Two of ESPN’s three boxing experts predict American champion Timothy Bradley Jr. will once again defeat Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao – and this time, they believe “Desert Storm” will win convincingly.
Bradley was widely jeered by boxing fans two years ago when judges awarded him a controversial split decision against Pacquiao, who appeared to win the welterweight fight convincingly.
While the American was a massive underdog in the first fight, the odds are closer for the April 12 rematch.
ESPN’s Brian Campbell and Bernardo Pilatti predict Bradley will buck them this time.
“Bradley used the last two years to grow into a complete fighter at the peak of his absolute prime,” Campbell said on ESPN’s “Fight Credential.” “This time, he uses speed and guile to get a close decision he deserves.”
Bradley was the recipient of fan vitriol in the aftermath of the first Pacquiao fight, and even admitted that he considered suicide after receiving death threats. Yet in 2013, he had his best year as a fighter, outpointing Ruslan Provodnikov in the Fight of the Year, and then beating Juan Manuel Marquez convincingly.
Meanwhile, Pilatti said Pacquiao’s speed will “not be enough. Bradley has improved his power and added aggressiveness to his style. Bradley wins by points convincingly.”
Bradley, who will be defending his WBO welterweight belt against Pacquiao, has been the picture of confidence leading up to the fight, while at the same time casting doubts on the Filipino’s ability to summon his “killer instinct” and go for the knockout.
That was not enough to convince ESPN boxing writer Dan Rafael, however, as he picked Pacquiao to win the rematch.
“I thought Pacquiao beat Bradley easily in the first fight, but was blatantly robbed of the decision,” said Rafael. “This time, I think it goes 12 again, and he (Pacquiao) will get the decision.”
In their “12 Rounds” pre-fight analysis, the ESPN writers gave Pacquiao the advantage in terms of power, experience, speed, stamina, consistency, form and corner.
Bradley, meanwhile, had the advantage in terms of durability, tenacity, versatility and technique.