By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Timothy Bradley genuinely appreciates the career-changing opportunity Manny Pacquiao has given him.
Bradley doesn’t think, though, that he’ll face the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world June 9 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The unbeaten Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) said that he has undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the top spot on his list.
“Mayweather is smart,” Bradley said at Chelsea Piers, where he and Pacquiao promoted their HBO Pay-Per-View fight during a press conference that was open to the public. “He’s a very smart fighter. He’s very fast. He’s clever at what he does.
“He’s the best at it. That’s why I think he’s better than Pacquiao. I mean, I would love to see the fight. Pacquiao, I think, will still give him a great fight. But I just think that Mayweather is very smart, man. He’s a very smart, intelligent fighter.”
Bradley obviously plans to ruin a Pacquiao-Mayweather megafight by upsetting Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) in their 12-round fight for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title. The Palm Springs, Calif., native also hopes he gets the opportunity to beat Mayweather (42-0, 26 KOs), who’ll oppose Puerto Rico’s Miguel Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs) in another welterweight title fight May 5 in Las Vegas.
“I’ve always said if Mayweather’s in the game I’ll be the first fighter to beat him,” Bradley said. “I swear I said it [on tape]. I saved it. I’ve got it on record. And this was early in my career.
“I know people might laugh at me and think that I’m stupid. ‘Oh, he thinks he can beat Mayweather. Ha, Ha!’ But I’ve always had faith in my ability and I’ve always had faith in myself. So I feel that I can compete with anybody, man. You have to prove me wrong.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for the Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.