Timothy Bradley is right to be confident heading into his June 9 showdown versus Manny Pacquiao.
Over the last seven months, just between the fights featuring Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr., we’ve seen underrated challengers push the top two pound-for-pounders in the world to places that nobody originally envisioned them getting pushed to. Sure, the favorites ultimately won their matches but, if Juan Manuel Marquez and Miguel Cotto can make dents in these guys’ armors, why can’t Bradley do the same?
Here is what we know for certain about Bradley as we creep closer and closer to the biggest fight of his career: he’s undoubtedly the most athletic and physically capable opponent that Pacquiao has faced in years. He’s catching the Filipino champion at a time when he might be distracted by other things, namely his public persona taking a hit and some totally ridiculous drama within his camp. On top of all that, he’s also taking on Pacquiao at a time when he's going through some serious lifestyle changes (reportedly to save his marriage) that, while on their own probably wouldn’t hamper him too much, no doubt could throw him off his game a bit.
And yet, even though we know all that, we also know that Las Vegas oddsmakers have absolutely no faith in Bradley’s ability to dethrone Pacquiao. Despite all of the aforementioned things that, theoretically, should take some shine off the Filipino champion, nobody is giving Bradley any semblance of a chance to shock the world.
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Not that it's hurting Bradley’s confidence, of course. Here is what he had to say recently in regards to his looming battle:
"Tune in on June 9 when I destroy Manny Pacquiao," Bradley said, according to The Desert Sun.
"I have to bring the pain in this fight," Bradley said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I'm prepared to do that.”
“I’ve been the underdog my whole life. Being the underdog don’t really matter. At the end of the day, I can still win and get the victory,” Bradley said, according to ABS-CBN.
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You get the point.
Look, heading into this showdown, obviously the smart money remains on Pacquiao. That said, Bradley is young, he is somewhat proven and he is the first legitimate challenger (all-around, not style-wise like Marquez was) that the Filipino champion has faced in a long time. If Marquez could give Pacquiao as much trouble as he did, and Cotto could give Mayweather much trouble as he did, Bradley impressing some folks would hardly be the most shocking thing in boxing history.
So while he’s admittedly laying on the confidence shtick on a little thick as of late, you can’t really fault Bradley for having a certain amount of poise heading into June 9.
Should be a great (read: eh, good) bout.