LAS VEGAS – The storied career of Manny Pacquiao, winner of an unprecedented eight world titles in as many weight classes and the greatest Filipino athlete of all time, could come to an abrupt end Saturday night (Sunday in Manila) after he faces Tim Bradley at the MGM Grand.
Many questions remain unanswered and Pacquiao says the third meeting with Bradley will provide the answers to many queries surrounding his future and his legacy.
And if there’s doubt that he is going through the motions and is more concerned about collecting the guaranteed $20 million paycheck than anything else, Pacquiao guarantees that is not the case.
“This will be a chance to show everyone the result of the sacrifices that I made during training camp,” said Pacquiao, who will be fighting for the 26th time on US soil.
During the official weighin on Friday, Pacquiao (57-3-2 wth 38 KOs) came in a svelte 145 ½ lbs and about 147 or 148 lbs when the bell rings at the Grand Garden Arena.
“I expect plenty of action this time compared to our last fight,” said Pacquiao, who at 37, is running for a seat in the Senate in next month’s elections.
Bradley (33-1-1 with 13 KOs), whose physique resembled a Greek god, tipped in at 146 ½ lbs, sounding extremely confident that he will make his head-to-head matchup with Pacquiao at 2-1 in his favor.
Assured of a $4-million payday, Bradley, 32, believes his decision to hire Teddy Atlas in place of Joel Diaz, will play a pivotal role in the welterweight contest set for 12 rounds.
Under Atlas, Bradley said he became smarter and being so has made him realize the mistakes that he committed in 2012 and 2014.
As fans cheered wildly for Pacquiao, it was not the same case for Bradley, whose apparent lack of appeal made the weighin uneventful compared to the previous ones that Pacquiao starred in.
But Bradley, slighted by the anemic response of the audience to his presence, is looking forward to getting back at Pacquiao fans.
“(I am) glad that the fans came out to support this event,” said Bradley, who was awarded a gift split decision the first time he met Pacquiao and dropped a unanimous verdict in the rematch in 2014.
Pacquiao, whose overall record in US fights, stands at 19-4-2 (with 12 KOs), spent the hours after the weighin surrounded by his flock at the Delano by hosting a preaching session and entertaining his well-wishers in his suite.
Tony Weeks will be the referee of the main event, while the three judges are Las Vegas residents Dave Moretti and Burt Clements and New York’s Weisfeld.