by David P. Greisman
Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (uncertain): “That’s going to be a hard situation because first and foremost Tim Bradley is going to come in in tiptop shape. He never slept on silk sheets. Pacquiao has slept on silk sheets and he’s been beaten three times already, so there’s three ways to beat him. I’m not saying that Tim Bradley is going to beat him, but I’m saying it’s going to be a hard night for Pacquiao. He’s going to have to find a way to dig down deep and pull this out.
“Pacquiao with the faster hands may prevail, and we all know Pacquiao is a good puncher, but you got Timothy Bradley moving up to a new weight, and I don’t know if he’s going to be comfortable with that weight. We know Pacquiao, he’s fought as high as 154 pounds. We just got to see if he’s [Bradley’s] going to be comfortable at that weight.
“To me I can’t pick it. There’s three ways to beat Pacquiao, no ways to beat Timothy Bradley as of yet; he’s undefeated.
“Timothy’s going to make it be a drag-out fight. He’s going to put pressure on Pacquiao. He’s going to make him fight. If he can do that for a certain amount of rounds as the fight progresses, he’s got a good chance of winning the fight, even a late-round stoppage. I still can’t pick him. As long as we’ve been talking, all of my predictions have come true. This one I just can’t pick. All I’m going to say is it’s going be a great fight.”
John Scully (Pacquiao): “In a much better fight than expected, I think Pacquiao is going to win, probably a decision, maybe a late knockout, but I think Bradley’s going to really bring it. I think he’s a special kind of kid in that regard. I think he’s going to make Pacquiao work for it, but he’s probably going to get counterpunched quite a bit and get broken down a little bit. Either a late KO or a decision, but I think he’s really going to make a good fight out of it.
“I watch interviews with him [Bradley]. I can see the passion in him. A lot of guys talk, and then they say ‘Yeah, I’m going to bring it,’ and then they get in there and they realize it’s something different than they thought it was going to be. But with this kid I feel like he really prides himself on meaning what he says. This is the impression get. I think he really wants this fight bad. I think that he believes he’s going to win, and I think he’s going to fight like it. But Pacquiao is a pretty smart fighter in there, he’s a good puncher, and Bradley can be hit. That’s just not a good combination to go in against Pacquiao with.”
Ronnie Shields (Bradley): “I’ve been thinking about this fight for a while now, and I’m going to go with the upset on this one. I’ll go with Timothy Bradley, just for the reason that I think Pacquiao’s got a lot of distractions, and he didn’t look too good against Marquez. I concede that every fight is different. I know that. But I just think this is the right time for Bradley, the right month, the right everything. Everything is right with this fight for him.
“He’s a good, tough, strong guy. He has a lot of heart. I think he wins if he doesn’t get caught early. But the only way he loses this fight is if the judges take it away from him. I’m going to go with the upset, I think by decision. I don’t think he’s powerful enough to knock Pacquiao out. Anything can happen. If this fight gets stopped, it’s going to be because of a cut or something like that. I don’t foresee that happening.
“I just think he’s younger. He’s not a strong, one-punch knockout kind of guy, but he’s a kid who’s going to be right there in Pacquiao’s face, and he’s going to let his hands go. He’s going to throw punches, and I think Manny’s not going to know how to deal with that. Look at the all the guys besides Marquez that Pacquiao’s fought. They all were slow and a couple of them past their prime. And the majority of them were weight drained.
“Bradley’s probably going to come in light. He’s going to be fast. He’s going to be at a weight that he’ll feel comfortable at. I think him and his trainer and his father, they sit down and say ‘Why would we want to come in at 147 when we’ve never fought at that weight before? Let’s come in light and fight at the weight we’ve been training to fight at all these years.’
“I think that’s a very smart move. That makes me think he has a really great trainer. Just because you’re fighting at a certain weight doesn’t mean you have to come in at that weight. Fight where you’re comfortable at. And I think that’s really going to help him out a lot. Plus he has other factors, the intangibles going for him also. I think Bradley, he’s really happy. He’s a married guy. He’s young. When you’re a family man, you have everything to fight for.”
Sam Garcia (Pacquiao): “I like Pacquiao just because I think that he’s obviously more experienced in these big fight situations. It’s obviously a major step up at 147 for Bradley. I just think it’s a good match-up for Pacquiao. I think he lands the right hook. I think he lands straight lefts. I think Bradley’s a little too open. Going based on past performances, the only guy that’s given Pacquiao real trouble is Marquez, and I don’t think Bradley’s at Marquez’s level.
“I’m going with Pacquiao, possibly by knockout. I’m picking Pac by knockout, maybe seventh-, eighth-round knockout, but I think that since Bradley’s in such great condition, he could possibly go the distance. He’s a tough kid. He’s determined.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]