Manny Pacquiao did enough to beat Juan Manuel Marquez last November. It’s important to get that statement out of the way early. It didn’t come in the prettiest fashion imaginable, it wasn’t as spectacular as his other wins, but Pacquiao earned his victory over Marquez last time – fair and square.
Of course, on the Sunday following Pacquiao vs. Marquez III, that wasn’t the most popular of opinions. In that after-fight haze that everyone suffers from, many (us included) suggested that Marquez was robbed of a win. That, at the very least, he deserved a draw against the Filipino champion. That, had the judges been tallying up the rounds fairly, Marquez would have been crowned the winner on the eve of Nov. 12.
Later replays of the fight proved those claims erroneous; Marquez put up a valiant effort, but he didn’t do enough to dethrone the champ.
Still, it’s undeniable that the subconscious bias that most judges have towards the top pound-for-pounders in boxing is an obstacle that all challengers have to overcome. It was true for Marquez, and it’s just as true for Timothy Bradley. When Bradley faces off against Pacquiao this Saturday, he has to do so knowing full well that needs to go beyond what would normally be deemed enough for a victory in order to actually earn that victory. You don’t take the crown off a king by doing just enough – you have to beat him into oblivion and rip that thing off his head.
Pacquiao hasn’t recorded a knockout in two years. Bradley, while he does have a recent knockout on his résumé, doesn’t have the power to take out Pacquiao. This fight will inevitably come down to a decision. And because we (and everyone else) knows that it will come down to a decision, Bradley needs to be prepared to do what’s necessary to secure that decision in his favor.
That means going above and beyond.
Bradley should obviously be concerned about out-fighting Pacquiao on June 9. But he should be even more concerned with doing enough to win over the judges. The two things are not one and the same.
(Shout out to Paul Magno for beating me on posting about this topic. Check his piece out here.)