By Chris Robinson
On Saturday night, HBO premiered the second episode of their latest 24/7 series, focusing on the June 9th Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley battle.
While Pacquiao, the reigning WBO welterweight champion of the world, is a very familiar face to the 24/7 franchise, this is Bradley’s first go-round and the Palm Springs, California native has thus far been leaving a memorable impression because of his brash nature and good guy mentality.
There certainly are some striking differences between the 33-year old champion at the 28-year old Bradley, including the people around them. While Pacquiao is known to have a huge entourage that follows him nearly everywhere he goes, Bradley keeps a much smaller circle with him as he gets down to work in Indio, Calif.
“I don’t need a huge following,” Bradley would say of Pacquiao’s followers. “I don’t need a whole bunch of guys that are just there for no reason. They have no particular job or title. They’re just company I guess. My company is my family, my team. That’s all I need. My Dad, my good friend Sam Jackson, my wife, my kids. My boxing family, they’re always there.”
One man who has been with Bradley throughout his professional career, dating back to 2004, is his head trainer Joel Diaz, a former title challenger in the lightweight division. For Bradley, having Diaz around gives him an extra kind of boost that words can’t really describe.
“Joel has had a big impact on my career, because when I first went to him I had to start from scratch,” said Bradley. “He’s almost like a big brother to me and he makes me believe everything he says. He told me that I was going to make it to this point. He told me that I’m going to win this fight.”