When Pacquiao and Bradley step through the ropes again tonight for the thirteenth round and a follow up to their controversial first fight, some things have changed in the months that have passed.
One thing has not; Bradley goes in as the underdog, even though he came out of the last fight as the victor.
Pacquiao has since been knocked out cold for the first time in his career, by the clinical boxer/puncher Juan Manuel Marquez, who then went on to fight Bradley who outboxed Marquez over the distance in a good fight.
Pacquiao then followed up the Marquez loss with a decent win over rugged brawler Brandon Rios, but in reality Rios was made for Pacquiao, who would get his shots off and get out of range; Rios just could not close him down.
Bradley had his mettle tested against a brawler of his own, Ruslan Provodnikov, who is similar to Rios in many ways, although the Russian is probably a better boxer overall.
Bradley decided not to box a clever fight against Provodnikov but to engage in a war and he almost paid dearly.
Provodnikov rocked Bradley to his boots several times but the Californian showed grit and determination in firing back at close range, a quality that many had not seen before in Bradley.
With all that has passed, and Bradley still undefeated, it seems odd that he should come in to the Pacquiao rematch as the underdog. Let’s not forget he won the first fight; it is not his fault if the judges saw it differently than the rest of the world.
One of the reasons Bradley is not favored in the Pacquiao rematch could be hia lack of punching power, with a 37% KO ratio coming from his 31 wins, whereas Pacquiao most definitely hits harder, with a 62% KO ratio coming from his 55 victories.
Also, the names Pacquiao has stopped or beaten, the who’s who of the boxing world in the last 10 years; Marquez, Barrera, Morales, De La Hoya, Cotto, Hatton, Mosley.
Marquez and Morales are the only two names there to have beaten Pacquiao and although Marquez stopped Manny in their oat recent encounter, the three fights they had beforehand were very good indeed.
The first was a blinder, the second was a scorcher, and the third was not bad, ending in a draw, win and a win for Pacquiao.
Morales beat Pacquiao the first time around and as a supreme boxer, that was expected. However, when rematch came around, Pacquiao stopped Morales in the tenth and in their third fight, he stopped "El Terrible" in the third round.
That is a key point; when Pacquiao was beaten and then he went in with a different game plan and different mind-set in the rematch, he got the job done in scintillating fashion.
If Pacquiao has that mindset, and a different gameplan, then I think Pacquiao will come out on top here, before the Provodnikov fight I would have said he would stop Bradley, but not now.
Pacquiao’s best days are more than likely behind him now but if he manages to recapture some of his former spark then it should be a win and it looks like nothing motivates more than a loss needing to be rectified.