Pacquiao to make a point
Our Simon Crawford believes Manny Pacquiao will gain revenge over Timothy Bradley when they clash this weekend.
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He may be on the decline but there is no doubt that Manny Pacquiao is still one of the biggest names in world boxing.
At the age of 35 his best years may now be behind him - although I certainly would not want to be the one to suggest that to him - but he undoubtedly remains a box office attraction.
His career has simply been glittering - 55 wins in 62 fights (five defeats and two draws) with 38 knockouts - and he is the only eight-division world champion.
His scalps include Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton, Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley which is almost a 'who's who of boxing'.
But this weekend he faces WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas and for one of the rare occasions since turning professional in 1995, he is out to avenge a defeat.
The two first clashed back in June 2012 when unbeaten 30-year-old Bradley (31-0 12KOs) edged a controversial split points decision to hand a stunned Pacquiao a first defeat in seven years.
The Filipino appeared to have done more than enough to take the decision, despite slowing down in the later stages, but was left stunned as two judges scored the bout 115-113 to the unbeaten Bradley and one handed the win to Pacquiao by the same score
His career then looked to have hit the buffers when he was sensationally knocked out by Marquez in his next outing, but last time out Pacquiao got back to winning ways with a points win over Brandon Rios.
People still claim Pacquiao won that first meeting so both will enter the ring on Saturday evening with a point to prove - Bradley will want to show that it was no fluke and that he is the justified champion, while Pacquiao will be looking to set the record straight and show that he can still compete at the top.
Bradley's credentials should not be brought into question as, since he won the coveted WBO strap, he has outpointed tough Russian Ruslan Provodnikov and warhorse Marquez in demanding title defences.
The Californian is full of confidence that he can beat Pacquiao for a second time and perhaps even send him into retirement.
"I got the win but it felt like I lost because I didn't get any credit from the fans and it's important to get the credit from the fans. I feel I need to showcase myself and win by a large margin," said Bradley, the former WBO and two-time WBC light-welterweight champion.
"I am telling you man, both of us have a lot to prove in this fight. The reason why Pacquiao really needs to win this fight - because if he loses this fight, think about it - his career might be over."
Pacquiao has been irked by that suggestion and insists that he will be the one with his hand raised at the end of the rematch.
"I'm always thinking about his (Bradley's) challenge that to me that I don't have that killer instinct or hunger anymore," said Pacquiao.
"So I have to prove that to him and to myself. I will show him my speed and my power.
"I feel that in my physical body that I can still fight and that's what I believe."
My personal belief is that Pacquiao did edge that first contest but made a poor error of judgement by taking his foot off the gas in the later rounds.
I think revenge will play a part in his motivation, but most of all he thinks he has more big fights in him so that fear of losing and having to hang up his gloves will really spur him on.
Bradley is a skillful fighter, quick and elusive but lacks the power to seriously trouble Pacquiao so he will look to box on the counter - land his shots and then get back out of range.
Pacquiao showed in the first fight he is the better all-round package in terms of footwork, handspeed and power and, for me, he will win this fight providing he is fully motivated.
That has been questioned in the past but I think an overwhelming sense of injustice in not being given the decision in the first fight gives him the edge.
Bradley will dig deep but I see Pacquiao dominating the later rounds and running out a convincing points winner.
The layers also believe Pacquiao will dethrone the champion and the best you will get on him is 4/7, while Bradley can be backed at around 7/4.
But I'm going to dip into the method of victory market and take Pacquiao to win via decision or technical decision.