Widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Manny Pacquiao perhaps faces his toughest challenge to date next Saturday night, at 1/5 to beat American Timothy Bradley.
The Filipino, who has won 54 of his 59 professional fights, is the current welterweight champion, but enters the fight amidst controversy over his focus, amidst revelations of strict commitments to new-found religious beliefs.
His trainer Freddie Roach has played down suggestions that his mind will not be solely concentrated on the fight, and punters backing Pacquiao must hope this is the case in light of Bradley’s impressive credentials.
28 years old, Bradley has won 28 of his 29 pro bouts, and undoubtedly faces the best calibre of opponent he ever has done in Pacquiao.
What will encourage some to back the 7/2 shot though, is his ability to read his opponent, as proved in his battle with Englishman Junior Witter, when he initially claimed WBC light welterweight gold.
Former two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton is a fan of Bradley’s, and feels he has a chance to upset Pacquiao if he adheres to the style we are accustomed to seeing from him.
“Manny Pacquiao is the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world and he goes into this fight as the favourite but Timothy Bradley is a very slick and tidy boxer so this isn’t going to be an easy fight for him,” he told the Telegraph.
“I think style wise this could be an even better matchup than the recent fight between Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto. Mayweather is exceptional defensively and makes you miss but Pacquiao is a lot more exciting and when you put him in with Bradley style wise it makes for a great fight.”
Pacquiao does remain clear favourite for the fight however, and appears unfazed by his opponent, telling Reuters, “I am ready for toe-to-toe and we studied different techniques and different styles. Whatever he brings to the ring we can fight.”
With a potential meet with Floyd Mayweather Jr. to come though, Pacquiao would hope to win in a more emphatic fashion than looks likely next week.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.