Majority of the 38 boxing experts polled by website RingTV expect Filipino superstar Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao to defeat unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr. in their welterweight rematch on April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Of the 38 experts, 23 believe that Pacquiao will get his revenge against Bradley, who infamously defeated the Filipino two years ago when the judges awarded him a controversial split decision.
Among those who predicted a Pacquiao victory was The RING Magazine’s Michael Rosenthal, who said the Filipino “has at least once more outstanding performance left in him.”
“I’m not overly confident I have this right, though,” he admitted. “This is as close to a 50-50 fight as you can get.”
RingTV.com’s Francisco Salazar is also picking Pacquiao, although he acknowledged that the fight “could go in many directions.”
“I think the one main question that will make or break the fight for Pacquiao is whether he will be content to box or have that ‘killer instinct’ against Bradley,” said Salazar. “In my opinion, it may be best served for Pacquiao to box or try to outbox Bradley.”
Salazar noted that brawling or fighting too aggressively may cost Pacquiao against Bradley the way it cost him against Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012.
“This will be a very close bout, but if Pacquiao sticks to a game plan, he could win,” Salazar concluded.
USA Today’s Bob Velin is also predicting a Pacquiao victory, as he believes that the Filipino’s pride will not allow him to lose once more to the American.
“Pacquiao is a proud man and he will knock Bradley’s socks off to win by a unanimous decision,” said Velin.
Mike Woods of The Sweet Science said the bout was a “coin-flip fight” and that it can even end in a draw.
“But Manny deserves a make-up call, it could be argued,” he added. “Thus, I can see Pacman UD 12, via a couple of points.”
Others, however, foresee a Bradley victory, with some saying the American boxer will have a convincing win this time around.
“I’ve got Tim Bradley by decision,” said Leighton Ginn of The Desert Sun. “Bradley, with healthy feet, will be a handful for Manny Pacquiao, who appears to be overconfident against a guy who beat Juan Manuel Marquez more convincingly than he ever did.”
RingTV’s Lee Groves, for his part, said Bradley “will likely employ a style that will make Pacquiao look bad.” Like Ginn, he also expects the American to be perfectly healthy, unlike in the first bout when he injured both feet in the early rounds.
“Bradley is younger, quicker and highly motivated, while Pacquiao is older, slower and perhaps less able to summon he killer instinct that marked his prime,” Groves said. “When one looks at all these factors, the stars seem to be lining up for a Bradley win.”
Groves does concede that “all bets are off” if Bradley decides to brawl against Pacquiao, but he expects the American to win convincingly if he opts to instead use his skills and box.
Yahoo! Sports expert Kevin Iole also expects a Bradley victory, predicting that the American will “use his boxing ability to avoid a slugfest, and will pull out an unquestioned decision this time.”
Bradley will be defending his WBO welterweight championship – which he won against Pacquiao – for the third time on Saturday night (Sunday morning in Manila).