Manny Pacquiao is viewed by most as a clear favorite versus Timothy Bradley in the pair’s looming June 9 showdown. There is a general acceptance, if you will, that Bradley is a solid fighter and probably the Filipino champion’s most formidable young foe in a long time, but that his chances of winning this match when it’s all said and done are slim.
As we noted on Opposing Views a few days ago, Bradley is getting anywhere from 16/5 to 10/3 to 9/2 as his odds going in – which is about what they should be. One-on-one, mano-a-mano this guy stands virtually no shot at beating Pacquiao. His lack of power is the most obvious reason for why that is, but there are plenty of others which we’ll detail more closely as the fight nears.
However, it's not all doom and gloom for the challenger. Bradley, no doubt, is aware of the fact that over the last few fights, his Filipino counterpart has grown somewhat susceptible to not training has hard as he should and getting a little more of a fight from his overmatched opponents than anyone figures he will. And he's likely banking on that being his saving grace.
While there were differing schools of thought regarding why Juan Manuel Marquez performed so well against Pacquiao last November, even folks within the Filipino champion’s stable agreed that part of the reason was that his training hadn’t been the best going in. A small civil war between Freddie Roach, Alex Ariza and Bob Arum even seemed to break out regarding the matter, at one point. And in a lot of ways it made sense that training would be an issue. Pacquiao is an international pop culture icon, politician, businessman and one of the two top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport – it’s hard to keep all those balls in the air.
But he has no choice. Pacquiao simply has no choice but to participate in all those endeavors and do what he can to remain at the top of his game.
That juggling act may ultimately be Bradley’s biggest asset come June. He clearly doesn’t have what it takes to beat Pacquiao in the ring, but if an assortment of distractions pave the way for Bradley to take advantage of a guy that’s not entirely ready for him, the boxing landscape could legitimately change when this pair squares off.
Just today, two new stories broke of various financial and legal distractions that Pacquiao now reportedly finds himself in.
First (via Philippine Star):
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) had filed contempt charges against world boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao for failing to present his tax records to the agency.
BIR Commissioner Kim Henares told The STAR that Pacquiao is facing contempt charges but not tax evasion charges.
The BIR, through the agency’s regional director Rozil Lozares, issued a Letter of Authority to the boxing icon requiring him to submit documents to the agency regarding his earnings and corresponding tax payments.
Henares said the BIR has been asking Pacquiao to submit his tax records to the agency to check if there are deficiencies.
According to ABS-CBNNews.com, the BIR wants to investigate 33 tax records, including Pacquiao’s annual income tax return in 2010, his book of accounts, list of assets, as well as his earnings from his fights against Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey.
And two (via GMA News):
The legal team of Sarangani congressman and boxing legend Manny Pacquiao has filed a P75-M libel case against freelance writer Edwin Espejo over an article alleging that a dealer of stolen cars was last seen inside Pacquiao's mansion.
The Philippine News Agency reported that charges were brought before the City Prosecution Office in General Santos City late Monday afternoon.
Espejo, who writes for the website Asian Correspondent and contributes to MindaNews, a Davao-based news service, cited reports that Mohammad "Bong" Akia or Aquia was seen with Pacquaio on a flight from Manila to General Santos City, and that the two departed in the same car for Pacquiao's mansion. Akia/Aquia has not been seen since.
Akia/Aquia, former head of the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group in Central Mindanao, had previously been charged with violation of the Anti-Carnapping Act.
It’s worth nothing that obviously two very different legal situations don’t alter the course of Pacquiao’s boxing future one way or the other. He’ll work through the aforementioned situations and all the others that existed prior to them with his trademark calm. But collectively, a bunch of disturbances like this are not what a fighter going against his most spry opponent in years needs.
The smart money is still on Bradley losing this coming bout, but all of the stuff that Pacquiao has to deal with shouldn’t be taken for granted. It impacts his in-the-ring performance far more than people tend to recognize.
If anything changes the course of how this match will wind up shaking out, it certainly won’t be Bradley’s vegan ways. It’ll be how well Pacquiao, one of the best fighters in the world, manages to balance all of the things in his life that he constantly needs to worry about and training better for this fight than he did for his Marquez showdown.
Should be an interesting few months.