Bright lights. Camera flashes. Screaming crowd. Different smells in the air. Mobs of fans. Welcome to the fight capital of the world — Las Vegas, Nevada.
Nothing says Sin City like a mega boxing fight and there is one now.
International boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao is back, having not touched down in Vegas since 2012, while junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley is trying to earn his respect once again.
Both fighters made weight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, with Bradley talking to Pacquiao during the faceoff. Pacquiao smiled as Bradley chomped down on his teeth, and flexed his chest muscles onstage.
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“I’ve never told anyone this, you’re the first person I’m telling,” said Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz. “But if we’re in the sixth or seventh round and we’re down — I’m going to tell Bradley to go for the knockout and try to take Manny out.”
There hasn’t been a specific game plan put out by either camp and when I asked Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach what his approach for the fight would be, he simply said, “knockout.”
Diaz said Bradley is going to give the fans what they want this time around.
TVMix: The boos were loud, how do you think Bradley handles this?
Diaz: We’re use to the boos. If we weren’t getting booed, we’d be doing something wrong. He feeds of those.
TVMix: But doesn’t that play on him mentally?
Diaz: Look, there are a lot of African American fighters that don’t get their credit. Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward and Bradley. So, no I don’t think the boos matter.
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Hall of Fame boxing trainer and ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas was on hand and I was surprised by his prediction.
TVMix: Who do you have in this fight?
Atlas: I have Timothy Bradley winning a close decision.
TVMix: You’re going with the underdog?
Atlas: Look, I think Bradley lost the last fight, but he learned a lot. I think that experience will help him to use the jab and get out and be able to beat Manny Pacquiao.
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After the weigh-ins, fans stuck around and mobbed both Diaz and Roach, and Hall of Fame boxers Evander Holyfield and Julio Cesar Chavez were on hand.
The fight will be live on HBO PPV tomorrow and we will see if Bradley will finally earn his respect or if Pacquiao will find redemption.
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