I've already gone on record saying that I believe Manny Pacquiao will emerge victorious in tonight's Welterweight championship fight. However, after watching all of the 24/7 episodes for a second time, and checking out yesterday afternoon's weigh-in, I'm seriously worried about Pacquiao in this fight, specifically concerning his mental state.
At the weigh-in, besides the fact that Pacquiao weighed in heavier than he ever has, and he looked noticeably softer and less muscular than he has looked in recent years, he appeared to be very passive, and borderline disinterested.
The staredown barely even lasted 10 seconds, with Pacquiao trying hard not to crack a smile. While he's traditionally been a genial fighter who enjoys the spotlight, he didn't even look like he wanted to be there. Even in his interview he had very few words and seemed like his mind was elsewhere.
Maybe I'm totally wrong and Pacquiao is as focused as ever, but it can't be denied that his entire mental state has changed since his last fight. He no longer goes out to drink or party or gamble, which on the surface should be a good thing for his career.
However, could it have a reverse effect like it did on Tiger Woods? When Woods was forced to change his lifestyle drastically, his career fell off a cliff.
Could the same happen to Pacquiao later on tonight? Will his increased focus on religion and his lifestyle changes cause him to forget that killer instinct he used to show where if he had a guy hurt he would do everything he could to finish him?
Bradley has shown that he can be dropped early. Kendall Holt dropped him very hard in their fight in 2009, but Holt failed to go after him and finish him, and Bradley recovered and went on to win the fight. If Pacquiao has Bradley hurt early, he needs to finish him, or else Bradley will use his amazing recuperative powers to get back in the fight.
Will Pacquiao have the hunger and killer instinct he's shown in the past, or will he let Bradley off the hook and not want to hurt him due to his new beliefs?
All those questions will be answered in a few hours.
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