Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Fight a ‘Tossup,’ Says Sportswriter Larry Merchant

February 28, 2014 Updated: February 28, 2014

Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley’s second fight is a “tossup,” says longtime boxing writer Larry Merchant.

“You can’t say enough about Manny and where he was when he first came to America, and how he evolved as a boxer-puncher,” Merchant told RingTV in a recent interview. “In that fight, against Rios, he fought just as a boxer. But he’s not going to be able to beat Bradley just as a boxer. You can never dismiss a fighter of Manny’s proven qualities.”

However, Merchant cites the age of Pacquiao–who turned 35 in December–as a deciding factor for a likely Bradley victory. He also noted Bradley’s victory over Juan Manuel Marquez and Pacquiao’s loss to the same fighter in 2012.

“Tim Bradley is a younger guy and he still thinks that he’s got stuff to prove, and that’s what makes Bradley who he is,” Merchant said. “Bradley wins every place that he goes. If there is any resistance, he wears you out. He’s a damn good figher.”

The first Pacquiao-Bradley fight ended in a controversial decision victory for Bradley.

Merchant, however, noted that Pacquiao hasn’t “had one bad round in 10 years or one bad 10 seconds.”

“So you don’t just dismiss him because he showed that he’s still eager to do it in his last fight. The quesion is whether he can make as big a change in doing that as he would have to to beat Bradley. The question for Manny is whether he will have the ability and the fire to force a fight, and to return a little bit to his previous incarnations,” he said.

Bradley and Pacquiao will face each other in Las Vegas on April 12.

In a recent interview, Bradley said that he’s satisfied with his training thus far, adding that he’s ahead of Pacquiao.

“I’m feeling great. I’m ahead of schedule right now. I’m not killing my body,” Bradley was quoted by as saying. “I did 12 weeks last training camp for the Pacquiao fight. I think I was ready around eight weeks. It was hard man, because I had to taper really early then pick up again at the end,” he continued.

Bradley said that his weight is “great” and “my weight’s down.”

“I’m in the low [1]60s. I got about 15 pounds to drop within the next two months and that’s normal for me. Normally I’m around 170, 175 [pounds]. I got up to 185 after the Pacquiao fight the first time,” he said.

Pacquiao is currently training with lightweight American Lydell Rhodes, who said he was impressed with Pacquiao’s power and speed.

“He’s a complete fighter. He has the speed, power and brain. He’s a flyweight who punches like a middleweight,” Rhodes told the Inquirer, adding: “It is a great opportunity for me to work with Manny Pacquiao. His ring achievements and by just seeing how hard he trains for the fight motivates me.”