And of course that favored man is none other than Manny Pacquiao.
As press releases emanate from Top Rank in the lead up to the rematch on April 12 in Las Vegas, much of the message is centered around the favorite son of the Philippines.
There isn’t much you hear about Bradley. He’s the “B-side” of the event and Rodney Dangerfied’s old line of “I don't get no respect!” definitely comes to mind as the promotion gets ready to shift into high gear with the fight only 24 days away.
With Pacquiao training in the heart of Hollywood, his every move is captured by bloggers, newspapermen and TV camera crews. Recent celebrity visitors to Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club have included none other than Bob Dylan.
Meanwhile, Bradley is sequestered away in the California desert at his new gym in Indio. The most that is heard from his camp is that his vegan smoothies are going down well and that it is hot in the desert.
Bradley feels it and sees all of it. Pacquiao’s name is first on the promotional literature, his face is to the left on the fight poster and the Twitter hashtag for the rematch begins with Pacquiao’s name. It’s why the rematch may be more important for Bradley than it is for Pacquiao.
“Look, I beat this guy already, but nobody believes that I did,” explains Bradley. “For me, this fight is about one word and that’s respect. I didn’t get any credit for beating him the first time. Now, I need to get that credit. I’m sick of walking down the street and having people say I didn’t win the fight, they gave it to you, they robbed Manny. I’m the champion, but I need this fight so I can sleep at night.”
Granted, Pacquiao is the bigger name, but Bradley does hold the title and he did technically “beat” Pacquiao the first time the men met in June 2012. In his last fight, Bradley handily defeated Juan Manuel Marquez, the same Marquez that starched Pacquiao, but there is still a definite feeling that if Pacquiao’s hand is raised after the rematch - it is a much better scenario for everyone’s bottom line.
None of this is new to Bradley as he has played second fiddle for a long time in many of the promotions he has been involved in, and though the ink is barely dry on a new multi-million dollar deal with Top Rank, that doesn’t make the slights any more palatable.
Aside from the millions that he will earn and has earned, Bradley has a Marvin Hagler-like determination about himself that allows him to block out the negativity and the doubts boxing fans have about his ability.
“I believe in myself when nobody else believes in me,” says Bradley in how he deals with the naysayers.
Bradley has plunged himself into a training camp that will be eight weeks in length. He has trained as much as 12 weeks for past fights, but says that was likely too long and he came into a couple fights feeling a bit flat or over-trained.
“I’ve been training like an animal, I’ve been going hard every single day,” says Bradley. “I want to get the respect I didn’t get in the first fight. I don’t have any pressure on me because I already beat him once. The pressure is on him. But I want to beat him decisively or hurt him or put him down. It’s all about respect.”
Rodney Dangerfield couldn’t have said it better.
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