"Yes Freddie, I know I called Bradley handsome and I do not care what Mayweather says about that." (Chris Farina photo)
Max Kellerman sat down with Manny Pacquiao and his June 9 foe, Timothy Bradley, and the results were shown on his HBO program "Face Off."
"One of the most sensational fighters of this or any era," Kellerman said by way of introducing the Congressman, Pacquiao. The host said that this time around, Manny is in with a young, hungry, unbeaten opponent.
We saw Pacquiao sitting next to trainer Freddie Roach, and Bradley next to his trainer, Joel Diaz. You know, of course, that most of the time, these Face Off's feature just the combatants, but Roach can be a stellar soundbite-machine, who talks some top-grade trash, so it seemed wise to add him to the mix.
Bradley was asked what it means to get a shot like this. "It's an honor," he said. I got to say, I am happy for the man that he will make upwards of $9 million for the bout, but I really don't want to hear fighters talk about what an honor it is to get a gig like this. The gratification one feels can subconsciously seep in to how one fights, in my mind. You saw Shane Mosley's gratitude on display, I think, when he and Pacquiao faced off, and treated the clash too much for too many rounds like a sparring match amongst friends. We can hope there won't be that dynamic in play in Vegas on June 9.
Max noted that it's been awhile since Manny met someone in their prime. Why did Manny go with Bradley? Because he can't underestimate him, he said. As Freddie Roach has noted to me, Manny underestimated Juan Manuel Marquez, in his last outing, so he wanted to make sure he was mentally charged this time around.
Bradley, a clever politician, said, "Pacquiao is number one, pound for pound, in the game." Max picked up on that, asking if Pacquiao is better than Floyd Mayweather. The underdog paused and said, "I don't know. We have to see." Those two would have to square off to determine who is best, and Bradley said he wants to screw up that plan.
Roach was asked why Bradley? The trainer said he wasn't his first choice. Floyd was first choice, Manny said. Roach said options aren't endless. Roach said his guy wins many fights because he prepares the hardest. Diaz chimed in, saying that he thinks no one trains harder than his kid. Roach said his guy will train harder, and that's why they will win. Bradley laughed and said, "They don't know, man. They really don't know."
Bradley was asked about calling out Pacquiao after beating Luis Abregu in July 2010, saying, "Come break down this wall." He said he felt he could beat Pacman, and called himself a wall because he cannot be broken. Roach said they can break the wall, and will "get him out of there in the late rounds."
Bradley, Kellerman says, stands out because it seems like his willpower is way above average. "Anyone can be broken," Roach said. "No," Bradley said, not so. Diaz said his guy gets stronger later, so it'd be wise to try to stop him early. His guy will be extra careful early.
Bradley said he will box and brawl, because Manny is a warrior. "He's going to fight to the end," he said.
Fred said that they will be ready for the head, the butt. He doesn't think Bradley is dirty, but he wants Manny to combat the head with punches. Roach said he knows Bradley and his style, and that he will revert back to his toe-to-toe style. "It's not an easy fight, but entertainment wise, this is one of the best fights we could ever have. We'll see how good his chin really is."
Levity was inserted when Max asked Bradley what he sees when he looks at Manny. "Handsome," the Congressman said, breaking up the table. "I like Manny, I like Manny a lot," Bradley said. Max noted that Manny is helping Bradley get rich, but Bradley said that is not the key thing. Being number one is, he stated.
Pacquiao was then asked what he thought when looking at Bradley. "Handsome," he said again. Bradley cracked up again. Roach was asked the same. He said quality opponent, comes to fight, and it will be an explosive fight. It's time for Manny to look impressive, especially after the lackluster Marquez scrap, the trainer said.
Asked for predictions, Diaz said they will look for the stoppage, noting that Roach has said that all fights should ideally end via KO. They just need to do a bit more than JMM, he said. "I don't see it going the distance," Roach said.
Max asked what would happen if he gets buzzed early. He said he will stay in the game, and stay resolute. "I want to feel the pain," he said. "Bring it on, I'm up for the challenge, bring it on." Yes, there will be toe to toe trading, Bradley said. Chances will need to be taken. He said he has to hurt Pacquiao.
Bradley had no final words for Pacquiao, while Pacquiao said he wants to give the fans a great event, and that he prays for him, and "God bless you."
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?