by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says “Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao “is determined to put on a great performance” when he defends his WBO welterweight title against undefeated junor welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday.
Bradley, according to Arum, "is really very confident” and told a pre-fight press conference that he is “ready to shock the world. I’m ready to do whatever it takes in there to win the fight” even as he declared “it’s going to be war.”
Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz backed up his fighter’s statements by predicting that Saturday night “will be the upset of the decade.”
Pacquiao was his usual pleasant self acknowledging that Bradley is “a hungry fighter, he’s young and I know what he’s feeling. I feel like I’m 22 years old. My team wants me to stop training but I keep pushing because Bradley is inspired to train hard to beat me.”
Celebrated trainer Freddie Roach who will spend some $20,000 for a private plane to take him to the Hall of Fame induction ceremony immediately after the fight had no harsh words about Bradley whom he earlier described as a “bodybuilder” who would move in slo-motion and be overwhelmed by the speed and power of Pacquiao. Roach merely said “we’re looking forward to fighting and beating a previously undefeated fighter.”
Arum told us that he is hoping the stability in Pacquiao’s personal life which was almost in shambles prior to the third fight against Marquez where Pacquiao won a hugely controversial majority decision, would make a difference in the Bradley fight.
Arum noted that Pacquiao “is not as stressed out as he has been in the past. He is much better rested, he’s much more at peace with himself so I think he’s prepared to do a tremendous performance.”
Arum said he expects “a sell-out crowd or within a few hundred or so.”
The Top Rank promoter also told us he is looking forward to seeing how Pacquiao 20 year old protégé, super featherweight Ernie Sanchez (12-3, 5 KO’s) from Pacquiao’s hometown of General Santos City fares in an eight round bout against Wilton “Pretty Warrior” Hilario (12-2-1, 9 KO’s) from the Dominican Republic who fights out of Minnesota on the undercard.
Arum also clarified the Nevada State Athletic Commission report that Pacquiao’s guaranteed purse is $6 million and Bradley’s $5 million.
He pointed out that “under Nevada law whatever is on the Commission contract you have to pay the night of the fight. My check is going to be a good check, not a phoney check. We have this deal with Manny that he gets whatever is guaranteed over ninety days” with estimates reaching $26 million with a possible upswing based on the pay per view revenues.
Arum emphasized that when Floyd Mayweather Jr “claimed they guaranteed him $32 million it meant he was guaranteeing himself and the check was a phoeny check.”