Boxing officials and local sports media here yesterday predicted 8th world division champion Manny Pacquiao to win over American Timothy Bradley in their title fight on Sunday in Las Vegas.
Laywer Guillermo Iroy Jr., executive director of the Philippine Sports Commission, said that Pacquiao will win by a knockout in the 8th round. The former national football coach and player from Davao said that Pacquiao has regained his strength and speed after he has been religiously reading the Bible and spending more time on religious activities and keeping away from his past vices.
“If he continues to be a changed man, Pacquiao will also beat Floyd Mayweather,” said Iroy, who is currently in Davao City to attend the burial of his 80-year old aunt on Saturday.
Kenneth Improso of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) in Davao, on the other hand, said that Pacquiao will knockout Bradley in the sixth round.
“Although Bradley is undefeated, his experience in the ring is minimal as compared to that of Pacquiao evidenced by the records of his opponents in the past,” said Improso.
He added: “Bradley’s body built is massive and can easily get heavy which is prone to succumb with Pacquiao’s speed and general ringmanship. Power is no question. Pacquiao definitely packs more of it as compared to Bradley.”
Boxing promoter-managers Yolly Alfante and Willie Neri also both see a knockout win by Pacquiao.
Alfante, president of the revived Mindanao Professional Boxing Association (Minproba) said the 33-year old congressman from Sarangani Province can stop Bradley in the 5th to 7th rounds.
“Pero di siya dapat mag kumpiyansa kay mas bata pa si Bradley sa iyaha,” said Alfante, who helped sent Pacquiao to his first fight to the United States many years ago.
Neri, also a police officer, said that the fight will not last for more than seven rounds. His cousin Romulo “Amay” Neri Jr., a correspondent of the weekly Mindanao Bulletin newspaper based in General Santos City agrees with him.
“I think Pacquiao will win from the 6 to 7 rounds lang. The number six is the sign of the anti-Christ while the seven is God’s number,” said Neri, elder brother of Pacquiao’s assistant trainer and designated official chef Nonoy.
Boxing manager Tony Dacer, who handles WBO no. 6 contender bantamweight Jessie Albarracin, also “believes Manny will still win this fight.”
But he has no prediction whether by knockout or decision. Dacer also said that “but there is also a possibility of an upset.”
Veteran sportswriter Lito delos Reyes, president of SCOOP Davao, however, predicted a Pacquiao victory from the fifth to the sixth round only.
“I’ve seen Pacquiao trained in Baguio before he left for US. And I was really impressed on how he has recovered from his old fighting form after getting rid of hid old bad habits like sleeping late and gambling. This was also confirmed by his trainer Freddie Rouch in my interview,” said delos Reyes, also the secretary of the Buhay Kamao Foundation.
Mindanao Times sports editor Jon Develos, however, only sees a Pacquiao win by just a decision.
“Feel ko lang. Pero kung my knockout man, siguro sa later rounds,” he said.