Los Angeles — Respect and redemption.
For Tim Bradley, respect will be the word that will characterize his treatment of this Saturday night’s big event in Las Vegas.
For Manny Pacquiao, redemption is the more appropriate term as the Filipino icon, a sure entrant into the Hall of Fame, attempts to disprove claims that he is running on borrowed time and that his shelf life is nearing its end.
“I want people to say that ‘that’s the guy who beat Manny Pacquiao,’” a bitter Bradley said late last week as he continued to rue about the misfortune that befell him for beating Pacquiao on a split decision almost two years ago.
Instead of being treated like royalty for besting a legitimate king, the 30-year-old Bradley had to endure hearing hurtful words as though it was his fault that two of the three judges scored in his favor.
Like Bradley, the 35-year-old Pacquiao is also on a mission to convince everyone that the Bradley setback was nothing but a temporary roadblock and that retirement is still farthest in his mind.
After losing to Bradley, Pacquiao suffered a major blow that seemed to have signaled the end of an era after Juan Manuel Marquez dealt him what surely looked like a career-ending knockout.
But Pacquiao rebounded from the Marquez debacle and catapulted himself back into the limelight after running rings around Brandon Rios late last year in Macau.
“We are not yet over the hill,” said Pacquiao in Tagalog.
To show that his fighting days are not over, Pacquiao has taken a different approach to training camp and even rehired Justin Fortune, who whipped himself into the form that left Marco Antonio Barrera in ruins in 2003.