By Eric Raskin
Seven months ago, Pacquiao and Bradley fought on the same blood-spattered canvas … just not at the same time.
Bradley fought Joel Casamayor in the final undercard bout leading up to Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez III last November, and victories for both prefight favorites on that evening set the stage for this Saturday’s high-stakes showdown.
Pacquiao’s triumph over Marquez that night was of the controversial variety, as the fight went the 12-round distance and opinions at ringside were mixed as to whether the Filipino superstar had done enough to prevail. In this way, it resembled the first two Pacquiao-Marquez fights, which were scored a draw and a split-decision win for Pacquiao, respectively. In the third go-round, Pacquiao came forward and initiated the action while Marquez stood his ground and counterpunched, with the action peaking in a thrilling ninth round. After 36 minutes of mentally and physically taxing pugilistic warfare, Marquez was certain he’d done enough to win, but the judges felt otherwise, awarding Pac-Man a majority decision win by scores of 114-114, 115-113, and 116-112.
Who deserved to win the fight? Relive the intense action and decide for yourself:
Fighting on Pacquiao’s undercard, Bradley had a much easier time of it against the faded Casamayor, ending a 10-month layoff with a dominant performance. Whether the match was specifically designed as a tune-up for a Pacquiao fight or not, it allowed Bradley to bank rounds against a veteran lefthander, and given Casamayor’s defensive approach and reputation for making fights ugly, “Desert Storm” produced as positive a result as could be expected. Bradley scored knockdowns in the fifth, sixth and eighth rounds. His steady effectiveness convinced the Cuban’s corner to halt the fight at the end of round eight, marking only the second stoppage defeat of Casamayor’s career.
It goes without saying that Casamayor is no Pacquiao, but there are certainly strategic insights to be gleaned from Bradley’s overcoming one southpaw style as he prepares to square off against another.