Friday, April 11, 2014 | 5 p.m.
Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley reconvened on the same weigh-in stage they shared 672 days ago Friday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
While much of the scale-tipping festivities ahead of Saturday’s rematch felt like a repeat of the June 2012 weigh-in, subtle differences also shined through.
Pacquiao and Bradley both reached the welterweight limit with ease to make the bout official, but were also lighter than they were two years ago. Pacquiao came in at 145 pounds to Bradley’s 145.5 as opposed to their weights of 147 and 146, respectively, the first time around.
Pacquiao climbed his way to the scale first for a change. He’s the challenger on Saturday, as Bradley was able to poach Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight championship in the first fight’s controversial split-decision verdict.
Bradley mounted two impressive defenses of the belt, against Ruslan Provodnikov and Juan Manuel Marquez, but neither victory helped boost his popularity much among the weigh-in crowd.
The fans again met Pacquiao with effusive cheers as opposed to showering Bradley with engulfing boos, but the divide was even more glaring than it was in June 2012.
Almost everyone in the building came to their feet and applauded when a grinning Pacquiao entered from stage right to the sound of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” When D.J. Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win” overtook the speakers and Bradley peeked out from behind the curtain on stage left, the hostility ignited.
Bradley’s headphones likely didn't drown out the ambush. He took them off and showed a new comfort level for his villainous position, egging the crowd on and motioning for more boos.
“Confidence,” Bradley said when asked what had changed his attitude from when he last fought Pacquiao. “Confidence that I beat him before.”
“I’m going to knock Pacquiao out. I’m going to hit him.”
As he’s done in every staredown the two fighters have posed in since booking the rematch, Bradley jawed at Pacquiao as they faced off. Pacquiao kept his mouth shut and smiled.
He may have looked like the same nice guy, but Pacquiao vowed that wasn’t the case. He won’t let the second fight against Bradley look anything like the first.
“This time around, I think I’ve got to finish,” he said in his final comments before the fight. “I have business to do in the ring, and I’ll do what I can.”