By Dan Charest @dannyacharest on April 12, 2014
Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley II has the pedigree and the storylines that should make this welterweight title fight an instant contender for 2014 Fight of the Year. Both fighters are seeking redemption from their bout two years ago that robbed the Filipino of a 16th straight win. Now, two years later, the roles have reversed quite a bit, and a win for the still-underdog Bradley would by no means be considered a shock.
A controversy in their first meeting was that Timothy Bradley was not wearing socks like Mike Tyson, one of his favorite boxers. The end result of "Sockgate" was that Bradley's feet were slipping on the canvas and he got injured in the fight. This time around, the garment will not be an issue.
First off, let's recognize that Timothy Bradley is not known for his power, but the Fighting Pride of the Philippines has not knocked anybody out since a technical knockout of Miguel Cotto at the tail end of 2009. His power has seemed to drop as the only eight-division world champion has gone up in weight.
Manny Pacquiao, now 35, has been questioned (many times) by his April 12 opponent and even by his trainer Freddie Roach as to whether his motivation is where it once was. Besides that, Pacquiao's speed (which is still elite) has lost luster.
When Bradley defeated Pacquiao in 2012, it was supposed to be the landmark win that would launch him even closer to the top of the sport. Instead, Bradley received death threats and had suicidal thoughts after one of the most criticized decision in boxing history. "Desert Storm" rebounded in 2013 to work his way back to a redemption fight with Pacquiao, and knows that only a KO will give Bradley the satisfaction to move on with his career.
Bradley had something to prove after the first Pacquiao fight, and boy, did he deliver. Formerly a strict boxer, he proved he can brawl if need be in a win over Ruslan Provodnikov in the consensus 2013 Fight of the Year. Then Bradley went back to his older style of the sweet science in a convincing win over Juan Manuel Marquez in December. It wrapped up a 2013 that was worthy of a Fighter of the Year title for Bradley.
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