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PacquiaoBradley Hogan 2 There's no doubting its impact within the boxing fraternity. The recent showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley is the most talked about boxing event of recent times. “The decision,” as it's been aptly named, is well on its way to becoming the most infamous decision announced by three judges since Pernell Whitaker was declared to have been the equal of Julio Cesar Chavez back in 1993. Heck, it may have even eclipsed that, placing it on a pedestal alongside the decision that was Leonard versus Hagler of 1987…..I think you get the idea.

Having only touched on the subject very briefly in my last two short pieces for TSS, and as a result of many of our regular readers -and some new-taking the time to comment on some of my recent statements -which I feel were not in any way outlandish-I thought I'd take this time to go into a little more detail explaining myself regarding my views on the fight that was, and also in the event of a possible rematch between our two men of the hour.

Allow me to make one thing perfectly clear. In a crowded house on fight night, surrounded by a talkative family and blessed with a Primetime feed that just so happened to glorify everything Pacquiao did {I'm English remember, so no slick HBO for me!} I initially felt Pacquiao won the fight, by a margin of around eight rounds to four. The following day however, with a clear head and no sound to diminish or enhance an opinion, I re-watched the fight and found it to be of a close nature. Eventually, having obtained a high definition version of the fight, I decided to score it for myself.After yet another viewing, again minus the sound, I scored the fight 6 rounds apiece…even… a draw. It's a score that I've now settled on after achieving the same result multiple times after repeated viewings {I must have watched it five or six times now…. I need to get out more, I know}. The point being, at no time did I ever declare that Timothy Bradley won the fight. In all honesty, I don't have a problem with those who think Bradley won the fight, nor do I have a problem with the vast majority of people who felt Pacquiao did. What I do have a problem with though, is those who saw it as a one-sided massacre in Pacquiao's favour. Scores of 119-109 for Pacquiao are, quite frankly, absurd to say the least. To suggest Bradley only won a single round in this fight is ridiculous. It was close and it was competitive.

Here is my round by round breakdown:

Round 1: Bradley
Round 2: Bradley
Round 3: Pacquiao
Round 4: Pacquiao
Round 5: Pacqiuao
Round 6: Pacquiao
Round 7: Bradley
Round 8: Pacquiao
Round 9: Pacquiao
Round 10: Bradley
Round 11: Bradley
Round 12: Bradley

As you can see, I viewed it as an extremely close fight where the decision could have gone one way or the other. Of the twelve rounds I scored, I felt only two of them were decisive. I believe only two rounds out of the twelve could have been scored by a boxing novice, those being round four for Pacquiao and round ten for Bradley.Apart from round seven,which was close and could very well have been reversed, I considerd the rest of the rounds to have been closely contested in which there was a winner, but not by a huge margin.

Now, moving onto the comments that seemed to have ignited hellfire and brimstone, namely Pacquiao being figured out and Bradley being able to dominate the rematch.By looking at my scorecard, you will see a pattern that does not frequently occur -Bradley won the first two rounds on my scorecard, then did not win consecutive rounds until the tenth round of the fight. In my eyes, this is a clear indication of something out of the ordinary that took place during the fight, which was Bradley's early foot injury. Here's why:

Rounds 1-2~

During the first two rounds -unlike some of Pacquiao's more stationary welterweight opponents- we saw Bradley utilising a lot of movement. As Pacquiao was advancing, Bradley clearly made a point of moving to his left. Pacquiao's offense in the first two rounds -his right hand followed by his left straight, or his straight left lead- was met with Bradley sliding off to Manny's right, and away from the left hand. Regardless of what many think {yes I'm talking to “three big booms” Lampley here}Pacquiao only landed his straight left hand once in the first round. At least cleanly. To sum up, I thought Bradley isolated Pacquiao's ambushes in the first two rounds using his feet. The blueprint looked to be set in stone for him -a counterpunching strategy that used Pacquiao's aggression against him.

Rounds 3-9~

Disaster struck for Bradley. With the injury to his foot {or feet} Bradley could no longer replicate what he was able to achieve in rounds one and two. Instead, we saw Bradley having to stand in range with Pacquiao, where he was forced to exchange with some of the fastest hands in all of boxing. Bradley, due to the pain which was evident on his face, was no longer able to use his legs to motor himself out of Pacquiao's range. Apart from the seventh, Pacquiao swept rounds three through nine.

Rounds 10-12:

With the pain seemingly under control, Bradley began neutralizing Pacquiao's lunges again with his feet. Using his jab -which seemed to go completely unnoticed- and his footwork, Bradley kept Pacquiao off balance by pivoting off of his front foot in a clockwise motion, away from Manny's back hand.

Because I felt Bradley won rounds one, two, ten, eleven and twelve -rounds where he was not in pain and could use his footwork- I think barring his injury in the second round, Bradley may have won this fight decisively. I had my doubts over Bernard Hopkins' shoulder injury against Chad Dawson,as did I with David Haye's broken toe and the alleged pain he was under during his twelve rounds with Wladimir Klitschko. There is no doubt in my mind however, as to how legitimate Tim Bradley's injuries were, nor is there any doubt as to how much pain he was in. There he was, in the biggest fight of his life, unable to use his legs for seven rounds against a fighter in which footwork and mobility is the key to unlocking him. Bradley was clearly suffering from the third to the ninth round.However, it was during those seven rounds,where Bradley had to go to plan B and plan C -you could clearly see it, and because of that, we got an idea of just how versatile Bradley is. Something, I believe, that does not bode well for Manny in the rematch.

I'm a firm believer that Bradley is one of boxing's finest technicians, even though many seem to disagree with the notion. Agreed, his punches do not flow like that of Juan Manuel Marquez' nor do his opponent's deflect off of him like Floyd Mayweather. Bradley's best asset in my eyes though, his boxing brain, is vastly underrated. Lets just forget about Bradley's injuries for a moment and ask yourself this. After the fourth round, did Pacquiao's left hand land with any regularity, if at all? I don't think it did. And it's because of the subtle adjustments Bradley made. After the fourth round {a round in which Bradley admitted to being hurt in} Pacquiao's left hand -regardless of what Primetime or HBO said- did not land clean again for the remainder of the fight -that's eight rounds where Pacquiao was unable to land his primary weapon -his only fight ending weapon- and five rounds in which Bradley was a wounded animal yet Pacquiao still couldn't hunt him down to a finish.If you look at the film again, you will see four adjustments Bradley made to negate Pacquiao's left handed attack throughout the fight.

Pre Injury: Initially, Bradley's footwork was his primary evasive action. Moving to his left, thus eliminating any left hand threat.

Foot injury: Unable to move, Bradley went to plan B, which was to use his blocking skills. Pacquiao throws two types of left hands at two different ranges. The first, in close, is swept around the guard and aimed towards the right side of an opponent's head, and the second, thrown at mid-range, is thrown straight down the middle, towards the centre of an opponent's chin. Bradley negated the first by getting inside and covering the side of his head with the outside of his right glove, and the second by bending at the waist and covering his chin with an open glove which he used to parry Pacquiao's left hand. Bradley adjusted his guard depending on Pacquiao's angle and range. Another look at the film, and you will see Bradley continually catching Pacquiao's left hand with an open mitt.

Bradley also negated the left hand through head movement. As Pacquiao lunged in, Bradley simply dipped low enough, so that Pacquiao's momentum would allow him to land on top of Bradley's back, thus forcing the official to call break.

Post foot injury: Moving again, Bradley was able to use a counter left hook as he slid off to his left. This -along with his jab- was Bradley's most effective evasive action. As Pacquiao leaned in with the straight left hand, Bradley was off to the side, throwing a well timed left hook over Manny's right shoulder. Don't be fooled by Bradley's aesthetics, only a technician learns and adapts during a fight.

Within the last batch of comments at the end of my last article, one of our TSS readers made a good analogy when he suggested the rematch could go like Lewis-Rahman. Suggesting that Pacquiao, like Lewis did, may have learned his lesson, and will be able to adapt and win a rematch in spectacular fashion. I have to respectfully disagree with that analogy. And here's why. Lennox Lewis, unlike Pacquiao, was the technician between him and Rahman. In their first fight, an underprepared Lewis was brutally stopped by a heavyweight puncher. In the rematch, Lewis did his home work. He knew that Rahman, a one-dimensional slugger, blocked a jab by flailing his arms out and moving to his left. knowing this, Lewis walked Rahman onto a right hand, and the rest was history. Lewis, an astute student of boxing, knew how to tailor his style to suit an opponent.As I've said before, I consider Pacquiao to have one of the best A games in boxing. His “in and out” offensive attack is usually enough to get the job done against most opponents and in particular, those who opt to stand right in front of him within punching range. Nevertheless, I believe Pacquiao struggles to adapt and adjust if things are not going his way.I question Pacquiaio's -and Freddie Roach's for that matter- ability to come up with a plan B or C during a fight.

In my last piece, I referenced the Lewis-Holyfield scenario {their first fight was a disputed draw, in which Lewis clearly won and the second was closer but Lewis was awarded the decision} as how the Bradley-Pacquiao rematch may go down. Point being, Bradley may actually dominate the rematch, but judges, feeling Pacquiao was harshly treated last time, may actually award Pacquiao the decision {I believe we are in for another twelve rounder, more on that in a moment}.

A better analogy however, is the Jean Pascal-Bernard Hopkins fights. During their first fight, Hopkins, a technician, was stunned and hurt early by Pascal, who is a superior offensive fighter, with better athleticism. Pascal though, can be considered one dimensional. After Hopkins figured him out during the fifth round, he never lost a round for the rest of the fight. This carried into the rematch as Hopkins was able to neutralize Pascal from the get go. Despite the first fight being a draw, Hopkins dominated the rematch. I consider Bradley to be in a similar situation to Bradley. In my eyes, Pacquiao won the first half of the fight, but Bradley, after recuperating from his leg injury and making subtle adjustments, won the second half of the fight. This to me, suggests that Bradley has figured something out -remember,Pacquiao barely landed his left hand after the fourth round.

One of the most common perceptions I've heard and read is that Pacquiao will be able to get the knockout in the rematch. Look, I don't mean to rain on Manny's parade or anything like that, truth is I'm a bigger fan of Pacquiao's than I am of Bradley's, but I just don't see him being able to get the knockout in the rematch. Pacquiao's last six fights, in case you've forgotten, have all gone the full twelve rounds. Pacquiao's vaunted power at welterweight,I'm afraid to say,is vastly overrated. Pacquiao hit Bradley flush in the fourth round. Bradley was able to recover and claim Kendal Holt hit harder. I also don't buy into Shane Mosley saying Pacquiao's power is something else. If Pacquiao's power really was something else, then Mosley wouldn't have been there mythologizing fables. Did Thomas Hearns' opponents stand there at the end of the fight telling the world how hard he hit? No, they were being scraped off the canvas. That's how we knew Hearns was a hitter at welterweight. With Pacquiao not having scored a stoppage in his last half dozen fights and with his primary fight ending weapon not landing with any regularity since the Antonio Margarito fight, I think the Rubik's cube that was Pacquiao, is now something far less complicated, especially since he's started his inevitable decline.

Pacquiao, like Roy Jones, Naseem Hamed and Muhammad Ali did, relies heavily on his physical gifts like speed, athleticism and explosiveness. Look at Pacquiao against Oscar De la Hoya. You will see a fighter who has clearly lost a step in speed, reflexes and most notably, stamina. When was the last time Pacquiao was ever outworked throughout a twelve round fight before Bradley threw more punches than him last time out? Try never. It's obvious to me, that Pacquiao was performing that old Ray Leonard trick of trying to catch the the judges eye by turning it on for the last minute of every round. A clear indication that he is no longer capable of re-producing his frenetic pace of his featherweight days. Without volume, Pacquiao just isn't the same fighter. It's why haven't seen vintage Pacquiao since 2009.

Consequently, I think a rematch with Bradley would be a bad decision for Pacquiao. Bradley, to me, looked to have figured out Pacquiao's attack pattern -namely his side to side head movement, followed by a right hand….right, straight left combination. It became a case of rinse and repeat as the fight went on as Pacquiao seemed to lack any variation in his attack. One thing I did notice during the last fight, was the rare occasions when he threw it, Pacquiao seemed to have some success with the uppercut. Maybe that's something Pacquiao and Roach could pick up on if there's a rematch. On the other hand, it's not hard to imagine Bradley, just as he eventually did with Pacquiao's straight left, to figure the shot out and adjust accordingly. Again, I consider Bradley to be a boxing chameleon. Only a technician can adapt and re-adjust to the situation at hand.

I stand by my belief that if there's to be a rematch, Timothy Bradley will dominate. Pacquiao, who does not seem to be able to adjust during a fight, struggles against moving targets. The direction of Pacquiao's attack becomes lineal against fighters who are not overly aggressive and who counter movement with movement, fire with fire. Look at Pacquiao's attack angles against David Diaz, Oscar De La Hoya, Antonio Margarito and Miguel Cotto, then contrast his angles against Erik Morales, Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley and Timothy Bradley -you will notice Pacquiao becomes a pressurizing stalker against the latter group, yet against the former, Pacquiao was like a wasp, moving in, out and around his stationary targets.

A fully fit Bradley will be moving off at angles, not allowing Pacquiao to launch his four-five-six punch combinations that we've become accustomed to seeing him throw against his more stationary opponents {whom Pacquiao is a killer against}. I'm of the opinion, just as Bernard Hopkins did with Jean Pascal, that Timothy Bradley has a clear understanding on how to neutralize Manny's best weapons -his left hand, movement and angles-heading into the rematch.

And yet, having said all this,I would not be at all suprised if Pacquiao was given the decision, as a result of how the first fight was deemed a robbery. I hope I'm proved wrong, but the recent re-judging by the WBO has, I feel, only but enhanced my logic.

I look foward to hearing your response, TSS Universe. Thanks for reading.

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