even though he out-landed Bradley, in the middle rounds his activity level slumped after the 6th stanza. Manny is inspired for this one and I believe he will consistently press the attack this time around. In their first fight, Bradley was often able to slip Pacquiao's 3rd and 4th punches. The Pacman has to change that on Saturday night and score his signature long combinations. Pacquiao has no respect for Bradley's power - which is both a plus and a minus. The minus is, of course, that Bradley could surprise him with a potent counter-right. The plus is that the power differential will make Pacquiao more comfortable staying in the pocket and throwing punches in bunches. Either way, I can't wait for this one - two amazing fighters and ambassadors for boxing.
- Gordon Marino, The Wall Street Journal
Based on his dynamic boxing ability and his will to do whatever it takes to win, and the age difference, Bradley. Based on his amazing career and his ability to reinvent himself, and the old saying that every great fighter has one great fight left in him, Pacquaio.
- Larry Merchant, Hall of Fame Journalist
My feeling at the moment, before seeing the fighters next week, is a late stoppage by Pacquiao. So much to prove, too much to lose, so much to gain…..and will feel he can’t trust leaving it to the judges this time.
- Jeff Powell, Daily Mail
I think it will be a close fight again, but I will be rooting for my friend Manny Pacquaio. He needs to prove to everybody that he won this fight already the first time around, and I think he will!
- Ruslan Provodnikov, WBO junior welterweight champion
Pacquiao won the first fight easily and got robbed of the decision. In the rematch, he will get the decision. Pacquiao W12.
-Dan Rafael, ESPN.com
Tim Bradley by Split Decision : This will happen if Bradley fights the way that he did in his last appearance, which was the split-decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez. If Bradley does that, then the only reason for him not to get the decision is if the judges get it wrong, like they did in Bradley-Pacquiao I, which I saw as a close fight and had Pacquiao winning, 115-113. I Bradley is all there, mentally, I see a scenario similar to Michael Spinks' repeat victories over Larry Holmes.
- Lem Satterfield, RingTV.com
Both fighters have something to prove in this one, but I believe Pacquiao has a greater need to win. His career is on the line. Unless Bradley decides to go toe-to-toe with Manny and slug it out, which I don’t think he will – I see him using Marquez’s counterpunching strategy and try to catch him as JMM did -- I have no doubt that Manny will outwork him and prevail by unanimous decision.
- Bob Velin, USA Today
I think Tim Bradley will win another split decision, this one not as controversial, because he can box, move and take a punch -- all prerequisites for dealing with Pacquiao.
- Mark Whicker, Orange County Register
Despite being viciously concussed during his fight with Ruslan Provodnikov, Timothy Bradley has gotten better, arguably a lot better, since he and Pacman faced off. Bradley in his last bout against Juan Manuel Marquez, proved to be master of his domain. He owns a newfound and potent brand of confidence which will show up on April 12. I see every round being ultra-close, and another judging snafu is entirely possible. For that reason, two of the three will punt, and we will see a draw. Yep, like kissin' yer cousin...Which sets us up for a third tangle, which will get done after Manny and Marquez meet yet again!
- Michael Woods, TheSweetScience.com / ESPNNewYork.com
Total - Pacquiao 23 / Bradley 13