Even if you fall flat on your face, you are still moving forward.
Tonight, Manny Pacquiao will look to exercise demons from nights passed, nearly 500 of them to be exact, as he embarks on his journey to absolution and the atonement of 2012.
If you interrogate Timothy Bradley, he'll tell you that Pacquiao will accomplish neither result in a few hours. If you believe that, then you also believe that he believes he won their first fight.
If Bradley were Catholic and decided to visit confession, the first thing the priest would tell Tim is to stop frontin' and admit he lost. This is when he'd find a way to give Tim a handkerchief, as he'd truthfully admit this through sobs and tears. No fighter on his way to the hospital after he won a championship is going to tell the world "I have to look at the tapes to see if I won".
He lost, which is why he's going to try like hell to win tonight. Bradley is as prideful a fighter as I've ever seen in my life, and his searing passion over glory unobtained in connection with Pacquiao, will lead him to seek it violently.
This is where his pride - and prejudice - will be dangerous.
Bradley decided to mock and taunt Pacquiao before this fight to lure him into a single minded assault on him. Along with Joel Diaz, he watched the Juan Manuel Marquez IV fight many times in preparation for what he'll face tonight. He wasn't wrong for doing this, because this is exactly the Pacquiao he'll get tonight in many ways.
The problem is, Pacquiao will be better than that guy, and Bradley can't be that Marquez tonight. Juan Manuel's high KO% rate was as the result of a style feeds off of aggression and his natural gifts as a precise counterpuncher who can take extreme punishment.
Marquez would make mincement out of Ruslan Provodnikov, the same Provodnikov that would take Bradley to the edge of the Milky Way everytime they fought. Bradley's win over Marquez is very misleading. While he won the fight clearly, he didn't really beat him.
He simply didn't engage Marquez and wasn't around to allow him to counterpunch. Juan Manuel's inclination is to set traps and wait, and at 40, his speed had regressed enough to miss rare opportunities Tim gave him.
Not so tonight.
Pacquiao will remember what made him great. He'll attack Bradley with a measured fury and passion you've not seen from him since the Ricky Hatton fight. I believe Bradley will also fight Pacquiao in an Agapito Sanchez kind of way, with elements of dirtiness, grit and skilfull determination.
All of this will make for an incredible fight because they both possess extreme amounts of will. The difference being, Pacquiao's sublime footwork and otherworldly natural ability to produce speed shots from a variety of balanced angles.
Southpaws usually have a great straight left and can bother the average orthodox fighter to no avail. Every now and then, one will come along that has strange power in their right hand, primarily with the hook and the jab, while their left is just ordinary.
Pacquiao combines the two elements with no shortage of shots he cannot dial up at any time.
From 2002-2010, Pacquiao went from an unusually fast but one-dimensional southpaw with great talent, to an immortal with the most complete skill set and gifts I've never seen before in a fighter. While he'll never quite be what once was in that era now sealed, he'll remind you of that tonight because of the way Bradley will brazenly attack him.
Showcasing a ring countenance of a bully at the onset, I expect Bradley to cower under the unpredictable and often undetectable assault of the battle tested Filipino icon. Marquez's now classic stoppage of Pacquiao was the result of great peril as he himself was on his way to a clear stoppage. It ranks alongside Robinson's stoppage picturesque KO of the iron-chinned Gene Fullmer.
But Bradley cannot do this, and won't want to try after a while.
Absorbing a gradual amount of punishment (particularly to the body), Bradley will wilt under the consistent presence of a more textbook sound veteran that employs a solid jab, a left hook, and a right hand.
I can see this fight going the distance because of Bradley's uncanny ability to survive, but more than likely the damage he endures will leave him short of the final bell. I expect Pacquiao to knock out Timothy Bradley in an 11 round war and a fight for the ages.
Enjoy the fight :)