Originally posted on The Queensbury Rules  |  Last updated 6/5/12
So continues our marathon coverage of one of the biggest fights of 2012, Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley on June 9 on HBO pay-per-view. Previously: the stakes of Pacquiao-Bradley; getting to know Bradley; the undercard, previewed. Next: keys to the fight, part II.

Mind. Matter. How do Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley stack up in those categories? In the first of two parts, we compare their physical attributes.


(The Caye[Caulker]s to the fight.)

Size. Once upon a time, the question for every Pacquiao fight was, "How will he handle facing a bigger man?" Now, twice in a row, the old weight-climber has chosen opponents from beneath his welterweight division, first Juan Manuel Marquez and now Bradley. Marquez passed the "size" test, matching Pacquiao's strength and adapting better in his second voyage to 147 than in his first against Floyd Mayweather. Bradley's in much the same place: Like Marquez, he wasn't impressive in his first step up to welterweight, against Luis Carlos Abregu, but on the second trip Bradley looks the part, broader across the shoulders than in the junior welterweight division he's long ruled while maintaining his almost grotesque musculature. Physical dimensions are similar, otherwise, with Pacquiao no more than an inch taller than Bradley and Bradley having a slight two-inch reach advantage.

Looking the part and playing the part are a different thing. How well Bradley adapts to the new weight is crucial to his chances of victory. It affects a lot of the other categories: Will Bradley have the power to hurt a bigger Pacquiao, or the ability to take a bigger man's punches? So much unfolds from this. Pacquiao gets the edge in this category. The real question is whether it will be decisive. Edge: Pacquiao

Speed. Pacquiao, as speedy as they come, hasn't fought many fellow quicksters. A faded Shane Mosley last year might be the fastest opponent of Pacquiao's career, at least since Pacquiao burst onto the world stage with a victory over Marco Antonio Barrera. Bradley is definitely faster than old Mosley. Mosley's hand speed never seemed to trouble Pacquiao, but his nimble feet did, as Pacquiao had trouble getting into punching range. Bradley has both hand speed and nimble feet. It will be interesting to see how he contends with a factor with which he's unaccustomed.

Still, Pacquiao, whose speed might be fading slightly and who has had trouble gliding around the ring in recent fights while blaming leg cramps, will be the fastest opponent Bradley has faced, too. Bradley has encountered top speed before, most prominently against Kendall Holt, so he can theoretically overcome it. In this fight, one man has excellent speed, while the other has great speed. Edge: Pacquiao

Power. Until he stopped ancient Joel Casamayor in his last fight, Bradley hadn't stopped anyone in four years. Maybe he picked up something from Thomas Hearns, but more likely Bradley broke his knockout-less streak because most anyone would've knocked out Casamayor. He's no big puncher, in other words. That doesn't mean he can't punch at all. He's made a couple people wilt and shy away from his contact, like Devon Alexander, who didn't like getting punched (and, to be fair, head butted) by Bradley. He hits you so much, and hits you just hard enough, that it eventually adds up. Against Abregu at welterweight, Bradley wobbled him a couple times but wasn't able to convince Abregu to back off, which may just speak to Abregu's own grit. If he can hit Pacquiao hard enough to back him off, we'll have a real fight.

Among the two, Pacquiao is the puncher. He wasn't able to hurt Marquez in their recent encounter, but he has otherwise done a ton of damage against everyone he's faced since forever. I doubt his inability to hurt Marquez had anything to do with Pacquiao's power declining, and more to do with Marquez being comfortable at the new weight and astute defensively. Edge: Pacquiao

Chin. Each man has a ding or two on their punch resistance, but both have shown great recovery abilities, too. Bradley got dropped by Holt, but got right back up in Holt's grill after that. The last time Pacquiao got hurt, from body punches delivered by massive junior middleweight Antonio Margarito, he got right back up in Margarito's grill after that.

Bradley has shown he can recover from a terrific KO puncher's shots at junior welterweight in Holt, and from a pretty good puncher at welterweight in Abregu. But there's a world of difference between the kind of punchers Holt and Abregu are and Pacquiao is. And Pacquiao has stood up to far, far bigger punchers than Bradley. Edge: Pacquiao

Condition. Bradley is a 28-year-old in the prime of his career who hasn't taken very much sustained punishment over the course of that career. He also has never been outworked -- anytime someone has challenged him in punch volume, like Lamont Peterson, Bradley has turned the knob up to 11. Bradley's stamina is a wonder, and he's fresh as a daisy. It is a major asset in his bid to unseat Pacquiao.

Pacquiao is a 33-year-old with ring war after ring war beneath his belt. He is not at all on anything like a steep decline, but there has been evidence for several fights now that Pacquiao might be heading into that decline. His team insists that's not the case, for one reason or the other -- distractions outside the ring, improper training, that kind of thing. We'll see. But one thing that hasn't left Pacquiao is his own marvelous stamina. Pacquiao generally performs at the same level in the 12th round as he does in the 1st. This time, though, he's facing someone with similar qualities who's younger and less weathered. Edge: Bradley

This article first appeared on The Queensbury Rules and was syndicated with permission.

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