Is Timothy Bradley Trying to Avoid Manny Pacquiao?

| by Alex Groberman

There has to be an explanation for why Timothy Bradley has been so uncharacteristically annoying over the past couple of weeks. This is a guy who went into his June 9 showdown with Manny Pacquiao seemingly just happy to be there, and somebody who never even really gloated after his win. Sure, it was an undeserved win – but plenty of other fighters would have gloated anyhow.

Everyone was irritated about how that particular bout ended, but nobody held it against Bradley that two incompetent judges handed him a victory he didn’t deserve. Generally, he was liked by all.

About two weeks ago, though, something changed. For some reason, the humble, cool dude that we once knew became a whole different person. Suddenly he was insinuating that Pacquiao was scared of him. Then out of the blue came an assortment of ludicrous shots at Pacquiao’s fighting skills. Most recently, all of the attacks culminated in Bradley doing an interview with RingTV in which he essentially openly mocked Pacquiao.  

“I don't know why people are saying it, but Pacquiao did not dominate me whatsoever. Whatsoever. I've read, "he dominated Bradley for 10 rounds." What? Dude, you've got to be kidding me. But it's just funny to me,” Bradley said.

“Being that it was a controversial fight, you know, I would think that you would want to redeem yourself, you know what I mean? You should want to redeem that loss. But I really don't know. I don't know what else to say or think.”

According to CompuBox, Pacquiao landed 253 of his 751 punches in that fight; Bradley only 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.

Which part of that was Pacquiao not dominating? What about that effort does Pacquiao need to redeem himself for?

This sheer preposterousness of everything Bradley has said over the past two weeks is mind-boggling. There has to be a reason for this. A guy’s personality doesn’t just randomly change at the drop of a hat. Could it be that, maybe, Bradley is trying to tick Pacquiao off? To maybe anger the Filipino champion so much that he'll refuse to fight him?

Because, really, what does Bradley have to gain from fighting Pacquiao again? If it goes down, he’ll definitely lose, and his original victory will officially be cemented as the fluke we all know it was anyway. He’s actually far better off not committing to a rematch, but he can’t just come out and say that. If he did, he’d appear scared.

This way, he’s making Pacquiao look like the one who doesn’t want to fight again, even though Bradley is actually the one doing everything in his power to sabotage a November rematch.  It’s all but a fact that if Pacquiao were to fight anyone this year, it would almost certainly be Bradley. There was and is no reason for Bradley to try to call Pacquiao out or to bait him.

Do I know for sure that Bradley is simply trying to irritate Pacquao so that he’ll be able to avoid a rematch? No, of course not. But at the moment, it’s the theory that makes the most sense. 

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