WBO junior welterweight titleholder, Manny Pacquiao, wants to “do two or three more fights” and then retire, he told reporters during Thursday’s New York press conference touting the HBO Pay Per View televised defense of his belt against WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley, that is slated for the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on June 9.
“I still like boxing. I still love boxing. I’m still hungry in boxing. I still want to fight. I may do two or three more good fights. My kid, the youngest son who is 11, Emmanuel Jr., says he wants me to retire,” said Pacquaio, a 33-year-old congressman in his native Philippines.
“But before that he wants me to fight [Floyd] Mayweather Jr., beat Mayweather, and then retire. I want the fight to happen. The problem is, he really doesn’t want the fight. Hopefully, before I retire, it will happen. I’m hoping for a November fight with him.”
Negotiations have failed three times to make a bout between Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Jr. (42-0, 26 knockouts), who will challenge WBA junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto on May 5 at the MGM Grand.
Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) dethroned Cotto for his current title by 12th-round knockout in November of 2009, but said that it was not an easy fight.
Pacquiao believes that Mayweather may be underestimating Cotto.
“[Mayweather] thinks Cotto is an easy opponent. But he’s not. He’s strong. He’s a good opponent,” said Pacquiao. “Mayweather needs to train hard. He’s taking a big chance. I hope he wins, but the fight is not easy.”
PACQUIAO’S STREAK IS ON THE LINE AGAINST BRADLEY
Pacquiao will be after his 16th straight victory and his 10th knockout during that run against Bradley (28-0, 12), who, at 28 years old, is five years Pacquiao’s junior.
“I consider this fight one of my toughest. Timothy Bradley is undefeated, strong and he can punch,” said Pacquiao, who last suffered defeat by decision against Erik Morales in March of 2005, but has since knocked out Morales twice.
“Bradley’s body is bigger than mine. I think we can make a good fight. That’s why I picked him as an opponent. “I’m pretty sure we will make a good fight.”
FOR BRADLEY, PACQUIAO’S THINKING A HEAD
In January of last year, Bradley was widely criticized for being a dirty fighter when it was perceived that his head butts led to an 11th-round technical decision that dethroned Devon Alexander as WBC beltholder.
The Bradley-Alexander verdict was decided on the cards after it was ruled that the southpaw Alexander could no longer continue as a result of a large laceration that bled profusely following an accidental clash of heads.
Bradley was careful not to allow head butts to spoil November’s eighth-round knockout of former four-time titleholder and Cuban Olympic gold medalist Joel Casamayor on the undercard of Pacquiao’s disputed majority decision over Juan Manuel Marquez, a man Pacquiao previously fought to a draw and a split-decision victory.
“If he used his head, we were ready for it. That’s why you saw me pull my head back, to get away from the headbutts,” said Bradley after dropping Casamayor three times during the triumph. “There were rarely any headbutts and no cuts from headbutts in the fight, so no more writing about headbutts.”
Although he does not consider Bradley to be a dirty fighter, Pacquiao said that his opponent’s head is a concern.
“I can put it in my strategy not to get head butted,” said Pacquiao. “I don’t think Timothy Bradley is a dirty fighter. It’s just his style to duck his head. His head butting is not intentional.”
BRADLEY: “ANYBODY NEEDS TO BEAT THIS GUY”
During a recent interview with RingTV.com, Bradley talked about his appeal to the African American and Latino communities, as well as his relative youth in comparison to Pacquiao’s past opponents.
On Thursday, Bradley broached a subject originally addressed by RING light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins, who claimed in November of 2010 that Pacquiao, who is 33, had yet to face a young, top notch African American fighter.
“There’s no argument there that he has not fought a top African American fighter,” said Arum. “But the notion that he would not fight an African American fighter is ridiculous.”
Bradley discussed the subject with RingTV.com’s Joe Santoliquito at Thursday’s press conference.
“This is great for the black community. It’s great because it’s something the African-American community can embrace. You know, a young fighter like myself, and the sport as well. It’s about coming out and supporting me, getting rowdy and definitely believing in me,” said Bradley, whose wife, Monica, is of Latino descent.
“You know a big win over Manny Pacquiao will not only have the black community, but the Latin community, all communities, they would all embrace me because someone beat this guy. That’s what needs to happen, anybody, just somebody, it really doesn’t matter, just anybody needs to beat this guy. That’s what I’m aiming to do.”
Marquez is among several Mexican warriors who have fallen to THE RING’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, and Bradley says he has received substantial support from Latino fans, particularly in his native Palm Springs, Calif.
“My wife is Latin American, and the Latino community is embracing me, especially in my home town. Absolutely. That’s the case, not only in my community, but everywhere. Everybody wants to see this guy go down, and everybody wants me to be the guy to take him out. That’s what I feel and that’s how I see it,” said Bradley.
“The Latin community has embraced me in this fight. Because they want someone to beat this guy. Pacquiao has beaten a lot of Latin fighters, you know, and their champions. A lot of Mexican fighters have lost to this guy, and they’re looking for someone that’s friendly and someone that’s humble and someone that’s hungry and someone that’s with them as well, and that’s me.”
ARUM: BRADLEY HAS YOUTH ON HIS SIDE.
For Pacquiao, a victory over Bradley would silence the critics, said Arum.
“We heard a lot of criticism from the press, some of it justified, that we were putting Manny in with fighters who were on the downward slope. That certainly was the case with Mosley. We got some of that with Marquez, but it turned out not to be the circumstance there. I was looking around for an opponent and I wanted to get some young guy that that criticism couldn’t be directed at,” said Arum.
“Bradley is a young, fresh fighter who is undefeated. [Top Rank matchmaker] Bruce [Trampler] felt the styles of the two guys would mesh, and it would be an exciting fight. These are guys who throw punches and come forward. I think Bradley is the only one who can match Manny in hand speed. If Bradley can last into the later rounds, he can make it an intriguing fight for Manny.”
HBO’s 24/7 series chronicling the events leading up to Pacquiao-Bradley will debut on Saturday, May 19 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT., with the second episode airing on May 26, the third on June 2, and the finale, on June 8.
“We are really looking forward to presenting this all-new edition of 24/7 in a style that only 24/7 can deliver,” said Ken Hershman, HBO’s president of sports programming.
“Manny and Tim have contrasting back stories and we will spotlight these two compelling characters against the backdrop of a major title fight.”
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Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com