By Steve Lillis
TIM BRADLEY was skint with just a five dollar bill to his name when he beat Junior Witter four years ago.
But now he is hours away from facing boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao.
The Californian, 28, hasn’t looked back since outpointing Witter to become WBC light-welterweight champion.
Bradley bids for Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title in Las Vegas tonight, knowing his days of struggle are history.
He is guaranteed $5 million for tackling the Filipino, but will never forget having just five dollars in the bank when he beat Witter in Nottingham.
Bradley had given up his job as a waiter and lived off money earned by his devoted wife, Monica.
Unbeaten in 28 fights, Bradley said: “I had to win against Witter. We had no choice because we were just about out of money.
“As we were literally in the middle of that struggle to survive, I had the craziest thoughts about what I should do to make money to feed the kids.
“I can understand how, for a lot of people who are really down on their luck, the whole criminal thing becomes appealing.
“I’m not about money. Some people say, ‘Oh, if only I had a ton of money, I’d be so happy.’
“But we believe money creates worries and problems.
“We just both felt that money would be the last thing that ever came between us.
“No matter what, we told each other that we’d never let money become a problem.
“It’s not easy when you don’t have a lot, but we both believed in each other and we knew we’d find a way.”
If the 4-1 underdog does cause an upset at the MGM Grand, it will ruin any hope of the Pac-Man meeting Floyd Mayweather in boxing’s richest-ever fight.
Pacquiao struggled in his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
And Bradley warned: “This is the opportunity of a lifetime and I’m ready to take the throne.
“I’m in the best shape of my life. We are setting out to win this fight and not sit around looking pretty.
“I systematically break guys down. I get in the ring and they say I don’t have any power but then they feel me and feel my strength.
“As soon as they get hit they want to hold me. The last couple of fights, guys have been holding me all night.”
VERDICT: I wouldn’t be shocked to see Bradley pull off a surprise and take a narrow points decision.
Pacquiao v Bradley will be shown live tonight on Primetime, Channel 480 on Sky and Virgin On Demand, for only £14.95. Visit www.primetimelive.co.uk or ring 0871 200 4444.