In a final press conference that was more of a peaceful campaign stop for Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) and Timothy Bradley Jr. (33-1-1, 13KOs) alike, both fighters were as talkative as they were oddly pacifist in demeanor when it came to promises of real fireworks in what is being billed as their last chance to fight one another in a boxing ring, as well as Pacquiao's last professional fight as a professional boxer period in deference to his political career and aspirations in the Philippines.
In their Wednesday, April 6th final press conference before tonight's fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Bradley took a very emotional tone at the outset, taking pains to thank his whole team, referring to them as being "a small unit, but we are powerful," and crediting his wife/manager Monica Bradley as a veritable "superwoman," and his new trainer Teddy Atlas as helping him to grow inside and outside of the ring as "a person, as a man and as a fighter." Bradley then departed from the script of most final prize fight press conferences by chiding members of the Philippine press who would link his opponent Manny Pacquiao's future political success to a favorable outcome in tonight's fight:
"I read something the other day that someone said that Pacquiao, in order to win his campaign, in order to win what he wants... he has to win this fight. I think that is baloney. I think that is garbage," said Bradley, continuing: "I don’t think that this fight has anything to do with what this man has shown to the Filippino people... to not get what’s rightfully deserved and sooner or later become governor of the Philippines…. (Pacquiao) is truly truly to me the only one out there that’s going to do right for the Filipino people in the Philippines. So y’all need to get right in the Philippines. Whoever wrote that needs to stop…. I think (Pacquiao's) right for the job."
After this rousing and highly unexpected endorsement of Pacquiao, Bradley let it be know that despite his political support, he is still more ready than ever before in his career to win uncontestedly against Pacquiao: "If I'm going to win this fight, it's now...this is my last opportunity and I am ready for it," stated Bradley.
In keeping with the atypically complimentary and conciliatory tone Bradley set as the first fighter to address the press, Pacquiao was equally kind to team Bradley, going so far as to voice his strong belief once again that the addition of Teddy Atlas as trainer has made all the difference to Bradley's game: "It (will be) more action compared to the last two fights," predicted Pacquiao of this final fight, adding: " Teddy (Atlas), he did a good job for Bradley and we saw that in (Bradley's)last fight. He added more strategy and technique for Bradley and that makes more action in the ring."
Hopefully this "kind" and highly civilized talk is setting the stage for what will be a very good and competitive final fight for both Pacquiao and Bradley tonight. If this fight ends up being a dud or a bust, much will likely be made of the fact that Pacquiao was markedly more political and more religious going into this final press conference than any other of his past fight press promotions. Using much of his time on Wednesday to talk about religious concepts and political hopes for his country in lieu of boxing for boxing's sake, it would seem that Pacquiao is already well on his way to making a departure from his more iconic and more internationally known boxing persona for a decidedly more regional political identity. With a sizeable portion of what he said to the press on Wednesday relayed only in Tagalog, Pacquiao had these final thoughts for international boxing fans and others as to what he wished to leave as his mark on boxing on the eve of his final fight: " Even though I (have) accomplished everything in this arena of boxing, I want to give inspiration to everybody that whatever we have done and accomplish in life (sic) we should humble ourselves before God and before man," stated Pacquiao, continuing: "Each and everyone of us one day one day will face judgment and that judgement - it’s up to us where we are going to choose." As for his final words on the subject of his final fight and his opponent Bradley, Pacquiao had this closing comment to the press: "We don’t need to fight each other. We save that for Saturday."
Hopefully what has been saved will be reaped tenfold in tonight's battle.
Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley is scheduled for April 9, 2016 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and will be broadcast live at 9PM et/6PMpt on HBO Pay Per View.