Posted June 03, 2012 on AP on Fox
Manny
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By TIM DAHLBERG AP Sports Columnist The gym had been cleared, and the wait for Manny Pacquiao had begun. He would spar six rounds this day to prepare for his fight with Timothy Bradley, and there was security at the door of the Wild Card to make sure no one but the usual entourage and assorted fight types were on hand to watch. No cameras, no video. Nothing to give away what Pacquiao plans to do in the ring Saturday night against Bradley, though trainer Freddie Roach hardly seemed concerned. Listen to Roach, and Pacquiao couldn't have picked a better opponent. After struggling in his last fight against Juan Manuel Marquez, he gets a fighter who doesn't hit all that hard and shouldn't be able to match Pacquiao's speed. ''He's no killer, but he tries hard,'' Roach said of Bradley. ''Manny should eat him up as he comes forward. I think Manny should look really good in this fight.'' And if he doesn't? Well, then you finally can forget about that big fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. that now seems destined never to happen. ''If he looks bad, he retires,'' Roach said. ''At least I'll tell him to. And he may be the first one who will listen to me.'' Roach knows something about aging fighters. He once was one himself, losing five of his last six fights and taking the kind of beatings that may have led to the Parkinson's he suffers from today. He fought on club cards and in casinos far from the Las Vegas Strip, always sure that in his next fight he would do better. The fighter is almost always the last one to acknowledge it's over and, though Pacquiao is only 33, he's been in a lot of fights and a lot of wars. Pacquiao plans to fight only a few more times anyway. But to make sure he understands when it's finally time to quit, fighter and trainer have made a pact. ''I always ask Freddie, what's my strength like, what's my speed,'' Pacquiao said. ''If my speed is going down I want to know. I would listen to Freddie.'' So far, neither trainer nor fighter have noticed much slippage, at least in the gym. Pacquiao blames his performance against Marquez to distractions he was facing in his family life, and the fact that Marquez is a very tough matchup for him style-wise. Still, as he sat in a small dressing room getting his hands wrapped after finally arriving in his Ferrari, Pacquiao said he knows this is a fight in which he must look impressive. ''I want to prove that I'm still young, and I can still fight,'' he said. To do that, the Filipino slugger is trying to block out the distractions that accumulated during his remarkable run. He sold his interest in a casino back home, got rid of his cockfighting ranch, and stopped playing basketball. More importantly, perhaps, he rededicated himself to his wife and his religion, spending most of his nights now doing Bible study. There will be no concert stretching into the early morning hours on the Las Vegas Strip after this fight, as had been Pacquiao's habit. There may not even be a run at governor in his home province of Sarangani, something Pacquiao said he would make his mind up about later this year. He says he's at peace with himself finally because he believes he has eternal salvation. It's not a gimmick to sell the fight, but a major change in his life. And it worries some in his entourage, who wonder if Pacquiao can still bring himself to be angry in the ring. The champ laughs when asked about it. ''Yes,'' Pacquiao says simply. On this day, just a little more than a week before the fight, Pacquiao goes three rounds each with two different fighters. He starts slow, constantly grabbing at his headgear as if doesn't fit, while trying to fend off some rushes by his younger sparring partners. He gets hit with several hard left hooks, but by the last few rounds is delivering more punishment than he is taking. Roach knows what he's looking for, and he likes what he sees. Fighter and trainer have been together for 26 fight camps now over 11 years, and the partnership has made them both wealthy and famous in different ways. The late trainer Eddie Futch had told him to never open a gym. Too much trouble, too much hassle, too many fighters skipping out without paying. Indeed, there's a sign at the counter in the gym upstairs in a rundown strip mall reminding everyone that May dues of $50 are now overdue. The Wild Card draws aspiring fighters, and actors who think they're fighters. They train together democratically, but when Pacquiao arrives the gym is his alone. ''I started this because I thought you never know when the next Muhammad Ali is going to walk through the door,'' Roach said. ''Next thing I know, here comes Manny Pacquiao.'' Their time together is inevitably drawing to a close, because no fighter escapes the ravages of age. Just like Mayweather no longer seems to have the legs to stay away from an opponent for 12 rounds, Pacquiao showed in recent fights that he might be becoming beatable, too. He'll make millions to fight the unbeaten Bradley, though he knows it's not the fight fans really want to see. Not much he can do about that, Pacquiao says, as long as Mayweather insists on getting the lion's share of the purse when they should be splitting it equally. ''If he wants to fight it's up to him,'' Pacquiao said. ''I'm ready to fight.'' No doubt, because Pacquiao always seems to be up for a good fight. The real question now is how much longer he will fight. ---- Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org or http://twitter.com/timdahlberg
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Pacquiao’s Spiritual Awakening, full video Manny Pacquiao documentary feature

Late last year eight-division world champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao began a journey of spiritual renewal, which now includes leading daily Bible study classes. He has embraced The Bible and its teachings, making The Bible his “manual for living his life.” Eschewing many of the vices he claimed were poisoning his life, here, for the first time, Manny gives a thorough first...

Freddie Roach will tell Manny Pacquiao to retire if he looks bad in Bradley fight

Manny Pacquiao will face Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday, and it could be his last professional fight. “Bradley’s no killer, but he tries hard,” Freddie Roach said, according to the Associated Press. “Manny should eat him up as he comes forward. I think Manny should look really good in this fight. “If he looks bad, he retires. At least I’ll...

Pacquiao vs. Bradley predictions from the ProBoxing-Fans.com team

Staff picks: Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley Fight Predictions It has become a time honored tradition. When a big fight is around the corner, the team at ProBoxing-Fans.com all chimes in with their official picks and predictions on how the bout will play out. Right here, we have a collection of all of our official Pacquiao vs. Bradley predictions. The consensus seems to be: tough...

Boxer accuses Pacquiao of steroid use in hilarious post-fight tirade

“Freddie, Pacquiao on steroids and he off it now and he look like sh@t!” – Prenice Brewer (who???) In this hilarious post fight interview, up-and-coming boxer, Prenice Brewer (16-2-1), accused Manny Pacquiao of steroid use after learning that guest announcer and Pacquiao trainer, Freddie Roach, scored the fight for his opponent, Ronald Cruz (17-0). A delusional Prenice...

Amazing Pacquiao-Bradley fight preview video

It's my favorite time for an HBO Boxing pre-fight promotion, when they release their amazing "Under the Lights" fight preview video. Right here, you can see the awesome Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley video preview from HBO Boxing, in what they bill as basically a video infographic. Utilizing great footage, and really insightful notes, they give you the rundown...

American Idol runner-up Jessica Sanchez to sing national anthem at Pacquiao-Bradley

American Idol's Jessica Sanchez is confirmed to sing the National Anthem before the Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley World Welterweight Championship, Saturday, June 9, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Sanchez will be singing before a live audience of over 16,000 fans and tens of millions of viewers worldwide watching it live on Pay-Per-View. The 16-year-old San Diegan was...

Manny Pacquiao's Toughest Training Partner Turns Out to Be His Dog

Most people may imagine that a world champion boxer is constantly practicing, working out and conditioning with a large and intimidating trainer. Boxing champ Manny Pacquiao, however, partners up with his best friend to stay in shape. That friend happens to be his dog. Since 2008, Pacquiao has trained with his dog, Pacman. Pacquiao was given the Jack Russell terrier by his assistant...

Fans invited to Pacquiao & Bradley grand arrivals today in Vegas

Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley will make their Grand Arrivals, in custom-designed buses displaying their images, Today!  Tuesday, June 5, at the MGM Grand porte cochere and inside the main lobby.  Bradley will arrive at Noon PT followed by Pacquiao at approximately 12:30 p.m. PT. Fans are invited to attend the raucous scene and take part in the spectacle to show their support...

“Sugar” Shane Mosley talks Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley- “It is going to be a tough fight for Pacquiao”

Our main man in Las Vegas, Michael Mardones caught up with boxing legend “Sugar” Shane Mosley as he lets us know what he has recently been up to. The newly retired fighter will now be focusing on his promotion company, Sugar Shane Mosley Promotions as he reveals his promoters license has been approved in Las [...]

Pacquiao vs. Bradley 24/7 episode 3 recap

On Saturday evening, while Showtime was televising a quadrupleheader of boxing action, HBO was debuting Pacquiao vs. Bradley 24/7 episode 3. The third episode of Road to Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley 24-7 takes us into the heart of training camps, with the intensity picking up, and the fight coming up in a very short seven days. Right here, find a complete recap of Pacquiao...

Timothy Bradley “I gotta smash this guy! (Manny Pacquiao)

So the craziness of fight week begins and on tap we have this exclusive video interview with undefeated Timothy Bradley as he makes it known that he is looking to smash Manny Pacquiao in his words. The two of course will fight on June 9th, and it is a fight that is known seen by [...]

50 Cent talks Pacquiao vs. Bradley “I don’t even care, what is that guy’s name again?”

Best friend of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and hip hop mogul 50 cent is not planning on seeing Manny Pacquiao take on Timothy Bradley the night of June 9th. For one, 50 cent can’t even remember Timothy Bradley’s name! In Las Vegas, the rapper caught up with assembled media and Marcos Villegas as he spoke about [...]

Joel Diaz “If Bradley does not hit hard, why hasn’t anyone broken him?

OK so here we go! Another fight week is about to kick off as Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley have both wrapped up their training camps with their date with destiny taking place on June 9th. As the fight gets closer and closer a weird shift has happened…a Pacquaio opponent has a chance to win…a [...]

Freddie Roach says Manny Pacquiao wins because Timothy Bradley is ‘slow and can’t punch’

The legendary trainer of WBO world welterweight king Manny Pacquiao insists that the Filipino superstar will successfully defend his belt on June 9 at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas against WBO light welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley because the … Continue reading →
Boxing News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.