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Merchant on Pacquiao-Bradley, Roach, Mayweather Jr.

By Chris Robinson

The pre-fight hype continues to pour in for the June 9th Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight, set to go down at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

From Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach claiming Bradley will get knocked out in the same chilling fashion as Ricky Hatton was, to trainer Joel Diaz returning fire by claiming that it was Pacquiao who made Roach famous, you can sense some tension coming from both sides.

With the fight less than three weeks away, I reached out veteran HBO analyst Larry Merchant to get a few sound bites from him about the slight war of words taking place between the two camps and some other sub plots, including his thoughts on Bradley’s abilities as a fighter and the 1.5 million pay-per-view buys pulled in by the Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto event earlier this month.

This is what Merchant had to share…

Freddie Roach believing what he says…
“I think Freddie usually says what he believes and I also think that he knows that part of his job is to not only back up his fighter but to back up the promotion, to help sell the fight. All of those things are involved but I think if Freddie says it, that he believes it.”

Whether Roach is trying to play mind games with Bradley…
“I don’t think it’s mind games. Look, maybe he thinks it’s mind games. I think fighters, when they get to this level, certainly they’ve heard everything said good and bad about them. Tim Bradley is a ballsy, tough guy who fought his way to where he’s at. I don’t think that he’s going to be influenced by any of the pre-fight back and forth.”

Whether it’s possible that Bradley could get knocked out cold early against Pacquiao ala Ricky Hatton, as Roach suggested could happen…
“Is it possible? Yeah. It’s possible that Bradley gives him a tougher fight and also gets stopped in a tougher fight. Bradley’s never faced anybody like Pacquiao. I think that usually he’s a very clever, tough, awkward guy to fight and not easy to hit. He normally doesn’t walk into punches or fight in a mauling, brawling inside style that Hatton did. And Hatton had to get to Pacquiao and deal with the incoming while he did and he got nailed. Tim has more of a boxer mentality I think, certainly than Hatton had. And he’s aware that Pacquiao is explosive.”

Never faced anyone like Pacquiao…
“Look, not many guys have been able to nail Bradley on the way in. He doesn’t come in a straight lines, he protects himself, he’s awkward, and a difficult guy to deal with. But he’s never faced anyone like Pacquiao. When you get to that guy on the top, we’ll see whether his kind of mauling, brawling tactics work.”

As excited to see Pacquiao-Bradley as the May 5th Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto scrap…
“Yes, I am. Pacquiao’s fighting an American kid who’s been a good fighter and this is a fight that could show us whether Pacquiao still has the zeal and the capability to fight on the level he was, say against Cotto. And I think it’s important for him to make a good fight after the Marquez fight and some of the other fights. I think he wants to prove to himself as well as others that he’s still the potent force we saw him as against De La Hoya and Cotto.”

Thoughts on Mayweather-Cotto registering 1.5 million pay-per-view buys…
“I think they’re terrific numbers. It shows how smart Mayweather and his promoters are. Because Cotto brought his own fan base and Canelo Alvarez brought his fan base and I think that those are numbers that suggest that it’s not the worst thing in the world, in terms of boxing and the boxing business, for Mayweather and Pacquiao to be fighting other fighters. That we get three or hopefully even four fights a year that attract a lot of fans and different kind of fans. Pacquiao will bring his fans to this fight. All the talk about Mayweather and Pacquiao, maybe it stimulates the pay-per-view numbers for both of them. Everyone talks about the ultimate showdown, but in the meantime these guys are bringing a lot of fans to watch their fights and showing that boxing is seriously still relevant.”

Exclusive coverage from Chris Robinson's latest Oxnard road trip
Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at [email protected] and www.Twitter.com/CRHarmony
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by LADIV on 05-25-2012

[quote=undefeatedjimmy;12166593]lol manny hasn't shown one punch power at 147? Really? Ask mosley about that one punch power.[/quote] mosley was a weight drained over the hill fighter for the pac fight. One knock down and pac didnt knock him out he…

Comment by HarvardBlue on 05-24-2012

I agree Bradley has the skills to make it a tough fight but I don't see him getting the W in this one. I just don't see Bradley with the lack of KO power doing much damage to Pac. He…

Comment by UndefeatedJimmy on 05-24-2012

[QUOTE=leonthegee;12166002]Bradleys not getting Hatton'd. Manny can still punch but hes never shown that one punch power at 147. Marquez was able to take his punches better at 144 than he did at 130. With that said Manny is still capable…

Comment by zuldo on 05-24-2012

Jayhova29..u sound like a smart guy i know deep inside u know that they're underestimating this kid.they dont know what they themselves into.....

Comment by Reloaded on 05-24-2012

[QUOTE=leonthegee;12166002]Bradleys not getting Hatton'd. Manny can still punch but hes never shown that one punch power at 147. Marquez was able to take his punches better at 144 than he did at 130. With that said Manny is still capable…

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