Bradley gets shot at fame against Pacquiao
American Timothy Bradley has laboured outside of the boxing spotlight for much of his career, but on Saturday he has a shot at fame and fortune when he steps in the ring to battle Filipino southpaw Manny Pacquiao.
Bradley, 28-0 (12 KOs), who considers the fight the biggest of his career and likely not even in Pacquiao's top 10, believes taking such a big step up in the quality of opposition will work to his advantage.
"“I'm going to put it all on the line on Saturday," he said. "“This is not his biggest fight, it's my biggest fight. ... It's all or nothing."
Bradley is a heavy underdog for his challenge of WBO welterweight champion Pacquiao, 54-3-2 (38 KOs), who will be making his 13th appearance in a main event on the Las Vegas strip when they meet at the MGM Grand.
It will be the first opportunity on the big stage for the 28-year-old American, who is recognized in boxing circles as a tough, skilled fighter, but who for most of his career has laboured just outside the spotlight.
"It's been a long journey, but I knew at some point I would get here," said Bradley, who won his first world title, at light-welterweight, by defeating Britain's Junior Witter in 2008. "I came from the lumberjack yards in California, you know?
"Fighting in little ballrooms. And now, we're in Las Vegas, at the MGM Grand hotel, and we're going to be fighting in front of thousands of people."
Bradley knows what he must do to defeat Pacquiao, but as the American himself acknowledged, it is one thing to have a plan in principle; it is another thing entirely to carry it out in the ring, particularly against "Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao."
"I know that I've got to stay tight, I've got to stay behind a good jab, I've got to keep moving, I've got to have great defence, and I've got to counterpunch the hell out of this guy with combinations," said Bradley.
Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach has been dismissive of Bradley's chances, telling reporters that "we have no worries about this guy at all," but Bradley asserts that such talk serves only to motivate him.
"I like when people talk good about me," said Bradley. "But I like it better when they talk bad about me."