Manny Pacquiao Favored To Beat Timothy Bradley Jr. By Decision in Welterwight Bout

Manny Pacquiao Favored To Beat Timothy Bradley Jr. By Decision in Welterwight BoutCould Saturday night's fight in Las Vegas be the final bout in the career of future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao?

That’s considered highly unlikely, but he has hinted at retirement, citing a renewed religious fervor. Pacquiao said he's no longer comfortable pounding on his opponents. Plus many believe Pacquiao could be the future president of his native Philippines, where he is currently a congressman.

Pacquiao, on a 15-fight winning streak, will defend his WBO welterweight title against junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley Jr. on Saturday night at the MGM Grand. Even Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach, has said he would encourage his protégé to retire "if [Pacquiao] looks bad."

Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) didn’t look great in his last fight, beating old nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in a narrow majority decision in their third career fight against one another — all have been extremely close (one was a split decision) and could have gone Marquez's way. Pacquiao claimed that personal problems with his family affected his preparation for the last fight and that he underestimated Marquez.

It was hoped after Pacquiao-Marquez III that finally a mega-bout between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. could be finalized to once and for all determine who the best pound-for-pound fighter is right now. But, once again, the sides couldn't agree how to split the millions of dollars and instead Mayweather won a tough fight with Miguel Cotto last month in Vegas.

The other names in the running to face Pacquiao in this fight were originally Cotto, junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and Marquez for a fourth time. Instead, Bradley got the deal and will move up in weight for easily the biggest fight of his career.

The 28-year-old Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) really became known to casual boxing fans when he beat Devon Alexander thanks to head butt-induced 10th-round technical decision in a junior welterweight unification fight in January of 2011. Bradley then defended his WBO title against past-his-prime Joel Casamayor with an eighth-round TKO on the undercard of Pacquiao-Marquez III in November.

Bradley is widely considered one of the Top 10 pound-for-pound fighters but still doesn't have that signature win. Beating Pacquiao would certainly accomplish that. Bradley says he intends to take the gameplan that Marquez has used successfully against Pacquiao and that he is "10 times better" than Marquez.

The American is five years younger than Pacquiao — 10 years Marquez's junior — and will have a reach of about two inches over Pacquiao. It's always tough for a right-hander like Bradley to face a southpaw like Pacquiao as lefties usually present problems for righties because of the awkward stance and punches coming at different angles than what right-handers are accustomed to. But both Alexander and Casamayor were also left-handers. So in essence, Bradley has been preparing for lefties for 20 months or so.

Pacquiao is currently a -450 favorite at the book with Bradley at +325. That line has remained pretty steady. The over-under for rounds is 9.5. Pacquiao's past four fights have all gone the 12-round distance. Neither of Bradley's past two fights has gone the distance, but seven of the previous eight did.

The favored result at the book is Pacquiao via decision or technical decision at +110. Pacquiao by knockout, TKO or disqualification is at +160. The longest shot for Bradley is to win by KO, TKO or DQ at +900. Could we see the third draw in Pacquiao's career? That’s the longest shot on the board at +2,500.

Yardbarker

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