Thursday, June 7, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer, Case Keefer and Taylor Bern usher in fight week by discussing everything surrounding Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley on their weekly "Waking up with the Sun" radio program. Has Pacquiao lost something? Does Bradley have a chance? And the obligatory question — Will Pacquiao ever fight Floyd Mayweather? Catch Las Vegas Sun sports talk Monday mornings at 8 on 91.5 KUNV.
Pre-fight press conferences are too mundane for Timothy Bradley.
So Bradley brought a prop to the final media function of fight week Wednesday at the MGM Grand. The 5-foot-6 Bradley raised a ticket taller than him over his head as he stood at the podium next to Manny Pacquiao.
The stub read, “Bradley vs. Pacquaio 2: World Welterweight Championship Rematch,” scheduled for Nov. 10 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. It’s a fight that could only happen if Bradley upsets Pacquiao on Saturday night.
“I’m ready to shock the world,” Bradley declared. “I’m ready to do whatever it takes to win.”
If Bradley (29-0) isn’t supremely confident headed into his mega-bout against Pacquiao (54-3-2), then the 28-year-old from Southern California is awfully good at pretending.
Bradley and his team have outdone Pacquiao’s bunch when it comes to proclaiming greatness — a considerable feat taking into account how often those in the Filipino’s corner talk him up.
“(Upsets) don’t come around so often,” Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz, said. “But I think we’re up for one. I think Saturday night is going to be the upset of the decade.”
Although Bradley remains nearly a 4-to-1 underdog on local betting boards, he looks like Pacquiao’s toughest recent challenge in several areas. Most notably, no one has ever beaten Bradley in the ring.
Pacquiao hasn’t fought an undefeated fighter since before his current 15-fight win streak began seven years ago. The champion has endured some criticism that the majority of his opponents lately, as many as five of the last seven, have been fighters on the downside of their careers.
No one is saying that about Bradley, who readily admits he’s in his prime after working his way from local fight cards to winning three world championships.
“I can beat this guy,” Bradley said. “No problem.”
Bradley became more certain after watching Pacquiao’s last fight, a controversial majority-decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez. Bradley took no issue with Pacquiao winning the decision but said the performance exposed holes he’s talented enough to exploit.
Particularly, Bradley couldn’t believe how much damage Marquez did by employing a simple counter-punching strategy.
“I was like, ‘That’s all I have to do?’” Bradley said. “I should be able to do that. I’m a lot quicker than Marquez. I’m a lot younger and I’m going to throw shots. I’m going to throw punches. I’m just not going to let this guy bombard me with all these shots and punches, and I’m not going to be there to get hit most of the time because I’m very elusive.”
Bradley is the rare fighter who’s actually moving up in weight to challenge Pacquiao. Throughout a career that’s seen him win titles in a record eight different weight classes, Pacquiao has traditionally been the one fighting bigger opponents.
Bradley said Pacquiao wouldn’t be used to his speed. The self-assured fighter has Pacquiao’s full attention.
“Tim Bradley’s a hungry fighter and young,” Pacquiao said. “I know what he’s feeling. That’s why I trained like I was 20 years old. My team wanted me to stop training, but I kept pushing more and more because I know Bradley is inspired.”
When Pacquiao smiled and attempted to break their stare down pose at the press conference, Bradley stayed stoically glaring. He’s itching to get into the ring.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. recently said he had concerns about fighting Pacquiao because of “safety issues”. It’s assumed Mayweather was hinting at Pacquiao allegedly taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Bradley has a different way of looking at it.
“(Pacquiao) can take whatever he wants; it don’t matter,” Bradley said. “He’s going to have to be on something to beat me.”