We are a scant three days out from the most anticipated rematch between Manny "Does He Still Have the Killer Instinct?" Pacquiao and Timothy "I Will Get My Due Respect" Bradley at the MGM in Las Vegas, on Saturday night.
A press conference to get in one more round of hype unfolded at the MGM, and was presided over by promoter Bob Arum, who admitted that promoters often BS, and declare that matches are even-Steven scraps. This time it's different, he said, with Pacman being merely a 2-to-1 favorite. For that matter, the June 7 Sergio Martinez-Miguel Cotto scrap, in NYC, will be a 2-to-1 sort of match, as will the upcoming Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado tussle. Arum was on his best behavior, but went into sniper mode at the end, after contemplating holding off. He started a rant, paused, and then said what the hell...he slammed the host building for mistakenly having Floyd Mayweather promo material on display, and compared them unfavorablely to rival The Venetian. Then, he insinuated corruption in other quarters, declaring that no fighter needed to pay to play, and pay an unnamed person to appear on the Pac-Bradley card. Yes, these were heavyweight launches...He then chalked the tough talk up to his age, and drew hearty laughter, if not from MGM bigs, who had to be crimson-faced.
Pacman was his usual classy, understated self. He demurred a call from Arum to give Hillary Clinton an endoresement and said only God knows what will happen Saturday night. The fight will be, he said, "historic." Both fighters see it as an important bout, and it will be entertaining.
Bradley, who Arum said is a pleasure to work with, thanked his wife first for sticking with him through it all. He called the media the "motor" which feeds the fans fight info. Bradley said his hotel room is sweet and was amazed it has stairs. He called HBO "the premiere network," and Top Rank for standing by him, and being loyal to him. He also thanked Team Pacquiao for giving him another shot. He said nobody will be disappointed with this fight; both went through hell to give all a good show, he stated. He looked sharp, in a slick suit and sunglasses, and was the opposite of tight. Bradley asked Arum after if he said all the right things, and Arum asked him why he didn't ask "the man whose pictures are up all over the building" aka Floyd Mayweather "when he's going to fight someone real." Bradley laughed, and said he'd leave that to Bob.
Arum finished with a memorable slam, a double-shot which will go into his broadside Hall of Fame, at the MGM for having Mayweather posters up, and said the Venetian wouldn't have made that mistake. And that's why the Venetian makes moolah and the MGM struggles to pay its debt. Not content to fire those missiles, he went nuclear, saying that on this card, nobody had to pay off anyone to appear on the card, which can occur on "other networks," and is what used to go down when Frankie Carbo ran boxing. That doesn't fly at HBO, he said. Of, and if his broadsides were too incendiary, so sorry, he's an old guy, whatcha gonna do?
The promoter, before his shredding fest, threw a bouquet at HBO, the platform provider for the PPV card, and said "every single star" in boxing, from Marvin Hagler to Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev, was developed on HBO. They are five times bigger, in reach and revenue, than any other premium network, he said. He slapped at the "chirpers" who don't agree that HBO is the best.
The promoter said that both fighters have "splendid teams" which bring out the best in their fighter. He brought Pacman trainer Freddie Roach to the mic; Freddie said that the fight is a "must win" situation and "Manny is a hundred percent ready."
Arum brought up Bradley's head trainer, Joel Diaz. Diaz said that his boxer is ready, and he thanked Bradley for believing in him. Both fighters are in tremendous shape, and the fight will be superb, he said.
Follow Woods on Twitter.
Who Win The Amir Khan vs Saul "Canelo" Alvarez Fight?