Pacquiao wins, avenges 2012 loss to Bradley
Las Vegas – His legacy and place among the all-time greats already secured, Manny Pacquiao attends to an unfinished business with Tim Bradley on Saturday night (Sunday noon in the Philippines) at the MGM Grand where the Filipino made a rousing introduction of himself more than 13 years ago.
“This is the moment we’ve all been waiting for,” said Pacquiao, who tipped the scales at 145 during the official weigh in held before some 5,000 fans at the Grand Garden Arena.
Pacquiao, 35, received a rousing welcome as he made his way up the stage as though he was the hometown bet while Bradley, 30, appeared to be the villain in a classic battle between good and evil as a cascade of boos descended from the stands.
Pacquiao was clearly delighted over the warm welcome that he received, waving his hands several times and even blowing kisses to the audience as if he was a rock star.
Bradley tried to win the crowd by waving to them but it only made the crowd irritated and offended to the point that he looked like he was some freak from another planet.
“I have beaten him before and I can beat him again,” said the supremely confident Bradley, who checked in at 145 1/2 lbs.
Just like in the press conference, Bradley didn’t let the opportunity pass without psyching up Pacquiao’s mind as he began saying something to Pacquiao the moment they were told to do the traditional staredown following the weigh in.
“I just told him to be ready and let’s do it,” said Bradley, who was awarded a 12-round split decision the first time they met in June 2012.
Pacquiao answered back like a true professional and a true gentleman as the fighting congressman replied without resorting to trash talk.
“I just told him, ‘yeah, let’s do it,’” said Pacquiao, whose is coming off a brutal beat down of Brandon Rios in Macau late last year following a stunning sixth-round knockout defeat to Juan Manuel Marquez in December 2012.
Pacquiao (55-5-2 with 38 KOs) said he has realized that he has to be less compassionate this time to his opponent because letting Bradley off the hook will be dangerous.
In their first fight, Pacquiao was the clear aggressor and the dominant fighter but there were a few times when he didn’t step on the gas pedal when he had to, giving Bradley the chance to fire back and gain the judges’ nod.
Not this time, said Pacquiao, who is guaranteed a purse of $20 million plus a share of the pay-per-view earnings and other sources of revenue.
“This time it will be different. We have prepared differently and did things that we never did before,” said Pacquiao.
“Aggressiveness and volume punching will be important for me,” added Pacquiao.
Bradley says he doesn’t care. He says “Pacman” is on the down slope of a professional career that stretches back to 1995.
Pacquiao Lacks Fire?
“I think he may lack fire,” the dogged American said. “His motivation is not there. He’s been at the top for a very long time. He has over 60 fights in the ring with all the best. Maybe this is one fight too late for him.”
Bradley said he is ready for whatever Pacquiao brings to the ring and he will not settle for another points win.
“I have to knock him out and I have to do that. I can’t let it go to the scorecards,” stressed Bradley, who gets a career-high $6 million plus a slice of the PPV earnings.
That kind of talk has only strengthened Pacquiao’s resolve, according to trainer Freddie Roach, who nevertheless knows that Bradley can’t be taken lightly.
“Bradley is a better fighter than some people give him credit for, and we know he has a lot of heart,” Roach said. “That doesn’t change the fact that Manny has a plan that will beat him again – this time for real.”
This will be Pacquiao’s 24th fight on US soil and the 15th here and he is pressured to come up with an emphatic win and not a decision since he hasn’t stopped an opponent since late 2009.
Roach said that even if Pacquiao wins against Bradley but on a close decision, they may have to discuss the possibility of retirement.
However, Pacquiao insists it is premature to say that his fighting days are nearing its end as he is looking forward to about two more years of fighting before finally calling it quits.
Kenny Bayless, regarded as the best referee in the sport, will be the third man in the ring. The three judges are Michael Pernick of Florida, Glenn Trowbridge of Nevada, and Craig Metcalfe of Canada.
On the eve of the fight, Pacquiao was listed at -270 ($270 bet wins $100) and Bradley at +220 ($100 bet wins $220). (With a report from AFP)