By Keith Idec
Bob Arum is concerned about how Manny Pacquiao will perform against Timothy Bradley in their welterweight title fight next month.
The Hall-of-Fame promoter’s apprehension has nothing to do with Pacquiao turning 33 five months ago. It doesn’t stem from his less-than-impressive performance in his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, either. And it’s not as if Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) hasn’t already beaten better boxers than undefeated Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC).
Arum mainly is alarmed because he suspects Pacquiao’s rather sudden submission to God in recent months might alter the Filipino superstar’s aggression in the ring June 9 at MGM Grand.
“Bradley is a terrific fighter,” Arum said Saturday night during the debut episode of “The Fight Game with Jim Lampley” on HBO. “He’s undefeated. He poses a tremendous challenge for Manny Pacquiao. And my problem is what Pacquiao are we going to see?
“You have to understand, since the last fight last November, he has become a totally different person. He’s super religious. He does bible study every night. Sometimes I get the impression that I’m promoting Rick Santorum, and not Manny Pacquiao. But be that as it may, who knows what effect it will have on his ring ability on June 9th?”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.