Sports

Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley: Stop Saying Bradley Put Up a Good Fight

| by Alex Groberman

Timothy Bradley didn’t put up a good fight against Manny Pacquiao. He didn’t challenge Pacquiao. He didn’t out-box Pacquiao. He didn’t hurt Pacquiao. He didn’t legitimately beat Pacquiao.

He didn’t even belong in the same ring as Pacquiao.

Let’s start with that last point. From the very first second that we heard rumors about Bradley possibly linking up with Bob Arum’s Top Rank company, we knew that he would get a shot at the Filipino champion. Even though Arum and his cronies will never admit it, it's clear that at least part of the bait they used to lure Bradley in was promising him a fight that he really didn’t deserve yet versus their biggest star.

We wrote about it at the time. Other publications wrote about it, too.

It was obvious.

Sure enough, shortly after Bradley signed on the dotted line – he got his fight versus one of the top two pound-for-pounders in the world today. The guy who had previously been best known for ducking Amir Khan was suddenly worthy of a shot at the best, apparently.

Fine.

We all had an idea of what would ultimately happen. Bradley is a good fighter. He’s a very good fighter, actually. But he never did and never will have the knockout power to box against elite superstars like Pacquiao. He’s athletic. He’s resilient. He’s got heart – but that’s not enough to catapult you to the top of the pound-for-pound charts.

Every single time he hit Pacquiao in their June 9 bout, it looked like he was doing it with pillows on his fists. Not only did he not hurt Filipino champ at all – he actually seemed to inflict more damage on himself and his feet throughout the match than he did to the guy he was fighting.

So, again – Bradley’s punches did zero damage to Pacquiao. O.K. But maybe he connected on more shots, right? Not exactly. According to CompuBox, Pacquiao landed 253 of his 751 punches, Bradley landed 159 of his 839 punches. Pacquiao landed 190 power punches, Bradley landed 108 power punches. Pacquiao landed more punches than Bradley in 10 rounds, Bradley landed more punches than Pacquiao in two rounds.

What exactly about those stats indicates that Bradley fought a good fight? Heck, there is a legitimate case to be made that the only reason he even did as well as he did is because Pacquiao thought he had the fight won by the seventh round. (Which he did, by the way.)

We all know that Pacquiao got robbed on Saturday. It’s O.K. to come out and say that. You don’t need to start all your thoughts about the match by trying to prop up Bradley with undeserved praise; an undeserved propping up of Bradley is what got us into this mess in the first place.

Bradley didn’t fight a good fight. He miraculously managed to avoid getting knocked out. There’s a difference.

Let’s stop pretending the two are one in the same.

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