The Unrequested Trilogy

By Timothy Seaver on March 4, 2016
The Unrequested Trilogy
The approaching battle between Pacquiao and Bradley hangs blandly on people’s minds.

In literary terms, Manny is the subject of Bradley’s greatest chapter—while Timothy is a footnote in Pacquiao’s story…

The trilogy is usually one of boxing’s great story-makers, an epic tale told in three parts. When two men have split victories over a pair of fights, a third battle becomes nearly inevitable. The drama of two great warriors meeting for a final time so that one may establish his superiority over the other is a tale that writes itself. Yet as the third fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley looms close many people are wondering if this story is really in need of another chapter.

This feels like a trilogy that wasn’t really asked for. Separately, these two men can be thrilling. Bradley was in the fight of the year in 2013 when he and Siberian slugger, Ruslan Provodnikov, traded tumultuous moments of near victory and certain defeat. He had moments when he looked to be on the verge of collapsing under the assault of Provodnikov’s fists, only to surge back with sudden, explosive flurries of punches. And the fans’ love that has fueled Pacquiao has stemmed from the moments of brutality he has offered so many times throughout his career. Yet this approaching battle hangs blandly on people’s minds.

Manny’s story is well known, and stretches back twenty-one years. Our love affair, however, began in 2003 when he shocked many supposed experts with his dismantling of the great Mexican fighter, Marco Antonio Barrera.

Things stayed high for him when he followed that fight with what is perhaps the most exciting draw in the sport’s history when he went life and death with another great fighter from Mexico, Juan Manuel Marquez. Despite Manny flooring Marquez three times in the first round, the Mexican came back to give us a destructive battle that is still talked about over a decade later, and will likely be discussed a decade from now.

Soon after that he lost to yet another great Mexican, Erik Morales. But that loss was avenged in dramatic fashion first with a stoppage in the tenth round, and then a KO in the third. Add to this, victories over the well respected Ricky Hatton, legendary Oscar De La Hoya, and the Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cotto. People began to offer names like Henry Armstrong, one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in history, as comparison for what Manny Pacquiao was doing in the ring.

Then in 2010 things slowed down when he had a string of boring fights and undeserving opponents. An uninspiring Joshua Clottey, a well worn Antonio Margarito, a quickly aging Shane Mosley—these men failed to elicit the same torrid battles for which Manny had become so well know. And audiences took notice. The sultry path he had laid through the sport had fizzled beneath the dull rains of fans’ indifference. These fights were followed by a disputed win against his chief rival, Marquez. Capping this less-than-thrilling period of Manny’s career was the disputed loss to Bradley in their first fight. Pacquiao’s reputation was shifting and his fights were no longer the cultural events they had been.

The comparative boredom of his fights ended in a dramatic, violent, and, for Pacquiao, a profoundly bitter way. He suffered a devastating KO loss in his fourth fight to Marquez. It was a dangerous kind of knockout. The drama played out for the television audience as Manny’s sobbing wife fought her way to the ring to be with her unmoving husband whose face lay against the canvas of the ring. 

Bradley’s story is less dramatic, but has met with its own share of highs and lows. There was the disputed victory over Pacquiao, the war with Provodnikov, and a well earned victory of Marquez. He nearly blew his win over Jessie Vargas when he got caught with a last minute punch that caused a tremor in his brain. 

In the wake of his near disaster against Vargas, Bradley brought on veteran trainer, Teddy Atlas. In his first fight under the care of Atlas, he scored a knockout against the usually tough Brandon Rios. But the result has people wondering about a cause. Was the KO a product of retooling administered by a new trainer; or was it the brought on by Rios’s evident loss of passion?

Despite their interesting, sometimes overlapping, stories, their third fight remains uninspiring to many fight fans. Maybe everyone has had their fill of Pacquiao and they believe it’s time for him to move on. It’s a young man’s sport, and the young men need a chance to step up. Perhaps the two men are just too nice and lack the theatrical rudeness that fuels the promotion of so many modern matches. Maybe people actually believe Pac Man when he says this is his final fight and they find Bradley to be an unworthy last opponent. The first fight was seen as a gift for Bradley, and Pacquiao was the clear winner in the second. In literary terms, Manny is the subject of Bradley’s greatest chapter—while Timothy is a footnote in Pacquiao’s story.

But expectation is by no means a prediction. The lack of interest in this trilogy could prove to be misguided. The two heroes of this drama might just reveal the essences of what has driven them this far. And this hitherto tepid tale might just end with the pathos worthy of an epic story.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Classic Boxing: Pacquiao vs. Bradley 2012 (HBO Boxing)

Pacquiao vs. Bradley II 2014 – Full Fight (HBO Boxing)

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  1. bikermike 06:34pm, 03/08/2016

    hey ted cruz… have no appreciation of fact based news

  2. bikermike 06:01pm, 03/08/2016

    the cold hustle when a nice lady ...who finds that a total stranger…who may have had too much to drink….has made it clear he will run out and sell his car and give her the money…..if she just comes/cums to his room.

    She agrees…he sells the car….gives her the money…...and she never shows up….

    I’ve only been tricked like this seven times ~~!!!  A Man has to learn his limits!!

  3. bikermike 05:46pm, 03/08/2016

    pacman is now ....a former great !!

    After his effort…(what effort) against pbf…..which was sought for six years…..
    he turns out a performance that could be used for security….when they have to watch paint dry.!!!

    Pac man is no longer a big draw…..and Bradley ...may use this to his advantage..
    Bradley was scorned and ignored ......after he beat pac man….I hope his spirit still burns…...Bradley beat Pacquiao the first time…lost the second time….Third time…..???        Pac don’t want anymore of Marquez

  4. bikermike 05:35pm, 03/08/2016

    BTW….mr seaver…..this is not the first piece you’ve written   ...that I enjoy…

    Thank you

  5. bikermike 05:33pm, 03/08/2016

    I will never spend my own money to watch pac man….nor pbf…....ever again…

    those who inherit from me will be given specific instructions….as well as about leonard vs HAGLER…

    pac lost to Bradley ..the first time…..(for whatever reasons)...but he lost….the Second Bradley match(...after they starved the poor bastard into it)....Pacquiao was a different fighter….and Bradley was much slower…

    ONE TO ONE…..but Timothy Bradley was treated worse than a tatoo’d biker slut who got passed around…than the MAN WHO SHOT ...LIBERTY VALENCE..!!

    Hagler just quit….after rematch clause was not honourd..

    Bradley keeps on..and doing well


    most went to sleep….rest were outraged

  6. bikermike 05:02pm, 03/08/2016

    hey ted cruz…

    we can always hope for intervention from a higher power

  7. bikermike 04:57pm, 03/08/2016


    Graziano vs Zale….Ali vs Norton…Ali vs Frazier…Ghatti vs Ward…..(respects to those I missed….medication kicks in )

    Pacquiao vs Bradley about the only money fight Pacman has left….

    or..another Juan Manuel Marquez…

    after the cold hustle we got from pac-pbf thing…..not much money in PPV for either of them…...NOW

    Bradley has a gift….to present his best against Pacquiao…....the money is real good for this one….and if he wins….it triples….

    Bradley was not treated well when he beat pac man…nor since..

  8. bikermike 04:39pm, 03/08/2016 ...some of your pac bag lickers feel that Bradley didn’t win the first one…...and on that…we will agree to disagree…
    If you wish to view the match..round by round…with no sound(that means NO SOUND..commentators especially) you will agree that paquiao was not at his best.
    many reports about gamblng…wife problems….and some ongoing political pressure…

    Pacman was outpointed by a very gifted boxer who didn’t run…..he just took advantage of Pac’s distractions…...AND HE WON .....ON POINTS… cinderella man against max baer….

    Now….the rematch…..Bradley was slower….Pacquiao was more focussed and prepared…his domestic problems had calmed down….

    ...and Pacquiao won ...

    NOW..the third one….

    Pacquiao is definately on his ‘back nine’.....and Bradley could really use this one….

    I’d say it is a good match…..but ...after that one hundred dollar reem job…..I’ll never buy a pac man…pbf match again

  9. Pete The Sneak 09:22am, 03/04/2016

    This is not really a ‘rubber match per se, as Pac has really won both times. But the judges said it wasn’t so, and we now arrive at this juncture…I personally have no problem with these two going at it again, as I’m sure it will be an entertaining fight, as the first two were for the most part…My only problem with this is that they are asking you to pay for it (PPV). I would say that this fight is definitely not PPV worthy, but that has been the norm for most ‘big’ fights over the past decade and a half and it just doesn’t have the same steam anymore when you say it…So with that, there will be no shelling out ducats on my end for a third series of a fight wherein the series has already been won…Peace.

  10. Ted Cruz = Freddy Krueger 07:49am, 03/04/2016

    This is the day and age we live in. Even this site treats TMZ like a credible “news” source when TMZ is the equivalent of Jerry Rivers aka Geraldo, Joan Rivers (apparently no relation to Jerry) & Jerry Springer all rolled into one. We are treated to non-stop comic book movies, ridiculous 80’s remakes & sequels of movies that started back in the 70’s, why should a dying sport like boxing be any different. Bradley vs. Broner makes much more sense most boxing fans.

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