By Michael Marley
Putting Floyd Mayweather Jr. aside, which was easy to do before he announced his ring return for Sept. 17 against live underdog Vicious Victor Ortiz, there is only one Danger Man for Manny Pacquiao.
No less a fistic authority than boxing mad pharmacist/HBO “Unofficial Judge” Harold Lederman firmly believes that another American, Tim Bradley, is a real threat to end Pacman’s Reign of Terror.
“Timothy Bradley is a threat. Timothy Bradley can give Manny Pacquiao a fight, a real fight,” Lederman said.
Lederman’s analysis looms large now, what with the Palm Springs area fighter disengaging himself from Big Gary Shaw and apparently about to be embraced by Pacman’s Sugar Daddy, Bob Arum. We all know how Uncle Roberto likes to make Pacquiao events “in house” affairs.
Arum’s made no secret of his keen interest in working with Bradley. Tiny Tim was a Top Rank ringside guest on May 7 as Megamanny dominated Sugar Shame Mosley at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Heretofore, though, I was not aware of how Lederman, a guy who wears his boxing heart on his sleeve, became so enamored of Bradley’s skills.
“I see Bradley as a smaller version of Evander Holyfield,” the 71 year old Lederman said. “What makes Bradley so dangerous for Manny is two things. One, he leads with his head and, two, he likes to come over the top with big right hands which a southpaw can be vulnerable to.
“All in all, I think Bradley-Pacquiao would be a fun fight, a competitive fight.”
Lederman may, as per usual, be right.
Checking his record, I don’t see any human Billy goats on Pacman’s pro resume.
Lederman thinks Juan Manuel Marquez-Pacquiao III, set for Nov. 12, will be one-sided, all Pacman all the time.
“Of their fights, this will be the easiest one for Manny. There age difference matters and so does the weight difference. Manny’s a welterweight and Juan Ma is really a lightweight,” Lederman said.
Asking Lederman, whose been on air for HBO going back to 1986, to pick his three favorite pugilists is like asking a grandfather to pick his favorite grandchildren.
But I asked, anyway, and Lederman invoked two obvious names and one not so obvious.
“My three favorites I’d have to say, meaning guys I personally saw fight, would be Muhammad Ali, Ray Leonard and Bad Bennie Briscoe.
“I don’t have to say much about Ali or Leonard but Briscoe was the meanest man I ever saw in the ring the way he would those punches underneath his opponents. Bennie was just so vicious in the ring and such a gentleman outside of it.”
The intersection of his decades as a pill dispensing pharmacist and his love for boxing are interwined for Lederman.
I asked how the former Bronx resident first got into the sport-business.
“My dad had a drugstore in The Bronx, on east 167 Street and Fox, and the great trainer Victor Valle lived three blocks away from the store,” Lederman said. “That’s how I first got connected to boxing was through Victor. He was a great guy.”
The late Valle was mostly known for handling heavyweight contender Irish Gerry Cooney but was also a fine pro fighter in his own right.
I lived for 30 years a block away, on East 35 Street in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan, from a building where Valle worked as the super.
Noted boxing hand surgery specialist Dr. Charles Melone had an office in the building and Valle kept a mini museum of his life and times in boxing in the basement.
Sorry to go all six degrees of separation on you but…
When it comes to boxing’s ills, Pharmacist Lederman has the right prescription for most if not all.