A former boxing referee believes American Timothy Bradley Jr. will defeat Filipino superstar Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao in their April 12 rematch, as the unbeaten champion may just have Pacquiao’s number.
“It should be a great night of boxing,” retired referee Joe Cortez told On the Ropes Boxing Radio. “But I predict Bradley is gonna win a unanimous decision.”
Bradley already holds a victory against Pacquiao, claiming a highly controversial split decision when they first fought in June 2012.
This time, Cortez believes Bradley can win more convincingly, especially if Pacquiao enters the match at less than 100 percent.
“I think Bradley seems to have Manny Pacquiao’s number,” said Cortez, comparing the American to Pacquiao’s Mexican rival, Juan Manuel Marquez, who sensationally knocked out the Filipino in December 2012.
“I think that Manny Pacquiao has seen his better days, and if he doesn’t show up against Bradley in the rematch come April, I think it’s gonna be a very difficult fight for Pacquiao,” said Cortez. “Pacquiao has to show that he’s got those skills.”
Cortez is among those who believe that the wear and tear of a long career – along with his knockout loss to Marquez – has affected Pacquiao more than he has been letting on.
“Manny Pacquiao has been in some tough wars, like the one he had with Marquez,” said the referee. “Pacquiao’s been beaten up pretty good in the past, especially in the last couple of years.”
“And you know, as you keep hitting that trunk of a tree with a hatchet, eventually the whole tree is gonna cave in,” he added.
The fight will show if Pacquiao can still withstand Bradley, said Cortez.
“I hope Manny Pacquiao can withstand the pressure of Bradley, the boxing skills, and the decent punching power that Bradley has,” he said.
Cortez said if Pacquiao winds up losing to Bradley, then it is time for the Filipino icon to “hang up the gloves and go on his merry way.”
“He’s a nice young man, very intelligent, and he has a political career in front of him,” he added. “Maybe he should go down and take care of business in his beautiful country of the Philippines.”