PACQUIAO-BRADLEY: THE PASSING OF THE TORCH?
By John McCormick
Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao will be stepping into the ring with undefeated Timothy Bradley a little over twenty four hours from now. We have seen promotional propaganda, video fo the two fighters training intensely, Pacquiao's newfound devotion to the bible, and a large ticket to "Bradley-Pacquiao II" held by Bradley during the last press conference. But what will we see in the ring on Saturday? Will we see the Pacquiao of old reaffirm his greatness or will we see the passing of the torch from one generation to the next?
Sure, we are not on the verge of seeing Mayweather-Pacquiao but we may have the next best thing. Pacquiao has been criticized for not fighting any slick African-American fighters during his reign at the higher weight classes. He has fought Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosley but they weren't exactly slick. Bradley is a very versatile, slick fighter in his prime that not only has what it takes to beat Pacquiao and ruin the chances of seeing Mayweather-Pacquiao but become a star overnight as well.
Last year, Bradley signed with Top Rank to get a shot at Pacquiao. After a gift $1,000,000 payday against a washed-up Joel Casamayor, Bradley was able to get what he came for. Throughout all of the failed Mayweather-Pacquiao negotiations, one man has been much more inconsistent than the rest: Bob Arum.
There has been bad blood between Arum and Mayweather since Mayweather left Top Rank in 2006 and it seems as if Arum is hell-bent on not contributing one dollar to Mayweather's pocket. He has been swarmed for years with the question of what has to be done in order to get a fight done with his fighter, Pacquiao and Mayweather. Well, the best answer seems to be that Arum has other plans. What might those plans be? Making sure another one of his fighters is the one who defeats Pacquiao, not Mayweather. Pacquiao-Bradley may not outsell Mayweather-Cotto but Arum just may be taking his Pacquiao stock and cashing out at the hands of the young Bradley. A Bradley win would open up a world of opportunities for himself and Arum, while a Bradley loss would add to the prowess and cash magnet known as Manny Pacquiao. No matter who loses on Saturday night, Bob Arum goes home richer.
The passing of the torch is usually a non-scripted ceremony that is unannounced. We have seen it happen time and time again throughout all sports. More recently we had a chance to see the young Oklahoma City Thunder grab the San Antonio Spurs by the throat and finish them for the season in the NBA playoffs. A chance to pass the torch is written all over this fight as well. Out with the old and in with the new? A confident Bradley sure appears to think so. But Pacquiao should never be counted out, as he holds an asset in his left hand that can end careers and shatter dreams.
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