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Sports

Bradley picks Spence over Manny

SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson - The Philippine Star

Former WBC/WBO superlightweight and WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley has lost to only one fighter in his career that spanned 37 fights and he was beaten twice by the same man. Bradley, 37, is now retired, hanging up his gloves after his second loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2016. When Bradley was thwarted by Pacquiao for the first time in 2014, he was previously unbeaten.

For the record, there were nine undefeated fighters whom Pacquiao beatKeith Thurman (29-0), Chris Algieri (20-0), Bradley (31-0, 1 no contest), Jorge Solis (34-0-2), Emmanuel Lucero (21-0-1), Nedal Hussein (19-0), Seung Kon Chae (23-0), Dele Desierto (4-0) and Rocky Palma (4-0-1). On the flip side, Pacquiao lost to four unbeaten fightersJeff Horn (16-0-1), Floyd Mayweather (47-0), Bradley (28-0) and Medgeon 3-K Battery (18-0).

On Aug. 21, Pacquiao will battle another unbeaten fighter WBC/IBF welterweight ruler Errol Spence, Jr. who boasts a 27-0 record, with 21 KOs. Spence is four inches taller at 5-9 1/2 and five inches longer with a 72-inch wingspan. Hes also 11 years younger at 31. Hes logged only 27 bouts compared to Pacquiaos 71. Pacquiao once said hes been fighting for 30 years, starting as an amateur in General Santos City at 12. From what Pacquiao has displayed in training for Spence both in General Santos City and Los Angeles, its inconceivable that hes 42. Australian trength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune calls him a freak of nature.

Bradley recently said despite Pacquiaos strong points, hes not invulnerable. Bradley himself beat Pacquiao once in three meetings. “Spence is a disciplined fighter, keeps his hands up, is tight with it, uses his stick (right jab) and controls distance outside,” said Bradley on fighthype.com. “As long as you keep Manny outside, you can beat him. I think Spence has the ability and showed it against Mikey Garcia. He never allowed Mikey to get a chance to land a bomb. If Spence does that same kind of fight, he can beat Manny. I favor Spence but you cant count out Manny whos a beast. I keep saying Mannys the Tom Brady of boxing. Hes a tough guy, even at 42, he brings tenacity into the ring, hes hungry. Im just not sure how much he has left, I dont know what hes been doing. Hes been out of the ring two years since Thurman.”

Bradley said Spence isnt Thurman. “Hes big, strong and long, has a consistent jab and knows how to control distance,” he added. “His framework is beautiful, the way he lines up his shots, gets himself in position, he does a lot of great things.” But Bradley said theres a chink in Spences armor that could prove to be his downfall. “One thing that could offset him is he tends to come back to the center, hell do work then hes right back in the center,” he said. “Manny loves guys who come straight back to the center, in the line of fire for his straight left hand. Mannys seen it all. Spence might be a different look because I dont think Manny has fought a southpaw as big, active and smart. But Mannys always dangerous in the ring because power is the last thing that leaves you.”

Stamina will be critical. “Spence doesnt get tired,” said Bradley. “He wears on you, he keeps coming and coming. The volume of work and his power wear on you. Speed will create opportunities for Manny whos extremely quick and he closes distance fast. Hell be here one second and there in the blink of an eye. If youre not set and ready to punch, hell be looking for you to not be set, that way he can work.”

Bradley said after his second loss to and third fight against Pacquiao, he decided to quit. “I knew my time was up, I wasnt willing to throw my body to hell again,” he said. Curiously, hes not picking the only man to beat himand beat him twiceto overcome Spence.

MANNY PACQUIAO TIM BRADLEY
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