Now they’re hard-selling a firefight
THE MAIN protagonists were of uneven skills, power, talent and fierceness. The whole boxing world knows that.
So the announcement of a third fight involving welterweight standouts Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley failed to generate great enthusiasm. It was undeserving of one.
Promoters tried to label the bout a showdown, a rubber match.
Ho-hum, sneered the crowd, everybody knew who truly lost the two previous fights.
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The A-Class Pacquiao, clear winner of the earlier twin encounters, was in fact put in a spot after he decided to pick Bradley for his opponent in the announced April 9 bout in Las Vegas.
There was the popular view that Pacquiao chose Bradley because he was less dangerous than the unbeaten classy light welterweight champion Terence Crawford, whom promoter Bob Arum had originally named a perfect partner for Pacquiao’s farewell fight.
Selling what loomed as a budding mismatch didn’t come easy. Promoters had to toss in falsehood, trample upon honest results early in the marketing process.
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In the end, they had to humbly admit the Bradley inferiority. Just the same, they next hollered, fists trained at the sky, to trumpet that Third Encounter would be of a totally different kind.
How it would be sensational, truly thrilling was openly premised on the fact that it would be a brand new Bradley who would do battle with Pacquiao come April 9.
Bradley’s KO conquest of the poorly prepared Brandon Rios was also offered as main proof of how and why the reigning WBO welterweight champion has transformed into an A-Class campaigner under the legendary mentor Teddy Atlas.
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It was, of course, quite odd that Pacquiao, in initially responding to Bradley’s alleged improvement countered by claiming the best the transformation could’ve done was provide him an easier, predictable, less evasive target for the third encounter.
No, Pacquiao did not have to take back that dour assessment of the brand new Bradley.
However, nothing of that sort would be uttered again once the trilogy started on a coast-to-coast US sales tour.
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In a flash, Bradley has loomed as the toughest, most significant test for Pacquiao to date.
Stated Pacquiao: “He (Bradley) has my full attention. I will put every ounce of my being into this fight, my last.”
Before that, Bradley himself stated: “Everyone will be in for a surprise. I am just going to be a smart monster, solid in every department.”
He added: “Pacquiao’s no longer at his best, the way he was in 2012 when he always came forward, trying to bully his opponent.”
Bradley was clearly trying to market an impending firefight.
Here’s wishing him the best of luck.
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