Two-division champion Timothy Bradley (31-1, 12 knockouts) will face Diego Chaves (23-2, 19 KOs) in a welterweight bout at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The 31-year-old American is the hands-down favorite to win the fight, but coming eight months after Manny Pacquiao handed him his first career loss, some boxing analysts are not so sure.
“Most of the elite fighters Pacquiao has beaten over the past decade were never the same afterward,” writes Josh Katzowitz in the Wall Street Journal. “The list includes former world champions, almost-certain future Hall of Famers and once-promising prospects who never won another meaningful fight.”
Katzowitz notes that in Pacquiao’s past dozen fights against foes that have held at least one world title belt before entering the ring, opponents came into the bout with a combined record of 532-35-4 (.935 win percentage). Afterward, their collective record was 49-26 (.628).
Some of them were able to buck the trend. Juan Manuel Marquez, for example. After a draw in 2004, and losing on decisions in 2008 and 2011, Marquez knocked out Pacquiao in the sixth round of their fourth encounter in 2012.
Miguel Cotto is currently WBC middleweight champion after Pacquiao stopped him in the 12th in 2009.
But others were not as fortunate.
Oscar de la Hoya, who won 10 world titles in six weight classes, suffered eight rounds of punishment from Pacquiao in 2008. He retired after that fight.
Ricky Hatton, who was knocked out cold by the Filipino slugger in the second round in 2009, went on to fight one more bout before he hung up his gloves for good.
Erik Morales beat Pacquiao by decision in 2005. But he lost seven of his last 11 fights, including two rematches against Pacquiao.
Emmanuel Lucero was a rising star with a 21-0-1 record before fighting Pacquiao in 2003. After Pacquiao demolished him in the third round, Lucero lost 14 of his next 19 fights before retiring.
“That’s the power—the physical and the psychological power—of Pacquiao,” says Katzowitz.
Which is why Bradley’s next fight has been billed as the most important in his career.
Has he been able to expunge the memory of his loss to Pacman or is it still there in his system when he faces the hard-punching Chaves this Saturday?
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