On Monday, Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley stood shirtless, toe-to-toe and face-to-face, during a promotional photo shoot for their upcoming HBO Pay Per View clash on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
They did the same, although fully dressed, on Tuesday, following a press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., before mutually succumbing to laughter in front of a large gathering of media members.
A winner of 15 straight bouts, nine of them by knockout, Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 knockouts) even grabbed a camera from a photographer.
Pacquiao then used it to snap a shot of Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), whose fists were held high in fighting position while wearing a gray suit over a black, button-down shirt.
All jokes aside, the Filipino icon respects his June 9 challenger.
“Timothy Bradley is the king of the junior welterweight division in search of new worlds to conquer,” said Pacquiao, an eight-division titleholder who will defend his WBO welterweight crown against Bradley, the WBO’s junior welterweight beltholder.
“I know how he feels. I admire his ambition and his self-confidence to risk his undefeated record by moving up in weight to challenge me.”
The promotional tour for Pacquiao and Bradley will continue on Thursday in New York, where the fighters will be on hand for a luncheon that will be open to the public at Chelsea Piers in The Lighthouse at Pier 60.
“I’ve never met a mountain I couldn’t climb, and I’ve never let a man’s height or stature intimidate me. I live to fight the best,” said Bradley, who, at 28, is five years younger than Pacquiao.
“I’m not only challenging Manny for his world title, but I’m also challenging myself. I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity and I will make the most of it. I will enter the ring on June 9 fearless and prepared.”
Rated No. 9 pound-for-pound by THE RING, Bradley is coming off an eighth-round knockout of faded former lightweight champ Joel Casamayor on the undercard of Pacquiao’s disputed majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in November.
“Freddie Roach and I will need to make the most of every training day to prepare for Timothy,” said Pacquiao, referring to his trainer, a five-time Trainer of the Year.
“When I walk into the ring on June 9, it will be more than a world title defense for me. It will be another opportunity to bring honor and glory to my country and to my fellow Filipinos in the Philippines and around the world.”
Tickets to Pacquiao-Bradley go on sale this Friday at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT for $1,200, $900, $600, $400, and $200.
To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. Tickets also will be available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
“Timothy Bradley is undefeated and hungry. He does not know how to lose,” said Pacquiao. “This will be a great fight — champion vs. champion.”
“I have always been an underdog all of my life. But I know how to win. I talk winning. I go into the ring and win,” said Bradley. “Manny Pacquiao is the world’s greatest fighter. After I win, the rematch will be in November.”
ROACH CHIDES MAYWEATHER
Pacquiao took a shot at Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs) during a recent interview with Yahoo!Sports, claiming that his WBC welterweight counter part “doesn’t want the fight,” against him, adding “I want the fight,” and, “I’m the one who has wanted this fight all along.”
On Tuesday, Roach aimed yet another zinger at Mayweather, who will challenge WBA 154-pound titleholder Miguel Cotto on May 5 at the MGM Grand.
“I’m just glad Manny is fighting an undefeated fighter who is more concerned about winning,” said Roach, “than he is about protecting his record.”
Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz, backs up Roach’s assertion about his own fighter.
“Timothy Bradley is ready for war,” said Diaz. “No one can prepare for his type of combat.”
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com