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Pacquiao, Bradley weigh in today

By: - Sports Editor / @ftjochoaINQ
/ 04:05 AM April 09, 2016
DIVINE GUIDANCE The name of Jesus on his back, Manny Pacquiao leads supporters in prayer during a Bible service inside his suite at Delano Hotel in Las Vegas two days before his megafight with American Timothy Bradley Jr. REM ZAMORA/CAFE PURO

DIVINE GUIDANCE The name of Jesus on his back, Manny Pacquiao leads supporters in prayer during a Bible service inside his suite at Delano Hotel in Las Vegas two days before his megafight with American Timothy Bradley Jr. REM ZAMORA/CAFE PURO

LAS VEGAS—Manny Pacquiao spent about 20 minutes in the gym on Thursday afternoon. It was supposed to be the last workout of his remarkable career and people had flocked inside to catch him train one more time.

Except he didn’t.

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And now all the preparations have ended, with just one more hurdle before Pacquiao steps into the ring for what could be his last fight—the eight-division champ and American foe Timothy Bradley Jr. will step on the scales on Friday (Saturday in Manila) at MGM Grand Arena with neither fighter expected to have problems making the welterweight limit.

Trainer Freddie Roach said on Thursday that Pacquiao was in great condition for the fight and remained so supremely confident his guy was going to win that he spent part of the roundtable with journalists discussing exactly how he wanted to win.

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“Well, he’ll be the same Manny Pacquiao,” Roach said, hinting that Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) will come in as aggressive as before.

“But we want a better win and we made some tweaks to win a little more decisively. Manny knows I want a knockout and I hope it comes.”

READ: Real war the third time around

Watershed moment

Bradley’s trainer Teddy Atlas was less forward with his assessment of the fight, saying he just hoped he had prepared Bradley enough for what could be a watershed moment in his career.

“You wake up, spend the day and go to bed every night just concerned if I did what I need to do to prepare my fighter. Will I fail him?” Atlas said, talking to reporters after a morning training session with Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs).

Atlas said Bradley’s morning workout was simply “to shake things off a little.”

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Pacquiao was prevailed upon not to train by his corner, which had repeatedly said the Pacman needed two days of rest before the fight.

“Napakiusapan (They talked him out of it),” said assistant trainer Marvin Somodio.

No trash talk

There were little fireworks from both fighters again Thursday, with Roach calling both Pacquiao and Bradley genuinely good guys.

“We don’t need trash talk to promote this fight,” Roach said.

But the American Hall-of-Fame trainer did have some words for Atlas, whom he said he wanted to beat.

“Badly,” Roach told reporters.

“Teddy’s always been a storyteller. He has good stories and the fans kinda like that a little bit. Maybe it’s good for boxing. But they don’t win fights.”

Risks of fighters

Atlas continued to avoid being drawn into a word war.

“Freddie doesn’t influence my life,” said the broadcast analyst. “My children do. My family does. My fighter does. That’s my responsibility. Not him.”

“I think [the fight] is about the fighters. It’s about the risk they take. They take a risk every time they get on that ring.”

Bradley’s style

And Bradley is taking a risk to cement his legacy as one of the sport’s elite fighters, a tag that has eluded the crafty American despite being a five-time world champion.

Part of the reason is Bradley’s style. Bradley isn’t much of an action fighter, although his camp has promised a meaningful change in the boxer’s style when he climbs the ring on Saturday.

Roach is aware that Atlas may have remodeled Bradley, but he sees little reason to believe that reinvention will change the way he sees how the fight will go.

“Bradley is a very durable tough guy. He’s got a lot of heart and we’ve seen that a lot of times,” said Roach.

“[But] Tim Bradley is not a big puncher. He’s a little bit slow and he’s never hurt Manny. He’s not a power puncher at all.”

Extra muscle

Bradley added a lot of muscle for this fight, reminiscent of what Juan Manuel Marquez did in his last two fights against Pacquiao. Reports sprang out of the Bradley camp that he was still above the welterweight limit going into fight week, but Atlas has already shrugged off that speculation.

“I don’t think we’ll have problems making weight,” Atlas said.

Pacquiao was still way under the welterweight limit as of Friday morning’s jog.

READ: Weight not an issue for Pacquiao, Bradley

Assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez said Pacquiao was at 140 to 142 pounds and could check in at 145 lbs for Friday’s weigh-in, which starts 2:30 p.m. local time (5:30 a.m. Saturday in Manila).

Strategy against Pacquiao

Atlas said he was looking into Pacquiao’s fights against Marquez and Floyd Mayweather Jr. to come up with a strategy against the Filipino ring icon.

“Those are the two guys who gave him some problems. And obviously there’s a reason for that. We’ll look at that. We’ll use whatever is available that makes sense,” Atlas said.

Quicker start

Roach, meanwhile, said he’d try to get Pacquiao to start off a little quicker this time, cutting down the feeling-out period from the last two fights.

Bradley is coming off a dominant win over Brandon Rios but Roach won’t be taking any pointers from that fight.

“You can’t give [Bradley] credit for that,” Roach said, explaining that Rios was in no shape to take that fight. “You can’t give Teddy credit either because they had nothing in front of him.”

“I never expected [Rios] to come into a fight not trying to win and just lose like he did with all that fat hanging over his belly,” Roach added. “He was so out-of-shape for that fight I thought he retired before the fight.” TVJ

 

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