BOB ARUM: This is a very interesting promotion as far as I’m concerned. A lot of people are concentrating on the new and improved Tim Bradley. Manny Pacquiao with his right arm now totally repaired – he has had that torn rotator cuff since before the De La Hoya fight. A lot of athletes are able to perform well with a torn rotator cuff – a lot of pitchers in the major leagues are able to perform well with it. Obviously now that it’s repaired, it is at full strength. Freddie will tell you that Manny is hitting harder with the right hand – even harder than with the left hand, so he is now going to be a real two-handed fighter which is very interesting. I think Tim Bradley’s big advantage is that he is going in with a game plan. I don’t think he had much of a game plan in the first two fights but certainly Teddy has given him one. I am very excited for my “NoTrump Undercard” with the young Hispanics contenders and I think it is resonating tremendously, particularly with the Hispanic community. I’ve done dozens of radio interviews and television programs with the Hispanic media and there is a lot of excitement.
How are tickets selling?
BOB ARUM: The Ticket situation is good. It is about what it was last time that Manny fought Bradley. There are approximately 2,00 tickets left and a lot of those will go in the last week. They are selling at a very good clip so if we don’t sell out we will have at least 14,000 people in the arena on April 9. I am still optimistic that they will all be gone by fight night.
What is your aiming point for the pay-per-view?
BOB ARUM: I really think that we have a shot to go over 700,000. I really think that Manny and Bradley will do most of the numbers, but let me tell you that my Hispanic army is marching out there and we are going to do a tremendous number from people, aside from the Pacquiao-Bradley numbers, that want to see these Hispanic stars in very, very important fights. I am pretty confident that we will do over 700,000 with a little break here and there. Maybe if Trump opens his mouth a little bit more we can go over 800,000.
Do you think Bradley will be different for this fight? What has Freddie been telling you and what do you think it will it be?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Bradley has a new trainer for this fight and a new game plan and I am very excited for that because we will see more action in the ring in this fight.
In the first two fights he was avoiding your left hook. Will you use it more this fight or less?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Right now I have been working on my right hand and my right hook which is very good. My left hand is still good, but my right shoulder is healed and that is good, because I can use it with real power.
Freddie said it took you longer to get in shape for this fight. Is that because of the layoff or the shoulder?
MANNY PACQUIAO: We had a lot of time to exercise for this fight. We had a lot of time to train and all I can say is training camp was great and I am ready for the fight and everything is great.
Do you feel like the layoff has helped you?
MANNY PACQUIAO: That is one thing, it is good to have a long layoff in boxing – I feel fresh and new and I feel good now when I train every day. I really enjoyed this training camp.
You haven’t had a KO since 2009. Is that something that weighs on your mind or frustrates you? Or do you even think about it?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes, I am thinking about that. I have thinking about the last knockout that I had was in the Cotto fight and I believe the Margarito fight should have been stopped. It was a long time ago. I am thinking about it (the knockout) and that’s why I work hard. Right now it is a good thing that I had a layoff – I feel excited and fresh in my body and I will try hard for it in this fight.
Bob mentioned you’ve had a torn rotator cuff since the De La Hoya fight. Had you ever given consideration to having the surgery before since it has lingered for so long?
MANNY PACQUIAO: That fight was in 2008, so it was long ago. I still felt good and every time I rested the pain was gone.
Was it the worst in the Mayweather fight and psot-Mayweather?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes, in the fourth round. In the fourth round when I was throwing a lot of combinations. I hurt it coming off of one of the combinations.
It seems like you have been going back and forth regarding retirement. We know you have said you want to pursue your political career full time to assist your countrymen. Where do you stand on that right now?
MANNY PACQUIAO: After this fight I have already said that my mind is to focus on my job. If I win a Senate seat I have a big responsibility and I need to focus on that. I cannot say right now that I am going to retire. I don’t want to say that because I don’t know what the feeling is when you leave boxing. I will give it great thought when I return home.
So, you are going to have this fight, go back home and do your work and see what happens – and leave the door open?
MANNY PACQUIAO: My mind right now says to retire, but we don’t know.
Bob, have you spoken about this with Manny? What is your position?
BOB ARUM: Manny told me that he was going to retire after this fight, but I have been around this business for 50 years and a lot of fighters can’t walk away, so I am not advertising that this is going to be Manny’s last fight. It could be but then it may not be. He said he’s going back to run for Senate and if he becomes a Senator, he’ll have to decide whether to devote full time to the senate or he can work in a continuous boxing career. But again, that is going to have to be something that’s he’s going to have to decide. But one thing, for everyone on this line, I am not selling this fight as Manny’s last fight, so if he does come back after this fight – don’t say I deceived anyone.
Freddie, have you spoken about retirement with Manny following this fight? What is your position?
FREDDIE ROACH: We have talked about it a little bit. He told me he’s going to retire and I told him I think he still has some more fights left in him if he wants and he did ask me about training if he goes into the Olympics, if they let the pros in the Olympics and I said of course I will. That’s as far as we got. We didn’t talk about any fights after this. We are just concentrating on this fight right now.
Freddie, have you given any thought about not having Manny around any longer as a fighter?
FREDDIE ROACH: Of course, I will miss him. We have been together for a long time and I will go to all of his birthday parties in the Philippines and we will be friends for life.
BOB ARUM: Well, I look back on it, working with Manny, but I have been at this for a long time. Fighters retire, but the life of boxing continues. If Manny does retire, I’ll concentrate on Terence Crawford, Jessie Vargas and Gilberto Ramirez and Oscar Valdez and Jose Ramirez, Jesse Hart and a whole host of other guys, and Nonito Donaire. So again, I will look back at it like when I promoted Muhammad Ali and George Foreman – that it has been a tremendous experience and I’m grateful for it but life goes on. One thing is for sure – I ain’t retiring. You are going to have me around for another 50 years.
Manny, do you think if you had the surgery earlier you would still be in the middle of this non-KO string?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I am not sure.
FREDDIE ROACH: I am not sure. He was young enough to get through the injury. We didn’t know it was a severe injury and we worked through it. The thing is when he moved to 147 and fighting against guys that when they went into the ring weighed 160, the thing is, it’s tougher against the bigger guys. He had a lot more knockouts at 140 and 135 of course but those guys were much smaller. I think that had more of an effect than the injury.
Do you expect Bradley to bang the shoulder early to see how healthy it really is?
FREDDIE ROACH: No because I think he would be wasting his time. He doesn’t have the injury right now. We were working on it and it has been 100% great for this training camp. The surgery went well and the rehab went well and Manny is 100% at this point.
Manny, you are in the political business, what do you think about the “NoTrump Undercard?”
MANNY PACQUIAO: All I know is that we have a good undercard.
Bob, have you heard from anyone in the Trump organization regarding the undercard?
BOB ARUM: I don’t take their calls.
Manny, in the two fights against Tim, which did you think you did better? The one you lost or the one you won?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I think the same. I believe the same, because I won both.
Which one were you happier with?
MANNY PACQUIAO: The one that I won.
Why that that one different or better?
MANNY PACQUIAO: The difference was throwing a lot more punches. To make sure I won every round to win the fight.
Do you believe it is important for you to win this fight to carry momentum into your election back home?
MANNY PACQUIAO: It is very important to get the win for my country and the people in the Philippines, but the most important thing is a win for my country and a win for my legacy in boxing.
Do you think a win will help you in the election?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes.
What do you think about professionals fighting in the Olympics?
BOB ARUM: The idea that you will allow professional boxers into the Olympics, at this short notice, is absolutely insane. The idea that Manny Pacquiao would face off with some 17 or 18 year old kid, who has no professional experience, is not only stupid, it’s dangerous. These people ought to have their heads examined. People say that professionals play basketball. That’s true, but in basketball you can dunk over somebody, but it’s not a hurt game. In boxing, if you put experienced pros in with rank amateurs there will be serious health consequences. I don’t understand why they are now raising this issue. It makes no sense to me.
On this short notice it seems extremely unlikely it will happen…
BOB ARUM: Absolutely - extremely unlikely. Andre Ward says he wants to go to the Olympics. Many Pacquiao says he wants to got to he Olympics. Are they going to fight 17 year old kids?
Manny, if this happens, would you consider fighting in the Olympics?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Yes, after this fight I am going back to the Philippines to do my job and if they allow me to fight in the Olympics – I am not going to say that I am going to fight or saying that I am not. I am not closing the door and I am not committing to it – I am thinking about it.
With the long layoff, did it make you realize that you don’t need boxing anymore in your life?
MANNY PACQUIAO: With the long layoff in boxing - I feel better right now – I feel fresh. A long layoff is a good thing because I was able to spend more time with my family and concentrate on helping the Philippine people.
Freddie, Teddy Atlas trains fighters to be more aggressive, how does that play to you?
FREDDIE ROACH: Well, if he will be more aggressive I will be happy for that. If his fighter fights a little harder we will fight back. Manny is ready for whatever he brings to the table. We see the adjustments he is trying to make but once Manny hits him, he will revert back to what he does best. I am not worried about Teddy Atlas, believe me.
MANNY PACQUIAO: Thank you everyone and all of the media and make sure you watch on April 9. There is going to be a lot of action in the ring and I am excited for that. Thanks you and God bless all.
BOB ARUM: I would like to make some observations. I really believe that this third fight between Manny and Timothy will be by far the best of the three fights. It will be very exciting and I believe that one way or another it is going to end in a knockout.
Also pay attention to the Arthur Abraham – Ramirez super middleweight world title fight. If Ramirez wins that fight, he will be the first Mexican to win a world title in a weight class as heavy as super middleweight and he will be one of the future stars not only in Mexico, but all over the world in boxing. Keep your eye on this kid, he’s 24, handsome, well spoken and fights well. If he wins this fight and becomes a champion, he will be a big star.
As will Oscar Valdez if he can get by Gradovich. Gradovich is a non-stop fighter and Valdez is a two-time Mexican Olympian and a real up and coming fighter.
Then there is my favorite, the farm worker. His parents came to this country to work in the fields. Jose Ramirez as a kid picked peppers in the fields at thirteen or fourteen years of age – he put himself through college, was a member of the U.S. Olympic boxing team – he fights his first ten round fight against Manny Perez, a very tough fighter from Denver. Jose is a kid to really focus on. He is a social activist. He is a spokesperson for the Latino Water Coalition, for immigration rights – he is a kid that’s going to make a difference.
I am very excited about this entire card on April 9. People are going to be tremendously entertained. I am really putting myself out on the line to say that it will be a complete night of boxing of the best that boxing has to offer.
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April 6, 2016