Manny Pacquiao: Why Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 will be one of his biggest challengesWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Unfortunately for fight legend Manny Pacquiao, he, unlike Floyd Mayweather, chose a difficult opponent for his presumed swan song.
Tim Bradley is a motivated, hungry top 10 pound-for-pound fighter in his prime who'd love nothing more than to be a star like Manny.
Brads has everything to win and nothing to lose while Pacquiao has very little to gain by defeating Tim... again.
Pacquiao vs Bradley 3 will be one of the biggest challenges in Manny's career to date.
Not only will he fighting a solid, hungry opponent who is red hot, he'll be fighting for the first time with an untested surgically-repaired shoulder while embroiled in a difficult senate race, all while reeling from the backlash of a hostile media and lost sponsors.
The level of opposition, shoulder repair, senate campaign, media, public and sponsors.... Whew, that's a lot of drama.
And by the way, his next fight is suppossed to be a farewell celebration of sorts.
Manny's first mistake: He should have signed to fight a fella like Andre Berto or Victor Ortiz. Bradley is the wrong opponent for a legend to face in his last fight. And all of the drama, of course, makes it worse.
Given where he is in his career, the 37 year old should have opted to take a page out of the 'Floyd Mayweather' playbook. Hence, he should be facing a relatively safe fighter for his final fight. There would be no shame in Manny Pacquiao, after a career of facing and defeating boxing's best, settling for an opponent who is fairly marketable but limited against him stylistically.
But instead, the great Pacquiao, who is recovering from an injury and presumably already has one foot out of boxing, will unnecessarily be given a stern test come April.
Manny's second mistake: The rawness of his gay comments. Manny should have respectfully expressed his opposition to gay marriage while insisting he loved and respected everyone. Period.As a celebrity and public servant, she should have known better than to be so crude.
For years, Manny has profited from scores of sponsors, including Nike, who have gay customers. And for years, Manny has been an elected public servant, representing straight and LGBT constituents.
Is PacMan still that raw?
One must wonder what's going through his mind. Even HBO hinted this week it would have had second thoughts about airing Manny's fight had they'd not already contractually agreed.
"We have an obligation to both fighters and, therefore, will proceed to produce and distribute that event,” HBO said in a statement, as reported by USA Today.
“However, we felt it important to leave no uncertainty about our position on Mr. Pacquiao’s recent comments toward the LGBTQ community. We consider them insensitive, offensive and deplorable.
“HBO has been a proud home to many LGBTQ stories and couldn’t approach this event without clearly voicing our opinion.”
Retirement, the Senate and the Olympics
Last fall, Pacquiao announced his plans to retire from boxing following his April 9 showdown with Tim Bradley, insisting he wanted to further his political career.
But can Manny, as a politician, survive his drama?
He's now struggling at the polls. According to the recent Pulse Asia survey, Pacquiao suffered a 12 percent drop (46.9% to 34.8%) in voter support from January to February. Is it related to his comments? Who knows - But support is fizzling regardless the reason.
.... And now there's talk Pacquiao might participate in the Olympics?
Given the shoulder injury and all of the drama he's dealing with outside the ring, Manny should be focusing his image issues, politics and a darn good opponent who is determined to knock him out April 9.
Forget the Olympics, Manny. You have enough to think about in the present.
If Manny Pacquiao defeats Tim Bradley and does it impressively, it would quite easily be one of his biggest career achievements to date considering everything he's dealing with.
Will Manny overcome?
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