by Chris Robinson
Over the weekend I caught up with trainer Kevin Cunningham, who discussed the recent victory of his pupil Devon Alexander over Argentinean brute Marcos Maidana on February 25th.
A former junior welterweight champion, Alexander moved up to 147 pounds for the fight and produced one of his finest outings as a professional as he dominated Maidana over the course of ten one-sided rounds.
With his fighter now back in the swing of things in a new weight class, Cunningham is eyeing all business going down in the welterweight ranks and it was only natural to get his take on another pivotal bout taking place at 147 pounds.
Undefeated junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley was the first and only man to defeat Alexander in January of 2011, pulling out a technical-decision over him after their bout went to the cards in the tenth round because of a nasty cut above Alexander’s right eye that was caused by a head-butt.
Bradley now finds himself lined up with the biggest fight of his life when he meets WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao inside of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 9th. And while Bradley may be a heavy underdog heading into the fight, Cunningham is brushing off the odds when sizing up the Palm Springs, California fighter's chances.
“To be honest with you, I’m picking Tim Bradley to win that fight,” Cunningham stated. “I really think Tim Bradley has what it takes to give Manny Pacquiao big problems.”
Asked to elaborate, Cunningham gave his reasoning.
“Tim Bradley is a really intelligent fighter and he has good quickness, good speed, he’s strong, and I just think he has a combination of things that’s going to give Manny Pacquiao lots and lots of problems,” Cunningham claimed. “Manny has been fighting a lot of older guys, a lot of older opponents on their way down. He’s fighting a young, strong, hungry, talented fighter and I got a real good feeling that Tim Bradley’s going to give Manny Pacquiao big problems and pull off the upset.”
Pacquiao struggled this past November when he barely eked out a majority-decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in their trilogy bout. Pacquiao also seemed sluggish during his unanimous decision victory over Shane Mosley in May and hasn’t seemed to show the same fire that had typified his career for his time as a prizefighter.
For Cunningham, Pacquiao’s recent performances have been less about a style matchup and more about his belief that the Filipino icon is inching closer to the end.
“Based off his last performance, he’s slowing down a little bit,” Cunningham added. “He’s not as explosive as he once was. He can be countered, he can be timed, and he’s just shown a lot of vulnerability in that last fight.”
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Tags: Timothy Bradley , Manny Pacquiao , Kevin Cunningham , Pacquiao-Bradley , Pacquiao vs Bradley