By Ivan G. Goldman
Staging a third contest between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley is like throwing a terrific porterhouse steak on the grill and cooking it into burnt rubber. You reach a certain point and the opportunity is lost. You’re looking at a piece of meat that can never be rare again.
Pacquiao-Bradley on April 9 at the MGM Grand Arena doesn’t even reach the level of a tired idea. It’s a confession from the promoter that he’s out of ideas so he’ll just go with a bad one.
The theory seems to be that Pacquiao, 57-6-2, 38 KOs, has enough faithful fans to guarantee a profit so there’s no reason to get fancy at this point in his career.
Look, Bradley and Pacquiao are both nice guys. But they’ve been unable to fashion a fierce rivalry. It’s just not there. Ali-Frazier this is not. Their first two fights rated a C-plus at best. They did their best, but that’s how they match up. This is one of those cases where one and one equals zero.
Besides which, Manny, after showing up to the most expensive contest in history with a gimpy shoulder, has lost the right to fight on pay-per-view. Yes, I know, some people say there was nothing really wrong with his right shoulder that night. Many are the same folks who say JFK was shot by a guy on the grassy knoll who was getting his instructions from the CIA, the Mafia, Richard Nixon, LBJ, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
A legitimate, credible surgeon in Los Angeles, Dr. Neal ElAttrache, says he repaired the rotator cuff after the fight last May. Case closed. Anyone who doesn’t believe the physician and the crew that assisted him should stop watching stupid movies.
Too many fight fans never want to let go of their favorite guy, but Pacquiao is a 37-year-old welterweight who’s been in too many wars and showed up for his last one with a semi-usable shoulder. Yet he continues to tell us his Number One priority is to please the fans. Well his fans paid out plenty to see that fight against Floyd Mayweather and put down some serious bets, and after waiting in line five years they got short-changed.
It sure looks like they’re about to be short-changed again. There are plenty of other welterweight opponents out there, and we already know how Bradley-Pacquiao turns out. It’s another one of those Hollywood sequels to a movie that wasn’t much good in the first place.
Bradley, 33-1-1, 13 KOs, isn’t used up, but at age 32 he needs to be matched against the right opponent. He’s got great athletic skills and tremendous will, but his body grew into welterweight level and he just hasn’t been blessed with welterweight power.
Arum’s Top Rank company is trying to jazz up the promotion by stressing trainer against trainer – Teddy Atlas versus Freddy Roach. Yup, they’re both fine coaches with the gift of gab, but does that really make the bout worth paying extra for? Any TV card demanding an extra payout from viewers should hold the promise of something sensational. And don’t look for the kind of undercard that will make it all worthwhile. That’s not in the cards either.
I hope I’m wrong. I hope fans see a terrific fight and have a truly great night. It’s possible, but buyer beware.
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available from Permanent Press wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.