LAS VEGAS –WBO junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley unveailed an oversized “Bradley-Pacquiao 2” fight ticket along with a poster touting a Nov. 10 rematch during a Wednesday press conference in advance of Saturday night’s HBO Pay Per View televised challenge for the WBO welterweight belt owned by Manny Pacquiao at the MGM Grand.
That’s how confident Bradley (28-0, 12 knockouts) is that he can end the winning streak of (54-3-2, 38 KOs), who is after his 16th consecutive victory and his ninth stoppage during that run.
“Let me explain this to you guys,” said Bradley, holding the approximately 6-foot long, three-foot high ticket overhead as he spoke from a podium. “This is a ticket right here for the next fight on November 10. I’m already predicing the future guys right here.”
Bradley then combed the audience to find his wife, Monica, whom he credited for “getting me through this training camp pretty much with ease,” adding, “I didn’t have to worry about anything. She handled everything.”
“Where’s my wife at. Is my wife out there in the front? Baby, come and get your ticket. This is your seat right here. Section 1, Row A, Seat No. 1,” said Bradley.
“That’s your ticket, here you go. So make sure you all get a picture of that right there. And then we’ll talk, on June 10, because that’s when the tickets will go on sale for the rematch. Thank you.”
Bradley insists that he will be ready for whatever Pacquiao has to offer, thanks, he said, to what he considers to have been the best preparation he has ever experienced under career-long trainer, Joel Diaz.
“Training camp was hell, and I’ve never, ever trained this heart in my whole life. I’m ready. I’m ready to shock the world. I’m ready to do whatever it takes to win this fight. It’s going to be a great fight. Let’s get it on, baby. It’s going to be a war. I’m ready.”
Pacquiao will take home $6 million to $5 million for Bradley, WBO bantamweight titleholder Jorge Arce will pocket $300,000 to $25,000 for challenger Jesus M. Rojas, unbeaten welterweight Mike Jones will take home $105,000 to $100,000 for rival Randall Bailey in their IBF title bout, and WBA junior featherweight beltholder Gullermo Rigondeaux will earn $103,000 against the $70,000 that will go to challenger Teon Kennedy.
The purses are in accordance with the records obtained from Keith Kizer, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
ROACH HEADED FOR HALL AT MIDNIGHT SATURDAY
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach, will leave for Canestota, N.Y., on Saturday night after the fight in order to attend the International Hall of Fame ceremonies.
Roach will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with ring announcer Michael Buffer, who will share the airplane ride, as well as former two-division titleholder Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, former five-division titlewinner Thomas “The Hit-Man” Hearns, broadcaster Al Bernstein and journalist Michael Katz.
“I rented a plane, and I’m not happy about that. Michael Buffer’s coming with me. This is a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” said Roach, adding that the private airplane cost $26,000.
“My plane leaves at midnight, and they’ll wait for me until about 2 a.m. if I’m late. So I’m flying to Syracuse and then driving to Canestota and getting the award and flying back on Monday to Las Vegas.”
ROACH SAYS BRADLEY’S ‘NOT A BIG PUNCHER’ AND ‘SLOW’
Roach believes that Pacquiao’s overall skills will be the difference in the victory over Bradley, whose power won’t be a factor, according to the trainer.
“He’s not a big puncher, and he’s a little bit slow, and all of that muscle looks really, really great. But do you know how hard it is to deliver a punch with that muscle and his tightness? I feel that he’ll be the one getting tired in the late rounds,” said Roach.
“He’s put too much muscle on his body. He goes from 165 pounds to 147 on a [vegetarian] diet. I think he loses a lot of muscle in that, because he has no body fat. And when you lose muscle, it deteriorates the muscle and you’re not as strong. I think that we excel with the speed, the power and the distance.”
“I believe that my advantage I believe is my speed,” said Pacquiao. “I’m faster than him, and of course, my power also.”
PACQUIAO IS A NEW MAN IN THE GYM
Roach credited Pacquiao’s faith-based lifestyle changes, which include no longer gambling and womanizing, for a renewed vigor in the gym.
“I don’t really have any opinion. I think that it’s great for him. If religion works for somebody, then I’m happy with that and I have no problem with that. The thing is, he comes to the gym and he never comes in tired from maybe a late night of gambling or drinking or whatever his bad habits were,” said Roach.
“When you’re gambling, what does that lead to? Maybe a beer or two, and then, what comes after that is the girls. He’s with his family now, and with the Bible study, he comes to the gym much more focused. We had a really good training camp. From all of the distractions he used to have, the trade off is unbelievable.”
Pacquiao no longer suffers cramping as a result of having given up late night basketball games, said Roach.
“He gave up basketball, and I asked him why. And I thought that I was going to get all of this stuff about religion. But he said that I run really hard in the morning,” said Roach.
“And then I work really hard in the gym, and then I play basketball for two and three hours a night. Maybe I’m doing too much and that’s why I’m getting cramps in my legs and stuff. I said, ‘thanks, Manny Pacquiao, that’s the best thing you could have given me.”
PAST RIVALS ALEX ARIZA, MIGUEL DIAZ IN PACQUIAO’S CORNER TOGETHER
Roach has asked Pacquiao to dismiss strength and conditioning guru Alex Ariza, but the fighter has refused.
In fact, Ariza will return to Pacquiao’s corner on Saturday night along with Restituto “BuBoy” Fernandez and cut man Miguel Diaz, with whom Ariza has also had disagreements in the past.
Ariza has been in the corner of Pacquiao alongside Roach over the course of his past eight victories, during which he has won three title belts over as many different weight divisions, scored knockouts over Oscar De La Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton and vanquished Juan Manuel Marquez, Shane Mosley, Antonio Margarito and Joshua Clottey.
Pacquiao downplays any notion of turmoil in his corner.
“I have already have talked to Freddie and Alex Ariza, but I have not talked to Miguel Diaz yet,” said Pacquiao. “Everything is okay, and it’s fine. I will focus on Freddie. Alex will be in the corner.”
JESSIE VARGAS BOLTS MAYWEATHER PROMOTIONS FOR MANAGER CAMERON DUNKIN
Manager Cameron Dunkin confirmed a report by BoxingScene.com that he has signed unbeaten welterweight prospect Jessie Vargas (19-0, 9 KOs), who is coming off last month’s one-sided, unanimous decision over veteran Steven Forbes that was contested on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s unanimous decision victory over Miguel Cotto.
“He called me yesterday, and that’s why it went so fast. It was easy,” said Dunkin. “I’m happy about it. I’ve known him since he was about 16. I wanted to sign him then, but it just didn’t work out.”
Vargas had been promoted by the promotional company named for Mayweather, whose bout with Cotto and the entire event were promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
Dunkin handles several fighters, including Bradley, featherweight contender Mikey Garcia, former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios and former undisputed middleweight beltholder Kelly Pavlik, all of whom are promoted by Top Rank.
Dunkin said he would discuss a promoter with Vargas, although Top Rank CEO, Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, said that he would be interested.
“Cameron has spoken to us, and he’s high on Vargas,” said Arum. “Generally, anybody that Cameron brings to us, we’re interested. We may not end up signing them, but we’re interested.”
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org