LAS VEGAS. Nev. — The war between trainers is over. So is the mutual admiration party.
On Saturday (Sunday in Manila), it will be the fists of Filipino ring legend Manny Pacquiao and American Timothy Bradley that will do the talking when they clash for the third time in the final chapter of their trilogy at the MGM Grand Arena here.
Both pronounced themselves ready and, indeed, appeared well-prepared to mix it up for another 12 rounds of boxing serving as a fitting followup to the previous 24 they had the past four years.
Pacquiao, the eight-division champion and the sport’s former pound-for-pound king tipped the scales at 145.5 pounds which his handlers said is most ideal during Friday’s the official weigh-in held at the MGM Arena itself, site of their first two showdowns.
Bradley, five years younger than his rival at 32, weighed 146.5, six and a-half pounds lighter than his 153 only a week ago.
This a fight that not many wanted but one the results which , both fighters agreed, will define what’s in store for them after.
Pacquiao himself, now 37, had announced this, his 66th outing in a 21 year-prizefighting career highlighted by 57 victories, 6 defeats and 2 draws with 38 knockouts, could be the last time he would be climbing the squared circle.
Bradley hopes a victory can earn for him the respect and recognition yet to be accorded him by the boxing world despite an otherwise impressive 33-1-1 win-loss-draw record spiked by 13 knockouts.
And this, the pride of Palm Springs in California, expressed in his statement immediately following the weigh-in ceremonies.
“This (fight) is another opportunity for me to prove that I’m a topnotch fighter and that I can beat Manny Pacquiao,” Bradley declared after making the weight limit.
“A lot of Pacquiao fans will be disappointed tomorrow night,” Bradley, who only two days ago sounded nice in even campaigning for his rival’s bid for a senate seat back home, added rather boastfully.
The Filipino icon, in his usual altar boy image, merely invited the fans to watch the show “and expect more action than our first two fights.”
Bradley’s newly-hired trainer, former ring commentator Teddy Atlas added fuel to the situation telling everybody who cared to listen on the eve of the confrontation, “I’d rather die than see Timothy Bradley Jr. lose.”
To which Pacquiao’s Hall of fame teacher Freddie Roach retorted: I think Bradley gets along with Atlas and believes in him and it seems positive. I think Teddy will help him a little, I hope he makes him a more aggressive fighter. That would definitely help us.”
Roach and Atlas have a long history of misunderstanding even before the latter returned to being a trainer and that aggravated the feud. (ENDIT)
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All photos by Wendell Rupert Alinea
Article by Eddie G. Alinea