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SPORTS NEWS THE PAST WEEKS
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

ANGRY MAN IN L.A. 'ATTACKS' PACQUIAO


APRIL 5 -PACQUIAO -
What was supposed to be an easy rest day for Manny Pacquiao turned out to be an interesting one after a man verbally abused the eight-division champion in a parking lot altercation a day before the Pacquiao team convoys to Las Vegas for what could be the last fight of his illustrious career.
A middle-aged Caucasian-looking man hurled expletives at the ring icon—some say he approached the boxer threateningly—just as Pacquiao was about to board his Ferrari outside Kabuki Restaurant on Vine Street on Sunday (Monday in Manila). Fortunately, Edward Lura, Pacquiao’s longtime friend and head of the so-called “LA Boys,” was able to ward off the man, who was about to throw a punch. Other members of Pacquiao’s security detail joined the fray and subdued the tall, decently dressed man, who is about 35 years old, according to David Sisson, Pacquiao’s personal assistant, who witnessed the incident around 3 a.m. Pacquiao saves attacker Pacquiao, however, prevented them from hurting the man, who kept on shouting: “F–ck you! F–ck you, Pacquiao! You homophobic…”  Homophobia is an irrational fear of or an aversion toward homosexuals.  “Let him go. Don’t hurt him,” Sisson quoted Pacquiao as saying. READ MORE...RELATED, Win or lose, Manny should quit – Freddie Roach...

ALSO: Pacquiao lands knockout election blows with Bradley fight


APRIL 8 -MANILA: Win or lose in his mega-bucks fight this weekend, Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao will be landing knockout blows against his political rivals with priceless media coverage ahead of national elections. The eight-time world champion is running for a Senate seat and controversially scheduled his bout against Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas to be held just one-month ahead of polling day. The fight will ensure most Filipinos will be fixated on him as they watch live broadcasts on Sunday morning, local time, while the media coverage of the build-up has already gifted him tens of millions of dollars worth of free advertising. It is a strategy that has rivals fuming, accusing him of below-the-belt tactics that circumvent election campaign advertisement spending laws. “If he had a sense of sportsmanship he wouldn’t be staging the fight just one month before the elections,” senatorial candidate Walden Bello, who filed a failed legal challenge to reschedule the bout, told Agence France-Presse. More neutral observers also point out that Pacquiao is gaining an unfair advantage. “His only source of publicity is his fights, not his (political) platform. It is too much of an advantage,” said Sixto Brillantes, former head of the Commission on Elections, which runs the polls, told AFP. While his rivals have travelled across the sprawling archipelago to promote their credentials in recent months, Pacquiao has not bothered to hit the hustings, aside from an appearance in Manila when the election campaign was launched in February. “His form of campaigning is the bout,” Brillantes said.
Presidential ambitions Pacquiao, 37, has said his fight against Bradley will likely be the last of his career so he can pursue his long-held political ambitions. He is hoping a stint in the Senate will serve as a platform for an eventual presidential run. In a celebrity-obsessed nation where movie stars regularly become powerful politicians, the high school drop-out could indeed defy his lack of education and one day lead the nation of more than 100 million people.READ MORE...RELATED,
Team Pacquiao: Let’s get it on...

ALSO: Bradley determined to stage upset in match vs Pacquiao


APRIL 8 -Despite the pains experienced from training with Teddy Atlas and the consensus among observers favoring Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley is confident of his chances in the match airing on SKYcable Pay-Per-View on April 10.
The fighter who calls himself “Dessert Storm” has a history of staging upsets in the past. Bradley is what many refer to as an elite fighter, having faced a whole list of champions in the past with an impressive amount of success. Aside from winning against his opponent in the coming fight, the fourth-ranked in the pound for pound list by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board is much younger than his opponent and has won via close unanimous decision against Ruslan Provodnikov in 2013 to capture the WBO Welterweight Championship. He has also won against Ring #3 ranked pound for pound and Ring #5 ranked junior lightweight and WBO junior welterweight champion Juan Manuel Márquez in 2013. The erstwhile undefeated boxer Jessie Vargas was also among Bradley’s triumphs going into a bout for the WBO Welterweight Interim title. And just late last year, he beat former Lightweight champion Brandon Ríos to retain the WBO Welterweight title. The fighter who is five years younger than Pacquiao is also confident as his training under Atlas has given him a positive outlook on the fight. Instead of fighting his opponent to exhaustion, he is choosing to go the smart way, preserving his strength and using his gifts the right way. READ MORE...RELATED, ‘Brand new’ Pacquiao coming out vs Bradley...

ALSO: Bradley endorses Pacquiao for ‘governor’ of the Philippines
[BRADLEY'S SPEECH: “You all need to get it right over in the Philippines,” Bradley urged Filipino voters. “He’s shown over and over that he is for the people and by the people and that he’s a man of his word. He’s always shown that character and that integrity and I think he’s the right man for the job.”]


APRIL 8 -Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. pose for photos during their final press conference at the David Copperfield Theater inside MGM Hotel in Las Vegas. Pacquiao and Bradley fight for the third time on April 10, Sunday (Manila time). PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA
LAS VEGAS—Manny Pacquiao has found an unlikely supporter in his battle for a Senate seat. It is the guy who will be sitting at the opposite corner when he climbs the ring on Saturday night. In a final press conference lacking the usual tension, Timothy Bradley went on to give Pacquiao a glowing endorsement for his bid in the coming Philippine national elections, saying the Sarangani representative is “the only one out there who will do right by the Filipino people.” “You all need to get it right over in the Philippines,” Bradley urged Filipino voters. “He’s shown over and over that he is for the people and by the people and that he’s a man of his word. He’s always shown that character and that integrity and I think he’s the right man for the job.” 
Wrong post The job is what Bradley got wrong, saying Pacquiao was running for “governor of the Philippines.” Pacquiao is running for one of 12 Senate seats in the May 9 elections in the Philippines, where voters will also choose the next President. Bradley’s speech, which Top Rank chief Bob Arum admitted caught him by surprise, was prompted by something the American fighter had read two days before the press conference at MGM Grand’s Copperfield Theater. “I read something the other day where someone said Manny Pacquiao, in order to win his campaign, in order to win what he has to do, that he has to win this fight,” Bradley said. “I think that is baloney. I think that is garbage.” No bearing Bradley said the outcome of their fight on Saturday night should have no bearing on Pacquiao’s intent to serve the Filipino people. “I don’t think the fight has anything to do with what this man has shown for the Filipino people, where he’s from,” Bradley said. “To lose a fight or whatever happens and not get what is rightfully deserved, for him to win and sooner or later become [a senator] of the Philippines. [He has] everybody what he is made of with everything he has done for the Philippines and the Filipino people.” READ MORE...

ALSO: From $20 to $20 million, Pacquiao's journey to final payday


APRIL 7 -Boxer Manny Pacquiao (L) works out with his trainer Freddie Roach ahead of his bout with Tim Bradley, in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States, March 30, 2016. Photo by Lucy Nicholson, Reuters.
LAS VEGAS -- Twenty-one years after clambering through the ropes for his first professional fight, Manny Pacquiao will make the long walk to the ring for what could well be the final time on Saturday in Las Vegas.
It will complete one of the most vivid rags-to-riches journeys in a sport that is famous for them, an odyssey which has taken him from a $20 purse to a reported $20 million payday for this weekend's finale against Tim Bradley. A lot has changed for Pacquiao since January 25 1995, when as a skinny 16-year-old he outpointed Edmund Enting Ignacio in a four-round bout before a few hundred spectators on the wild and rugged Philippines island of Mindoro. Pacquiao traveled to that fight by ferry, buying his own ticket for the three-hour boat ride from Manila for a contest which earned him 1,000 pesos, approximately $21 dollars at today's rate of exchange. "It was very small," Pacquiao recalled here Wednesday as he prepared for his third and final meeting with Bradley. "But it was my desire to box. At that time I boxed because I wanted to help my mother, and my family." (READ: Pacquiao says he may fight in Olympics if pros allowed) - 'We had no money' - Boxing provided Pacquiao with an escape from crushing poverty. "We had no money. I was the breadwinner. I helped send my brother to school, I worked at boxing," he said. "I loved doing it because I was helping my family. When you have nothing you don't care how hard the work is." Since that meager first purse, Pacquiao's fights have generated an estimated $500 million, swollen by his cut from last year's money-spinning "Fight of the Century" against Floyd Mayweather which ended in defeat. Pacquiao will bank another bumper paycheck this weekend. READ MORE...RELATED, Pacquiao vows to sign off in style...

ALSO: By Bill Velasco - Why Pacquiao-Bradley III is important


APRIL 9 -By Bill Velasco
When you mark time in eras, as most of us do, there are milestones and threshold events that become part of your memory. For the percentage of us who can afford school, graduations are a big deal. It gives us a sense of relief, accomplishment, and some poignancy. At work, promotions and transfers are the way we mark the passing of an age. Death is also a great, indelible marker. And we are all heading there, eventually. This week will mark supposed finales to two colorful, checkered champions. Kobe Bryant, the once-prodigious flying man who felt he could take on the world and win, will be lacing up his sneakers in the NBA for the last time. Those of us over 30 will recall other similar passages: the retirement of Julius Erving, his hoops progeny Michael Jordan, the death of Wilt Chamberlain, and the endless chain of those whose bodies have taken them as far as humanly possible in their arenas. Bryant, who marked his own career in two defined stages separated by which number he wore on his back, has finally been caught by Father Time, the inescapable master of us all. But this is not about Kobe Bryant. In boxing, far more often than in basketball, comebacks are endless. So many champions, from Muhammad Ali to his own conqueror Larry Holmes and the equally familiar Erik Morales, have felt that time was reversible, a two-way street they could walk both sides of. But fourth-dimension physics would postulate that time goes forward, and is set in stone. Will Manny Pacquiao be the victim of an endless siren song and delude himself into thinking he can still stay at boxing’s highest level? Sorry, but as the cliché goes, time will tell. And it won’t lie. Why is Pacquiao-Bradley III important? It is significant to us as boxing fans because it is an opportunity, one last glimpse back in time, for us to project the Manny Pacquiao we want to see, one more time. It will be a chance to say thanks. Since his second emergence 10 years ago, Pacquiao has constantly lifted our spirits, not just with his prodigious speed and skill, but with his “aw shucks” down home philosophy and humility. He is essentially unchanged despite his massive wealth and world travels and power to influence. He still spouts his fundamental beliefs in a higher power, is tolerant to a fault, and trusting to an even more painful degree. He is generous, kind and sometimes naive, some of the best qualities we aspire for as Filipinos. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Angry man ‘attacks’ Pacquiao


Manny Pacquiao attends Sunday service at Shepherd Church in Woodland Hills, California, April 3, 2016. Pacquiao takes a break from his training to attend church with his family a week before his scheduled fight with Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

HOLLYWOOD, APRIL 11, 2016 (INQUIRER) By: Francis T.J. Ochoa, Roy Luarca @inquirerdotnet April 5th, 2016 - What was supposed to be an easy rest day for Manny Pacquiao turned out to be an interesting one after a man verbally abused the eight-division champion in a parking lot altercation a day before the Pacquiao team convoys to Las Vegas for what could be the last fight of his illustrious career.

A middle-aged Caucasian-looking man hurled expletives at the ring icon—some say he approached the boxer threateningly—just as Pacquiao was about to board his Ferrari outside Kabuki Restaurant on Vine Street on Sunday (Monday in Manila).

Fortunately, Edward Lura, Pacquiao’s longtime friend and head of the so-called “LA Boys,” was able to ward off the man, who was about to throw a punch.

Other members of Pacquiao’s security detail joined the fray and subdued the tall, decently dressed man, who is about 35 years old, according to David Sisson, Pacquiao’s personal assistant, who witnessed the incident around 3 a.m.

Pacquiao saves attacker

Pacquiao, however, prevented them from hurting the man, who kept on shouting: “F–ck you! F–ck you, Pacquiao! You homophobic…”

Homophobia is an irrational fear of or an aversion toward homosexuals.

“Let him go. Don’t hurt him,” Sisson quoted Pacquiao as saying.

READ MORE...

Security personnel heeded his call and just pushed the man away as Pacquiao left the premises of the Japanese restaurant, where members of his entourage usually had lunch after attending church service.

LGBT brouhaha

Sisson, son of American missionaries based in General Santos City, said Johnny Bantilan, a former boxer and Pacquiao’s friend, had to be restrained from going after the attacker.

The commotion, which drew the attention of restaurant personnel and customers, was apparently an offshoot of the LGBT brouhaha involving Pacquiao last February.

Pacquiao earned the ire of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community after he compared gay people to animals in a television interview in the Philippines.

Though Pacquiao apologized later, his remarks caused Nike to drop him as an endorser and, for a while, affected his rankings in the Philippine senatorial derby. He was also banned from The Grove, a retail and entertainment complex, here.

Beefed-up security

Pacquiao remained calm throughout Sunday’s incident and even joked that the attacker was not an enemy but a fan.

“He’s a fan, he was saying ‘Pacquiao,’ not f–ck you,” Sisson quoted Pacquiao as saying.

Because of the attack, Pacquiao’s security will be beefed up further as he closes training camp for his third and last showdown with the American Timothy Bradley on April 9 (April 10 in Manila) at MGM Grand Garden Arena.

$5,000 bill

Apart from the LA Boys, security personnel and closed-in bodyguards, a group of Filipino LAPD cops will help secure the reigning Fighter of the Decade in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao was accompanied at Kabuki by wife Jinkee and their five children. Also with the group that racked up a bill of $5,000 were Pacquiao’s mother, popularly known as Mommy Dionisia, and her estranged husband, Rosalio.

The incident interrupted what was a calm Sunday for Pacquiao, who attended Mass before having lunch with his family.

The incident came a day before Team Pacquiao hits the road in a multi-vehicle convoy for the Nevada gambling haven where he will face Bradley.

Knockout drought

Pacquiao and Bradley have split two previous showdowns and the Pacman is hoping to win decisively by ending a knockout drought that started since he stopped Miguel Cotto in 2009.

“I have been thinking that the last knockout that I had was in the Cotto fight and I believe the Margarito fight should have been stopped,” Pacquiao said in a transcript provided by promoter Top Rank. “It was a long time ago. I am thinking about it (the knockout) and that’s why I work hard.”

“Right now it is a good thing that I had a layoff—I feel excited and fresh in my body and I will try hard for it in this fight,” he said.

Pacquiao hasn’t fought since losing a unanimous decision to undefeated American Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May last year.

In the back burner

Top Rank chief Bob Arum said he still was not promoting this fight as Pacquiao’s last, but Pacquiao, gunning for a Senate seat, said that if he succeeded in his latest political endeavor, boxing would definitely be put in the back burner.

“After this fight I have already said that my mind is to focus on my job,” said Pacquiao. “If I win a Senate seat, I have a big responsibility and I need to focus on that. I cannot say right now that I am going to retire. I don’t want to say that because I don’t know what the feeling is when you leave boxing. I will give it great thought when I return home.”

Although the fight is not expected to generate even half the interest and profits of the Pacquiao-Mayweather tussle, Arum expects at least 14,000 fans to show up at the MGM Grand for the fight and hopes to breach the 700,000 mark in pay-per-view fights.

To spice up the event, Arum has cooked up a “No Trump Undercard” featuring Latino fighters in a response to Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump, who has built his campaign around an anti-Latino message.

Trump has said he will build a wall to set up a border between the United States and Mexico.

“I am very excited for my ‘No Trump Undercard’ with the young Hispanic contenders and I think it is resonating tremendously, particularly with the Hispanic community,” Arum said. “I’ve done dozens of radio interviews and television programs with the Hispanic media and there is a lot of excitement.”

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Win or lose, Manny should quit – Freddie By Dino Maragay (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 6, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


Manny Pacquiao and his handlers, led by Freddie Roach and Buboy Fernandez, pose for a final shot of their training at the Wild Card gym. ABAC CORDERO

LAS VEGAS – Freddie Roach still insists Manny Pacquiao should retire even if things don’t go well against Timothy Bradley this Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

After supervising Pacquiao’s final workout at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, a calm and collected Roach spent a significant time talking to reporters about his ward’s readiness for the bout.

He just doesn’t see Pacquiao losing to Bradley, who already lost to Pacquiao once, arguably even twice counting the controversial decision in their first clash four years ago.

But crazy things happen in boxing, and it’s still possible that things won’t go on as planned for someone as vulnerable as Pacquiao.

In case that happens, Roach said he’ll recommend that Pacquiao hang up his gloves.

“If he doesn’t look good on this one, um, it might be the time to retire,” Roach told reporters.

The cornerman actually doesn’t have to worry about it if Pacquiao sticks to his word and retires after Saturday’s clash at the MGM Grand Garden Arena here.

Knowing Pacquiao though, fighting on isn’t out of the question, especially now that he’s claimed to be in peak form right now.

“But actually, he (Pacquiao) looks good on training camp, so yeah, I haven’t seen any flaws, or any slowing-down, as they say, at all,” Roach continued, adding that Pacquiao is in a must-win situation.

“If he doesn’t look good in this fight, and we don’t win the fight, I would definitely probably ask him to retire, yes. Depending on how the fight goes, of course, and how he looks.”


MANILA TIMES

Pacquiao lands knockout election blows with Bradley fight April 8, 2016 1:26 pm

MANILA: Win or lose in his mega-bucks fight this weekend, Philippine boxing legend Manny Pacquiao will be landing knockout blows against his political rivals with priceless media coverage ahead of national elections.

The eight-time world champion is running for a Senate seat and controversially scheduled his bout against Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas to be held just one-month ahead of polling day.

The fight will ensure most Filipinos will be fixated on him as they watch live broadcasts on Sunday morning, local time, while the media coverage of the build-up has already gifted him tens of millions of dollars worth of free advertising.

It is a strategy that has rivals fuming, accusing him of below-the-belt tactics that circumvent election campaign advertisement spending laws.

“If he had a sense of sportsmanship he wouldn’t be staging the fight just one month before the elections,” senatorial candidate Walden Bello, who filed a failed legal challenge to reschedule the bout, told Agence France-Presse.

More neutral observers also point out that Pacquiao is gaining an unfair advantage.

“His only source of publicity is his fights, not his (political) platform. It is too much of an advantage,” said Sixto Brillantes, former head of the Commission on Elections, which runs the polls, told AFP.


BRILLANTES

While his rivals have travelled across the sprawling archipelago to promote their credentials in recent months, Pacquiao has not bothered to hit the hustings, aside from an appearance in Manila when the election campaign was launched in February.

“His form of campaigning is the bout,” Brillantes said.

Presidential ambitions

Pacquiao, 37, has said his fight against Bradley will likely be the last of his career so he can pursue his long-held political ambitions. He is hoping a stint in the Senate will serve as a platform for an eventual presidential run.

In a celebrity-obsessed nation where movie stars regularly become powerful politicians, the high school drop-out could indeed defy his lack of education and one day lead the nation of more than 100 million people.

READ MORE...

Pacquiao has for the past six years been a member of the lower house, representing a district in the impoverished southern Philippines where he grew up.

His critics say he’s done little as a politician to help ordinary Filipinos, pointing out he has had one of the worst attendance records in parliament.

“He was my vice chair of the house committee on overseas workers and he did not attend a single meeting,” Bello said.

And even after a controversy in February when the born-again Christian drew widespread condemnation for describing homosexuals as “worse than animals”, Pacquiao looks set to comfortably win a Senate seat.

He is currently in seventh place on Senate popularity ratings surveys, with 12 seats up for grabs, according to Manila-based pollster Pulse Asia.

Pacquiao was in 10th place in a January survey, and Pulse Asia research director Ana Maria Tabunda attributed his steady climb despite not campaigning to the intense media coverage of his preparations for the Bradley fight.

“He is a national hero of sorts to many of our people… he has good name recall whether there is a fight or not,” Tabunda told AFP.

“But it also helps that he is there (in the news) every day,” Tabunda said.

National glory

In a statement to the election commission to address Bello’s request to postpone the fight, his lawyers insisted Pacquiao primarily wanted to uplift the spirits of his countrymen.

“(It) has to be done before his youth is gone, to give our country and our people the pride and glory they justly deserve, which is always foremost in his heart and mind,” the lawyers said in a written submission.

The commission announced last month it could not postpone the fight or disqualify Pacquiao from running for the Senate because it had no authority to rule on an event that had not happened.

“That is not within our control. We are not in a position right now to stop it,” commission chief Andres Bautista, although he said Pacquiao could face legal challenges afterwards.

Pacquiao has largely ignored the controversy, while focusing on his training.

In one of his few comments on the issue, Pacquiao denied any skullduggery in relation to the timing of his fight.

“This is not for my personal glory. I’m fighting for the honor of our country and to glorify God through sports,” Pacquiao said in a text message to journalists.
AFP

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Team Pacquiao: Let’s get it on By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 5, 2016 - 12:00am 1 5 googleplus0 0


Manny Pacquiao and his group leave the restaurant through the back exit, moments before a man assaulted the Filipino champ at the parking lot. ABAC CORDERO

Roach wants all-out brawl

HOLLYWOOD – Manny Pacquiao’s chief trainer came short of begging for a furious showdown with Timothy Bradley on April 9 (April 10 in Manila) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

If Bradley comes to fight toe to toe, well and good.

“If he (Bradley) will be more aggressive I will be happy for that,” said Freddie Roach, six days before Pacquiao and Bradley clash for the third and last time.

Pacquiao is retiring after this fight.

Twice since 2012, the two welterweights have fought inside the ring, dancing to the music. The first time, it ended with Bradley winning a hotly-contested decision.

In their rematch, Pacquiao won hands down. In those two meetings, neither fighter had gone down.

Pacquiao said he’s going for an impressive win, a knockout if it comes, because doing so might help him earn more votes in the coming elections.

The Filipino boxer hasn’t scored a stoppage since 2009, when the wide-bodied, heavy-handed Puerto Rican, Miguel Cotto, was stopped in the 12th round.

“If his (Teddy Atlas) fighter fights a little harder we will fight back. Manny is ready for whatever he (Bradley) brings to the table,” said Roach.

Bradley and those around him think that he has changed because of his new trainer. But Roach said it doesn’t matter, maybe because Bradley, 32, may be too old to change.

“We see the adjustments he is trying to make but once Manny hits him, he will revert back to what he does best. I am not worried about Teddy Atlas, believe me,” said Roach.

Pinoy scribes who visited Bradley in Indio, California, two days ago, tried to show Roach a video of the American boxer shadow boxing inside the ring.

Roach looked the other day, and walked away.

Pacquiao also spoke to scribes, and said he can almost guarantee a better fight than the two previous ones because Bradley insists that he has changed as a fighter.

Pacquiao must be keeping his finger crossed that Bradley comes to fight.

“Mas maraming action ito (This will provide more action),” said Pacquiao. “Yung style niya hindi na masyado takbo (His style now is not about running).”

“Pasok na nang pasok (He’s now coming in more). Gusto ko yan (I like that). Mas maganda (It’s nicer). Mas madaming action (More action),” he said.


ABS-CBN

Bradley determined to stage upset in match vs Pacquiao BN By SKYcable Posted at 04/08/16 6:34 PM | Updated as of 04/08/16 6:40 PM

Despite the pains experienced from training with Teddy Atlas and the consensus among observers favoring Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley is confident of his chances in the match airing on SKYcable Pay-Per-View on April 10.

The fighter who calls himself “Dessert Storm” has a history of staging upsets in the past. Bradley is what many refer to as an elite fighter, having faced a whole list of champions in the past with an impressive amount of success.

Aside from winning against his opponent in the coming fight, the fourth-ranked in the pound for pound list by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board is much younger than his opponent and has won via close unanimous decision against Ruslan Provodnikov in 2013 to capture the WBO Welterweight Championship.

He has also won against Ring #3 ranked pound for pound and Ring #5 ranked junior lightweight and WBO junior welterweight champion Juan Manuel Márquez in 2013.

The erstwhile undefeated boxer Jessie Vargas was also among Bradley’s triumphs going into a bout for the WBO Welterweight Interim title. And just late last year, he beat former Lightweight champion Brandon Ríos to retain the WBO Welterweight title.

The fighter who is five years younger than Pacquiao is also confident as his training under Atlas has given him a positive outlook on the fight. Instead of fighting his opponent to exhaustion, he is choosing to go the smart way, preserving his strength and using his gifts the right way.

READ MORE...

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‘Brand new’ Pacquiao coming out vs Bradley By Abac Cordero (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 8, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


Boxers Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, left, poses with Timothy Bradley, Wednesday, April 6, 2016, in Las Vegas. The two are scheduled to fight in a welterweight title fight Saturday in Las Vegas. AP Photo/John Locher


LAS VEGAS – As time winds down to precious few for one of the greatest boxing careers of contemporary times, the very thought of retirement and being on the threshold of another calling seem to fire up Manny Pacquiao one last time.

At 37 and ready to call it quits, the eight-division champion who knew he had done it all wanted to go out in a blaze of glory by going all out after the man who dealt him one of his few losses and this serves as impetus for the Filipino fighter to reach peak form and on top of his game.

Pacquiao will fight Timothy Bradley for the third time this Saturday (Sunday in Manila) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and he admitted feeling like a brand new fighter.

“I feel fresh and new and hungry,” he said.

Coming out of a long 11-month layoff since the richest showdown in boxing history against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and having the luxury of time to work himself back into competitive form following a minor shoulder surgery, Pacquiao is ready to come out like the old warrior as he climbs the ring for one last time before leaving it all behind to serve the people as budding politician back home.

With his shoulder 100 percent repaired, Pacquiao seems ready to relive his glory days when he was younger and stronger and his trainer Freddie Roach said the man was even better and stronger than before.

“It was good for me that I had the long layoff. Now, I feel like when I was starting to fight in America,” he said.

Losing three of his last six fights, there were some fears that the Filipino champ was way past his prime and missing the killer’s instinct that had made him the icon of this brutal sport.

But Pacquiao said he still had it all and vowed to dish it all out come Saturday.

“Yes, I still have the killer instinct and I felt that when I started training for this fight. It’s really a good thing that I rested almost one year,” he said.

“I’m so excited for Saturday,” Pacquiao said.

Roach agreed with Pacquiao although he said it doesn’t mean that they try to chop Bradley’s head off and score their first knockout since 2009.

Going for a knockout, he said, could again be one costly mistake.

“We’re not gonna make that mistake. We never look for a knockout because if you do it’s not going to happen,” said the 55-year-old trainer.

“We never go out there looking for a knockout. Never,” he said.

Bradley said the other day he sees himself winning by decision but, like Pacquiao, will keep on trying to land the big one and cut the long night short.

“I’m going to win – 12 round decision,” he said.


INQUIRER

Bradley endorses Pacquiao for Philippine ‘governor’ SHARES: 108 VIEW COMMENTS By: Celest Flores-Colina @CFColinaINQ INQUIRER.net 02:06 AM April 8th, 2016


Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley Jr. pose for photos during their final press conference at the David Copperfield Theater inside MGM Hotel in Las Vegas. Pacquiao and Bradley fight for the third time on April 10, Sunday (Manila time). PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

LAS VEGAS—Manny Pacquiao has found an unlikely supporter in his battle for a Senate seat. It is the guy who will be sitting at the opposite corner when he climbs the ring on Saturday night.

In a final press conference lacking the usual tension, Timothy Bradley went on to give Pacquiao a glowing endorsement for his bid in the coming Philippine national elections, saying the Sarangani representative is “the only one out there who will do right by the Filipino people.”

“You all need to get it right over in the Philippines,” Bradley urged Filipino voters. “He’s shown over and over that he is for the people and by the people and that he’s a man of his word. He’s always shown that character and that integrity and I think he’s the right man for the job.”

Wrong post

The job is what Bradley got wrong, saying Pacquiao was running for “governor of the Philippines.”

Pacquiao is running for one of 12 Senate seats in the May 9 elections in the Philippines, where voters will also choose the next President.

Bradley’s speech, which Top Rank chief Bob Arum admitted caught him by surprise, was prompted by something the American fighter had read two days before the press conference at MGM Grand’s Copperfield Theater.

“I read something the other day where someone said Manny Pacquiao, in order to win his campaign, in order to win what he has to do, that he has to win this fight,” Bradley said. “I think that is baloney. I think that is garbage.”

No bearing

Bradley said the outcome of their fight on Saturday night should have no bearing on Pacquiao’s intent to serve the Filipino people.

“I don’t think the fight has anything to do with what this man has shown for the Filipino people, where he’s from,” Bradley said. “To lose a fight or whatever happens and not get what is rightfully deserved, for him to win and sooner or later become [a senator] of the Philippines. [He has] everybody what he is made of with everything he has done for the Philippines and the Filipino people.”

READ MORE...

Pacquiao’s Senate bid has been roundly criticized by Filipinos back home, with a majority of them begging him to stick to boxing. The eight-division champion is also faced with disqualification because of this fight, which his political rivals say give him an advantage in terms of publicity.

Airtime limit

Arum even joked about that, saying the Commission of Elections has set a specified number of minutes of airtime for every candidate’s campaign material and that Bradley had already eaten up a lot of those minutes with his glowing endorsement of Pacquiao.

Arum later told Yahoo that Bradley’s speech “blew me away.”

“Never in 50 years in this business have I heard a thing like it,” said Arum, who has been promoting fights for 50 years and refers to Pacquiao as the one-man social welfare system of the Philippines.

Campaign speech

“You have two guys in a big fight and one of them gets up and does a campaign speech for his opponent. It was unbelievable and shows what a class act Timothy Bradley really is.”

Bradley went on to wish Pacquiao luck on his political battle.

“I wish nothing but the best for you, man. I hope you truly, truly win. I really do,” Bradley said.

As for Pacquiao’s battle on the ring, Bradley has a different outcome in mind.

“If I am going to beat Manny Pacquiao, it’s got to be now,” he said. “This is my only opportunity and I’m ready for it.”

 
ATLAS TALKS ABOUT FIGHTERS' PREPARATIONS


ABS-CBN

From $20 to $20 million, Pacquiao's journey to final payday Agence France-Presse Posted at 04/07/16 3:24 PM


Boxer Manny Pacquiao (L) works out with his trainer Freddie Roach ahead of his bout with Tim Bradley, in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States, March 30, 2016. Photo by Lucy Nicholson, Reuters.

LAS VEGAS -- Twenty-one years after clambering through the ropes for his first professional fight, Manny Pacquiao will make the long walk to the ring for what could well be the final time on Saturday in Las Vegas.

It will complete one of the most vivid rags-to-riches journeys in a sport that is famous for them, an odyssey which has taken him from a $20 purse to a reported $20 million payday for this weekend's finale against Tim Bradley.

A lot has changed for Pacquiao since January 25 1995, when as a skinny 16-year-old he outpointed Edmund Enting Ignacio in a four-round bout before a few hundred spectators on the wild and rugged Philippines island of Mindoro.

Pacquiao traveled to that fight by ferry, buying his own ticket for the three-hour boat ride from Manila for a contest which earned him 1,000 pesos, approximately $21 dollars at today's rate of exchange.

"It was very small," Pacquiao recalled here Wednesday as he prepared for his third and final meeting with Bradley.

"But it was my desire to box. At that time I boxed because I wanted to help my mother, and my family."

(READ: Pacquiao says he may fight in Olympics if pros allowed)

- 'We had no money' -

Boxing provided Pacquiao with an escape from crushing poverty.

"We had no money. I was the breadwinner. I helped send my brother to school, I worked at boxing," he said.

"I loved doing it because I was helping my family. When you have nothing you don't care how hard the work is."

Since that meager first purse, Pacquiao's fights have generated an estimated $500 million, swollen by his cut from last year's money-spinning "Fight of the Century" against Floyd Mayweather which ended in defeat.

Pacquiao will bank another bumper paycheck this weekend.

READ MORE...

Even allowing for the fact that Saturday's bout has struggled to generate the crackle of anticipation that surrounded his iconic battles with the likes of Mayweather, Oscar de la Hoya and Ricky Hatton, Pacquiao remains big box office.

Bob Arum, the legendary 84-year-old promoter, pinpoints Pacquiao's narrative arc as the source of the Filipino's enduring appeal.

"He's just a great story," Arum said. "A rags to riches story. A kid from the streets of the Philippines, lived in a cardboard shack. Worked his way up, comes to the United States ... becomes one of the biggest fighters of our time.

"I was in boxing for a long time before Manny arrived. I remember all the Filipinos. Some of them were good. Some were OK. None of them were great. Manny is great."

- A stained legacy? -

Yet the final phase of Pacquiao's career has been overshadowed by an ugly controversy the devoutly religious fighter ignited in February when he asserted that homosexuals were "worse than animals."

Those comments, just months after same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States, triggered a wave of revulsion and have threatened to leave an indelible stain on Pacquiao's legacy.

Sponsors led by Nike swiftly cut their ties, and Pacquiao was reminded of the deep anger caused by his comments on Sunday when he was verbally abused by a man outside a restaurant in Los Angeles.

Even Arum could not hide his dismay at the controversy.

"There are people who hold sincere religious beliefs against same sex marriage and homosexuality," Arum said.

"The problem is that Manny didn't leave it there. He made analogies to try and justify his position, and those analogies got him in trouble because they're very hurtful. And they're wrong."

Pacquiao insists the controversy has not distracted him from the job in hand, and he remains focused on Bradley and his own burgeoning political career.

Pacquiao's determination to help the poor in his homeland has been a central theme of his pursuit of public office.

Elected to the country's congress in 2010, he is running for a seat in the country's Senate in polls next month.

"I'm taking this fight and then going back to the Philippines to focus on politics, to help the poor people," Pacquiao said.

Both Arum and Pacquiao's trainer Freddie Roach have expressed scepticism however that the fighter will stay retired.

"I still think he has a lot left in him," Roach said.

"There's some interesting fights out there."

Arum agreed.

"I think if he wins this fight well, he's going to find a way to continue," he said.

"If you've been doing something and doing something well since you were seven or eight years old it's a tough thing to give up."

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

(For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.)

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Manny Pacquiao cries ‘one more’ as ‘last fight’ looms By: Francis T.J. Ochoa @inquirerdotnet
Assistant Sports Editor 12:32 AM April 6th, 2016


FRIENDS FOREVER World boxing king Manny Pacquiao (left) rests after a workout while trainer Freddie Roach wears a thoughtful look in his eyes. “We’ll be friends forever,’’ Roach said before he and Pacquiao left for Nevada for the title fight with Timothy Bradley Jr. which could be the Filipino champion’s last. REM ZAMORA

HOLLYWOOD—One more.

It’s been a familiar refrain, an appeal borne out of voraciousness than urgency, each time Manny Pacquiao trains for a fight.

One more round of sparring. One more go at the speed ball. One more session with the heavy bag.

Pacquiao, a workout junkie, asks for one more of whatever at the end of each training session that it has become one of the default narratives for journalists covering his fights.

Manny Pacquiao had to be restrained again. Manny Pacquiao had to be physically pulled out of the ring again. Manny Pacquiao had to negotiate his way out of a rest day again.

On Monday, at Wild Card Gym, the Filipino ring icon was at it again. Not just at the end of the training session but at the end of each workout set.

Time out, a trainer would yell after one set. Pacquiao would continue on. The double end. The heavy bag. The shadowboxing.

Wisp of nostalgia

“I thought we had a deal?” strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune told Pacquiao in an attempt to get him to taper off for the day. Pacquiao smiled. The words didn’t need to be said. One more.

READ MORE...

This time though, there was a touch of sentimentality, a wisp of nostalgia with each extended workout set.

Manny Pacquiao fights Timothy Bradley Jr. on April 9 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. If his prior pronouncements hold true, this is the farewell fight of the Filipino ring icon. And if this is the farewell fight, then this is the last workout for Pacquiao at
Wild Card Gym, the training haven where he forged his place in boxing history.

Silent witness

Right after Monday’s session, Pacquiao broke routine and huddled his corner on the ring for a prayer.

“It’s the first time we did that,” Pacquiao said.

It also could be the last.

“He’s the best thing that ever happened to Wild Card, he’s the best thing that happened in my life,” said trainer Freddie Roach.

The walls of the gym have been a silent witness to his growth from a one-punch wonder to the sport’s only eight-division champion. Everywhere, photos of Pacquiao are pasted on every available space, along with old fight posters and pictures of other fighters who have made Wild Card their home.

Little to prove

The gym has had an explosion in membership ever since Pacquiao started blurring weight lines and winning world titles in devastating fashion—and members live by the gym slogan that encapsulates all the hard work he has put to get to where he is: It ain’t easy.

But more than the aura or atmosphere of greatness and grit that pervades the gym, there is an even more palpable proof of Pacquiao’s presence in the gym. The laundromat below Wild Card has become an extension of the gym, where Pacquiao prepares for fights.

But the boxer said it is time to heed his family’s call to hang up his gloves. After all, there is very little else he has to prove in the sport, notwithstanding last year’s loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

“I have no regrets,” Pacquiao said. “I faced every fighter I could possibly fight and I’m happy with my accomplishments in boxing. It’s the first time someone got eight titles in eight different divisions.”

“I will miss him,” Roach said.

“I’ll still visit,” Pacquiao later said.

Memories never die

The trainer said he has no particular favorite memory of Pacquiao at Wild Card but added that he will always be struck with how much of a nice guy Pacquiao is, especially to the people inside the gym.

Rob Peters, the gym muscle who makes sure order is maintained no matter how chaotic things may often get during a Pacquiao training camp, agreed.

Peters’ favorite memory “of all time, not just of Pacquiao in Wild Card,” proves that as good as Pacquiao is on the ring, he is a better person off it, literally.

“I wasn’t working for him yet; this was the Morales fight,” Peters recalled. “There were a lot of people around and I was on the ring with Freddie. My wife and kids were inside the gym. I pulled Freddie to me and instantly, I thought that Manny had taken it wrongly, that I pulled his trainer away from him.

“He wouldn’t look at me. Instead, he jumps past the ropes and runs to my wife and kids, talks to them and has his picture taken with them. My wife and kids were beaming. That became my favorite memory forever. I told myself that I’d work for this guy if he’d let me. Ang mamatay nang dahil sa’yo (to die because of you) became all too real for me.”

‘He saved my life’

Roach, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, once told a magazine and newspaper interview that when a scrawny Pacquiao, armed with a wicked left and nothing else, walked into Wild Card some 15 years ago, it was a lifesaver.

“He walked into my gym and an hour later I was his new trainer,” Roach said during a press conference in 2009. “He saved my life.”

On Monday, he toned down the hyperbole, saying with a laugh he wasn’t really in “grave danger that time.”

“But he changed my life forever,” Roach said. “He changed this gym forever.”

After cooling down with several sets of abdominal crunches, Pacquiao got dressed and prepared to lead a convoy out to Las Vegas. Again, if retirement plans don’t miscarry, that could be the last trip he would make with Roach to the US fight capital.

Last hope

“It’s going to be disappointing that I won’t be making that trip anymore because this could be the last one,” Roach said.

“But I’ll always visit him in the Philippines and we’ll be friends forever, sure,” he added.

That sense of finality hasn’t sunk in for some people just yet.

Asked how he feels about Monday’s training session being possibly Pacquiao’s last in the cozy little gym at the corner of Vine and Sta. Monica, Peters rubbed his chin and gave it some thought.

“Man, I hadn’t even thought of it that way,” he said, pausing for a while before adding: “Man, that’s crazy. That’s …”

“I can’t even think of this as his last time here,” Peters said. “I mean, I’ll look at this as just another fight and, you know … I don’t know. I’ll miss working with the guy. I’ll miss working for him. I’ll probably always hope that, well, you know …”

Peters let the statement hang. There were no words needed. The faraway look in his eyes betrayed just exactly what it was he and probably Roach and the other Wild Card guys were hoping for.

One more.


PACQUIAO HAPPY WITHY HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN BOXING.


MANILA TIMES

Pacquiao vows to sign off in style April 7, 2016 9:13 pm


Welterweight boxer Manny Pacquiao talks about his upcoming fight against Timothy Bradley Jr. during their final news conference at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao and Bradley will meet for their third fight on April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. AFP PHOTO

LAS VEGAS: Manny Pacquiao believes his 11-month absence from boxing following last year’s defeat to Floyd Mayweather has left him hungrier than ever as he prepares for his farewell fight against Tim Bradley here on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

The 37-year-old Filipino insists he will retire from boxing after the third instalment of his rivalry with Bradley, vowing to focus on a political career in his homeland where he is seeking election to the Senate.

While Pacquiao has carefully kept a door ajar to extending his career, he told reporters at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Wednesday that he views Saturday’s bout as an opportunity to sign off in style.

“It’s really important for me to win this fight, to win convincingly,” Pacquiao said. “It’s part of my legacy.”

Asked if he still retained the killer instinct which helped him win an unprecedented eight world titles at eight different weight classes, Pacquiao said his long absence had served to renew his enthusiasm for the ring.

“I still have that (killer instinct),” Pacquiao said. “I rested almost one year and when I started training for this fight I felt fresh and hungry again, like I did when I first started boxing. It’s been good for me. It’s good that I had a long layoff.

“I still have that desire. I love boxing. Boxing is my passion. I grew up on boxing. I started when I was 12 years old, non-stop, until now.”

Pacquiao’s long-time trainer Freddie Roach said he had questioned whether retirement talk could prove a distraction.

“I thought it might be, but training camp was great, it was just like every other training camp. Manny maybe worked a little harder and said ‘Let’s go out with a bang’ and that’s what we intend on doing,” Roach said.
Bat out of hell

READ MORE...

Pacquiao (57-6-2) has joked that a knockout against Bradley—who has twice gone the distance with the Filipino, winning one, losing one — would boost his appeal at the ballot box when he stands in Filipino elections in May.

Pacquiao however has not scored a knockout since 2009, when he demolished Britain’s Ricky Hatton in two rounds before beating Miguel Cotto six months later with a 12th round TKO.

Bradley said he expects Pacquiao to adopt an aggressive game plan.

“I’m expecting him to be more aggressive, he’s going to come out like a bat out of hell and try to take my head off,” Bradley said, shortly before going face-to-face with Pacquiao at a pre-fight press conference here.

The 32-year-old from the Californian desert city of Palm Springs believes, however, that a combative approach from his opponent may play into his hands.

“If he’s more aggressive, then it’s probably going to give me more opportunities I would think,” said Bradley, who showered Pacquiao with praise in what amounted to an endorsement of his opponent’s political aspirations.

“He’s shown over and over again that he’s for the people, he’s by the people, and that he’s a man of his word. And he’s always shown that character, integrity,” said Bradley. “I really hope you win, man.”

Roach meanwhile insisted Pacquiao would walk the line between controlled aggression and outright foolhardiness.

“We’re professionals, we won’t make that mistake,” Roach said. “We’re not going to go in there looking for a knockout. We’ve never looked for a knockout because if you do it will never happen. The knockouts come as kind of a bonus but we never look for them out there.”

Pacquiao shrugged off reports that Bradley had sought to incorporate tactical elements used by Juan Manuel Marquez when he inflicted a devastating sixth round knockout on the Filipino in December 2012.

“I know that Floyd [Mayweather] used the same sparring strategy, I know that they’re going to use that strategy,” Pacquiao said. “But I learned a lot from that fight. So maybe they should think about another strategy.”

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Pacquiao shows preview of what’s to come in latest spar session SHARES: 35 VIEW COMMENTS By: Roy Luarca @RoyLuarcaINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer 03:55 PM April 5th, 2016


Manny Pacquiao works the mitts with trainer Freddie Roach inside the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California on Saturday afternoon. Pacquiao and Bradley will be fighting for the third time on April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

HOLLYWOOD — They were trading punches near the corner of the ring when Manny Pacquiao suddenly recoiled with a lead left and a right cross that sent Ghislain Maduma all the way to the ropes.

Pacquiao didn’t follow-up, of course, they were just sparring and it was supposed to be just a sweating it out session at the conclusion of his training at Wild Card Gym here.

Actually, it wasn’t even a strong punch, and a long one at that, but it reminded everyone present that Pacquiao still packs a mean wallop, even with his surgically repaired right shoulder.

Pacquiao’s explosion became the highlight of his workout Monday (Tuesday in Manila) as he and chief trainer Freddie Roach went over their drills one more time before leaving for Las Vegas late in the afternoon.

Throughout the four-round sparring, assistant trainer Buboy Fernandez was busy hollering instructions to Pacquiao, who was holding back with his power punches.

READ: Roach opens Pacquiao spar session to select Filipino media

Clearly, one of the strategies was for Pacquiao to apply constant pressure on Bradley wherever he goes.

READ MORE...

“Don’t give him distance so that he won’t be ready (to counter), said Fernandez, with Roach watching intently at the corner.

The opening round was quite tame even as Maduma tried to stalk Pacquiao, who was unloading jabs to the face and straights to the body alternately.

In the third round, Pacquiao peppered Maduma with left straights and combinations to the body. As Maduma retreated Pacquiao continued to harrass him, flicking jabs.

With time winding down in the fourth, Pacquiao allowed Maduma to hit him in the body before countering with a flurry, mixing rights and lefts.

When the final bell rang, Pacquiao and Maduma hugged each other as blood brothers, with Maduma joining camp in General Santos City nearly seven weeks ago.

As Pacquiao approached Roach, the seven-time trainer of the year nodded in approval of his ring performance.

According to Fernandez, he’d told Pacquiao to knock Bradley out early so as to quash any doubts about his punching power and leave boxing in a blaze of glory.

In an interview with Maduma later, the Congolese-Canadian said Pacquiao overwhelmed him and confirmed Fernandez’s wishes.

“Just too much for Bradley this time and is going to stop him.”


PACQUIAO POST-JOG WORKOUT AT GRIFFIN CONSERVATORY

-----------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

The trainer who fixed a busted Pacquiao SHARES: 72 VIEW COMMENTS By: Roy Luarca @RoyLuarcaINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer 03:04 AM April 5th, 2016


Manny Pacquiao shows off his abdominal muscle after training inside the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles, California on Saturday afternoon. Pacquiao and Bradley will be fighting for the third time on April 9 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. PHOTO BY REM ZAMORA

HOLLYWOOD—Flashback to the early years: Manny Pacquiao was down; Emil Romano was there to pick him up.
Having been a fighter before, Romano knew in his trainer’s heart that Pacquiao was headed for the big time.
What he didn’t foresee was Pacqui-ao’s transformation into a global icon.

Romano thought that the young Pacquiao, though skillful and brave, was a braggart and too hard-headed.

Abandoned by his trainer and manager after losing his WBC world flyweight title for being overweight and then getting knocked out by Thai Medgoen Singsurat in 1999, Pacquiao turned to Romano for help.

Romano agreed on one condition: Pacquiao should obey orders.

Their brief partnership turned out to be a fruitful one.

Pacquiao racked up TKO wins over Reynante Jamili in 1999, and then against Arnel Barotillo, Chae Seung-kon and Nadal Hussein the next year.

READ MORE...

Romano was supposed to accompany Pacquiao to his first fight in the United States in 2001 but begged off in deference to the wishes of Pacquiao’s new manager, the late Rod Nazario.

Nazario wanted Romano, now 51, to supervise the training of Abner Cordero and Zarlit Rodrigo, two WBC Intercontinental champions.

Finally given the opportunity to watch Pacquiao in the US, Romano offered unsolicited advice.

“He must always use his right (hand) before the left, that’s his lethal weapon,” Romano said in Filipino. “He should throw lead right jabs. That way, Bradley will open up for his left. A left upper or left cross will do the job.”

On seeing Pacquiao at a Japanese restaurant here Sunday, Romano said his former ward looked in top shape.

 
Pacquiao gets emotional at Pacquiao-Bradley final presser INQUIRER.net


PHILSTAR

Why Pacquiao-Bradley III is important THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 9, 2016 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


 By Bill Velasco

When you mark time in eras, as most of us do, there are milestones and threshold events that become part of your memory. For the percentage of us who can afford school, graduations are a big deal. It gives us a sense of relief, accomplishment, and some poignancy. At work, promotions and transfers are the way we mark the passing of an age. Death is also a great, indelible marker. And we are all heading there, eventually.

This week will mark supposed finales to two colorful, checkered champions. Kobe Bryant, the once-prodigious flying man who felt he could take on the world and win, will be lacing up his sneakers in the NBA for the last time.

Those of us over 30 will recall other similar passages: the retirement of Julius Erving, his hoops progeny Michael Jordan, the death of Wilt Chamberlain, and the endless chain of those whose bodies have taken them as far as humanly possible in their arenas. Bryant, who marked his own career in two defined stages separated by which number he wore on his back, has finally been caught by Father Time, the inescapable master of us all. But this is not about Kobe Bryant.

In boxing, far more often than in basketball, comebacks are endless. So many champions, from Muhammad Ali to his own conqueror Larry Holmes and the equally familiar Erik Morales, have felt that time was reversible, a two-way street they could walk both sides of.

But fourth-dimension physics would postulate that time goes forward, and is set in stone. Will Manny Pacquiao be the victim of an endless siren song and delude himself into thinking he can still stay at boxing’s highest level? Sorry, but as the cliché goes, time will tell. And it won’t lie.

Why is Pacquiao-Bradley III important?

It is significant to us as boxing fans because it is an opportunity, one last glimpse back in time, for us to project the Manny Pacquiao we want to see, one more time. It will be a chance to say thanks. Since his second emergence 10 years ago, Pacquiao has constantly lifted our spirits, not just with his prodigious speed and skill, but with his “aw shucks” down home philosophy and humility.

He is essentially unchanged despite his massive wealth and world travels and power to influence. He still spouts his fundamental beliefs in a higher power, is tolerant to a fault, and trusting to an even more painful degree. He is generous, kind and sometimes naive, some of the best qualities we aspire for as Filipinos.

READ MORE...

Of course, others see him making an effort as a part-time PBA player and absentee congressman, and shake their heads or wag their tongues. But the fact of the matter is many of us would jump at the same opportunities, if we’re totally honest with ourselves. It is like the armchair critics who dislike Filipinos who make it big abroad and call them ungrateful, or those who believe Filipino-Americans, no matter their brilliance, are not “real” Filipinos, whatever the hell that means

Manny is simply being himself, and for all the criticism, he is following the rules and his passion, and spending his own money when he’s not giving huge chunks of it away. So since we’re not the ones feeding him, we have no right to speak ill of his lifestyle. There are a far greater number of people doing much worse, and with our money.

This fight – with Pacquiao as the underdog by Las Vegas standards – brings us full circle. It brings us back to the Pacquiao who was starting out, losing two critical title fights to Thai rivals because, simply put, he was not prepared. This brings us back to the first fight with Morales, when Manny was outclassed, and before his ascendancy to the sporting, moral and political power that he has since become.

It harks back to the six years and change that he was untouchable, unbeatable, even as we cast a blind eye to all those catchweight title fights. Hey, the other guy agreed to do it, didn’t he?

For all intents and purposes, it is another opportunity to redefine Manny Pacquiao, not just as potentially the greatest Filipino athlete of all time (at least up there with Elorde, Loyzaga, Nepomuceno and Jaworski). It is a chance to see how he and we are much more alike, though we basically feel that much more envious except for the part where he also gets hit hard in the ring.

We like the spoils, the big houses, the Ferrari, the trips, the shopping, but we like it without having to stake our lives every time we go to work, unlike Manny. We simultaneously stand in awe while looking for flaws, because that is human nature, some would argue Filipino nature.

Many of us live in the confines of should’ve, could’ve and would’ve, and try to superimpose that on Pacquiao, as if we know better. He has lived it, tried it, and succeeded or failed at it, and to many of us, gotten away with it. The world did not end when he lost, or did not play basketball well in the PBA, or was not spectacular as a congressman. But he is actually living in those worlds, and we can’t seem to get over that.

And when he was purposely misquoted about his views on same-sex marriage for whatever malicious reason, he stood by his beliefs and went on with his life, despite the number of people who so quickly turned against him though they were misinformed. To make a final point on the matter, he was simply quoting the Bible, and his own statement of compassion about the LGBT community was omitted to make it a better story.

But when you ask how many of these flip-flopping critics actually did their homework or even just apologized afterwards, all you hear it stone cold stupid silence.

Pacquiao-Bradley III takes the Filipino champion off the pedestal, strips him of his godlike status, and reminds us that he is one of us, that despite the doubts, despite the nagging feeling that the result is not a sure thing, he is still in there when most of us would have called it a day. When quitting would have been far easier, he kept on.

Perhaps that is why this fight is important.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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