Entries in Timothy Bradley (51)
by Kieran Mulvaney
Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios - Photo Credit: Will Hart
All kinds of prognosticators are weighing in on this week's fight between Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios. Many say that Pacquiao, the favorite, possesses a skill set that will simply outclass Rios. Others counter that Rios was built to absorb punishment, and that Pacquiao may still be haunted by the crushing punch that knocked him out against Juan Manuel Marquez last December.
But what do the real experts think? Here's how a selection of past and present fighters see the bout shaping up.
Terence Crawford (lightweight contender):
I've got to go with Pacquiao. Because Rios, he's going to take a lot of punishment coming in.
Ruslan Provodnikov (junior welterweight title holder):
To be honest with you, strategically, politically, it would be good for me if Brandon Rios won the fight. But I'm going to be rooting for Manny Pacquiao. I spent two months with him in training camp. We're very close. He's a great, great person, and I think that he will come back after his last fight, and he has still has a good amount of time left.
Mike Alvarado (junior welterweight contender, Rios opponent):
That's a really good fight. Rios is going to push Pacquiao. He's going to make him adjust. I want Rios to win that fight, so when our trilogy happens it's like, "Hey, he just beat Pacquiao." But I don't know. I don't think he's going to beat Pacquiao. I laid out the blueprint for how to beat Rios. Pacquiao's going to be like, "I can box, I can move, I hit hard." But then again, we're waiting to see how Pacquiao recovers after losing to Marquez. That was a punishing blow; it might have a big effect on his career. We'll see.
Nonito Donaire (featherweight contender and former three-weight title holder):
If Pacquiao can return to a Pacquiao with focus, he'll overwhelm Rios with power and speed. But if he goes in with a shadow of a doubt in his mind after what happened to him in his previous fight, then Rios can overwhelm him with intensity and pressure. But I think that Pacquiao has the best chance of winning this fight, if he even gets just 50 percent of his focus back.
George Foreman (former two-time heavyweight champion):
I think it's going to be a 12-round decision and I give Pacquiao the hometown decision. How about a home-region decision.
Sugar Ray Leonard (former five-weight world champion):
I think Pacquiao will win although I give Rios a shot, a big shot. It's not going to be an easy fight. I'm picking Manny because he is Manny Pacquiao.
Timothy Bradley (welterweight title holder):
I've got Manny Pacquiao by a mid to late round KO. Eight rounds.
Marco Antonio Barrera (former three-weight title holder):
I think it is a complicated fight for both of them. You have Brandon Rios who comes straightforward and will apply the pressure on Manny. Then you have Manny who moves around the ring very well and picks and chooses his spots and comes at different angles and is a very strong fighter with a lot of speed. It's just going to be a tough fight for both of them.
by Kieran Mulvaney
The crowd booed, as it did the last time Timothy Bradley won a decision in Las Vegas. But on this occasion, unlike when Bradley was awarded a hugely disputed win over Manny Pacquiao last June, the catcalls were not sentinels of controversy. The crowd was there to support Juan Manuel Marquez, had cheered every punch of his that landed and even those that missed; many – perhaps most – of those supporters doubtless genuinely believed he had won. But although this was a close contest, the right man prevailed, as Bradley remained undefeated and retained his welterweight belt on a split decision.
It had been a bout that had simmered without ever truly exploding, but was no less commendable for that. This was twelve rounds of boxing of the highest quality, two experienced and skilled combatants looking to out-think, outsmart and out-punch each other in a contest of shifting momentum.
by Kieran Mulvaney
To judge from the reaction at Friday’s weigh-in at the Wynn Las Vegas, Timothy Bradley will be in hostile territory when he defends his welterweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez at the Thomas & Mack Arena on Saturday night. If Bradley’s reaction on the weigh-in stage is a guide, he won’t care one bit.
As the boos cascaded from the pro-Mexican crowd, Bradley cupped his hands to his ears, and then motioned for more, smiling the smile of a man who is more than happy to nurture the chip on his shoulder. After a few seconds, a small chant of “Bradley, Bradley, Bradley” began in one corner of the theater, spreading through a section until it briefly rivaled, but was ultimately overwhelmed by, competing cries of “Me-xi-co, Me-xi-co.”
It isn’t that Bradley is an especially hated figure. Notwithstanding the bizarre torrent of abuse he received for being awarded a dubious decision against Manny Pacquiao last year, there is – or at least should be – little if anything to hate. While he may not excel at any one component of his craft, he does most things very well, with an impressive adaptability that allows him alternately to box or, when he chooses, to engage in a slugfest as he did against Ruslan Provodnikov in his last outing. He also shows a disarming openness with the media – perhaps too much openness for his own good, as one wonders whether his comments about lingering speech and balance issues after the Provodnikov battle might weigh subconsciously on the mind of referee Robert Byrd should Bradley find the going especially tough at any point on Saturday.
It seems reasonable to infer that the boos were less an indictment of Bradley than a Pavlovian response to his role as the opponent of Juan Manuel Marquez, a fighter who has grown from being a relative also-ran among his contemporaries and compatriots to becoming a bona-fide star, to the extent that his support exceeded that of Manny Pacquiao when the two rivals last clashed 10 months ago. Marquez, like Bradley, has long been regarded as one of the honest brokers in a sport all-too-often bedeviled by slime - although his newly enhanced physique has raised eyebrows, and sparring between the two camps over what kind of testing would best establish that neither man had ingested anything more potent than Wheaties has provided the one real note of conflict in a promotion that has otherwise been noticeably civil.
It is almost invariably the case, however, that, for better or worse, by the time the two fighters step on to the scales and then stand face-to-face for the last time before they enter the ring, any controversies that may have dominated the storylines of the previous few weeks are forgotten and the focus is turned to the contest itself. It says a lot about Saturday’s matchup that prognosticators are almost equally split in predicting victory for Marquez, who weighed in at 144.5 pounds, and Bradley, who at 146 was one pound inside the welterweight limit.
Ultimately, however, such predictions, however varied, matter not one bit. There is a time for talking, and that time is now over. Marquez and Bradley exited the stage and returned to their respective suites, where they will sequester themselves for the next 24 hours, replenishing their bodies with food and liquid and preparing themselves mentally for the battle that lies just ahead.
Who holds the #KeyToVictory for this week's fight? We asked fans to weigh in on Twitter, and 74% of them feel that Juan Manuel Marquez holds the edge. Here's some more of what you had to say: