By Alex P. Vidal
HOLLYWOOD, California – World 147-lb king Manny Pacquiao was scheduled to hit the ground running here starting May 7 as he revs up for 12-round world welterweight title tussle against unbeaten Palm Springs, California resident Timothy Ray Bradley Jr. on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao’s training at the Wild Card gym on Vine Street here will culminate after five weeks. Team Pacquiao will motor to the glitzy gambling capital of the world six days before the fight sanctioned by the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and supervised by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The 33-year old lefty from Gen. Santos City will be facing several heavier sparring partners, including Russians Ruslan Provodnikov and Ruslan Nugaeve, tapped by trainer Freddie Roach to engage Pacquiao in a no holds barred sparring sessions that romped off in Baguio City last month.
Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs), 28, the youngest fighter to face Pacquiao (54-3, 38 KOs) in a world title showdown since then 29-year-old Miguel Angel Cotto, sent notice he was ready for the big league when he dismantled the feared Cuban former world titlist Joel Casamayor in the 8th round on Nov. 12, 2011 underneath the Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez trilogy also at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Nicknamed “The Desert Storm” and stands five feet and six inches like the Filipino buzzsaw, the black orthodox fighter won every round against Casamayor before referee Vic Drakulich pulled the plug at 2:59 of the eighth round to retain his WBO junior welterweight tiara.
Final punch statistics obtained from the CompuBox showed Bradely, an orthodox, connected 192 of the 480 punches thrown against Casamayor’s 41 of the 290 punches thrown.
Bradley uncorked 346 power punches and connected 177 against Casamayor’s 33 of the total 136 thrown. A point had been deducted from Casamayor in the fourth canto for excessive holding.
Bradley’s rumble versus Pacquiao will be his second outing under the Top Rank, Inc. since he signed the promotional contract with the gigantic outfit managed by Bob Arum last year following an eye-popping 10th round technical decision win over Devon Alexander on January 29, 2011.
Bradley is a seven-year professional fighter and has defended the WBO junior welterweight belt three times. He was also a two-time WBC super welterweight crown holder. As amateur, he won gold medals in the 2001 National PAL Championships (147 pounds) and the 2001 Under-19 National Championships (147 pounds).
While Bradley made heads turn in putting away Casamayor, main eventer Pacquiao was hardly impressive in subduing 37-year-old Marquez nicknamed “Dinamita” (52-6-1, 39 KOs).
Of the 578 total punches thrown, Pacquiao connected 176 against Marquez’s 138 of the 436 punches thrown.
The congressman from Sarangani Province in Mindanao, connected 117 of the 274 punches thrown against Marquez’s 100 of the 254 punches thrown. Pacquiao landed an average of 14 of the 49 punches thrown per round against Marquez’s 11 of the 36 punches thrown per round.
Unlike Pacquiao’s previous opponents in the welterweight division, Bradley has good skills and movements and is physically strong. Manager Cameron Dunkin described his ward as “always in top condition and has great stamina and recuperative ability.”
Bradley is also a sharp, accurate puncher, a good body puncher, and is versatile in the ring, added Dunkin. He can pressure his opponent or box, move and counterpunch and is experienced against very good opposition, aside from his strong amateur background.