Two-time undisputed light-welterweight champion Timothy Bradley fights for the first time at 147lbs tonight and just so happens to be facing one of the best fighters of a generation at the weight in pound for pound king Manny Pacquiao.
Bradley, from California and undefeated in 28 fights, holds impressive victories over Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander on his record, but comes up against a danger entirely new in the eight-weight champion.
The 28 year-old is used to digging deep and fighting in the trenches and this fight will be no different as the WBO champion at 140lbs attempts to become the first man to defeat Pacquiao, 33, since a peak Erik Morales in 2005.
With the challenger infamous for his marauding style and ‘accidental’ use of the head, he can expect to be scrutinised everytime he comes in for exchanges with the ‘Pacman’ but has to stick to his usual style to have any chance of pulling off an upset.
Pacquiao will aim to use his speed and movement to bamboozle him, something that Bradley has to counteract with movement of his own and his superior strength. Throwing punches from awkward angles and getting in Pacquiao’s face are tactics that worked for Juan Manuel Marquez and Bradley will have studied the Filipino’s trilogy of bouts with the Mexican to gain a blueprint of how to upset the favourite.
If he can pull off the unthinkable at the MGM Grand and become the first man to stop the invincible Pacquiao of post-2000, Bradley will instantly be catapulted into the pound for pound world’s best and would become an hero in his native country in the process.
‘Desert Storm’ could then be in line for one of the biggest all-American clashes of recent times with Floyd Mayweather in 2013 and may leave Congressman Pacquiao contemplating his future in the sport.