Boxing’s superstar, undefeated opponent don’t say much leading up to Saturday’s bout
By Mike Sloan in Las Vegas: Typically the fighters tend to save their comments until fight night and they like to speak with their fists. Obviously there are a few exceptions in the game but Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley said very little when they stepped up onto the dais during the final pre-fight press conference to Saturday’s HBO Pay Per View-televised showdown.
After the suits did usual pre-presser rambling and thanking of all the sponsors, the main fighters eventually took to the stage to greet the media and speak about their duel. After what seemed to be an overly pro-Pacquiao atmosphere from the vast majority of the attendees, the unbeaten challenger to Pacquiao’s throne spoke through virtually gritted teeth, oozing with confidence.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment my whole life and it’s finally here,” a focused, hungry Bradley said. “It’s only a few days away and I can’t wait for it.”
Bradley opted to not say too much about his gameplan or his opponent, but he did intimate that he’s readier than he’ll ever be to fight what amounts to the biggest one of his life.
“Training camp was hell,” Bradley added. “It was just hell. I’ve never, ever trained this hard in my whole life. I’m ready. I’m ready to shock the world. This is going to be a great fight so let’s get it on. I’m ready for this.”
Bradley’s head trainer, Joel Diaz, was equally terse and agreed that his fighter, who eventually brought out a giant ticket and poster pumping up the proposed rematch between Bradley and Pacquiao on November 10, was at his best.
“There’s not much to say at this point,” a stoic Diaz stated. “We’re just ready to win this fight Saturday night. There are a lot of upsets in boxing but they don’t come around that often. I think we’re in for one this Saturday with Timothy Bradley beating Manny Pacquiao. I’m telling everybody to be ready because we’re coming to win. That’s really all I have to say.”
Never one to try and mug for the spotlight, Diaz’ opposing coach, Freddie Roach, was similarly short with his pre-fight speech. Roach, who will inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on Sunday, was as confident as always and professed how terrific a camp he’s had with his prized pupil.
“We had a really good training camp,” Roach said. “We were really focused and got rid of a lot of the distractions of the past. This is going to be a great fight. Timothy is a great, resilient, undefeated guy and he’s coming to win. He’s a great fighter and this will be a great fight and we’re prepared for him.”
The star of the entire press conference and of the fight is undeniably Pacquiao, who seemed to elicit laughter and admiration with almost every word. Per the norm, the Filipino star didn’t say too much and praised his opponent’s talents, though he took a friendly jab at Bradley’s remarks about going through hell.
“Training was good,” Pacquiao revealed. “My training was amazing; it was heaven.”
Pacquiao, who was given a diamond ring from the WBO beforehand, made it clear that he meant to say “heaven” and stressed it to the media and to Bradley before continuing, garnering much laughter amongst those in attendance.
“Tim Bradley is a hungry fighter and he’s young,” Pacquiao added. “I know what he’s feeling. I feel like I’m 20 years old and my team wants me to stop training but I keep pushing for more rounds. I keep pushing because I know Bradley is hungry and he’s trained very hard for this fight. I know on Saturday it will be a good fight.”
Whether Pacquiao’s laid back attitude and Bradley’s fierce, focused demeanor will lead to fireworks and/or a major upset on Saturday night remains to be seen. However, though there wasn’t much in terms of excitement in the final press conference, it is worth noting that Pacquiao is the heavy favorite and it appears as though the vast majority of those involved with this major event are over-looking Bradley. This could wind up being more fuel for Bradley, a 4-1 underdog, who is dead set on pulling off the upset of the year.
More on this later…
You can also contact Mike Sloan at www.facebook.com/mikesloan19 or follow him on Twitter @mikesloan19