Media Interview w/ Manny Pacquiao & Bob Arum
BOB ARUM: We are coming into the home stretch of this promotion. The western conference finals in the NBA are now set and you will see a great presence of this fight during the TNT telecasts. TNT is a great partner of ours. They had billboards on the broadcast of each of the (Monday) playoff games. We are really anticipating a tremendous push in the days and weeks ahead. The card is an outstanding card. In the main event we have the Congressman Manny Pacquiao defending his welterweight title against undefeated world champion Timothy Bradley and that fight speaks for itself. The popular Jorge Arce against Jesus Rojas, a top fighter from Puerto Rico. The IBF Welterweight championship with the undefeated No. 1 contender Mike Jones against hard punching former world champion and current No. 2 contender Randall Bailey; and finally the WBA Super Bantamweight Championship between former amateur world champion and current WBA world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux defending against young Teon Kennedy of Philadelphia who has 17 wins and only one defeat. A great card top to bottom and I am pleased that the star of the show, Manny Pacquiao, is here with us today.
MANNY PACQUIAO: Good morning everybody. Training is good and we are getting ready for the fight.
FREDDIE ROACH: We had a really great training camp the first 3 weeks in Baguiao – very successful – and the last 3 weeks here in LA has been great. Manny’s focus is the best I have ever seen. We are going against a tough opponent, a tough undefeated opponent in Bradley. I have watched a lot of tapes on him and have seen a lot of holes in his defense and we are going to take advantage of them.
Is Bradley’s style – leading with his head – a concern to you?
FREDDIE ROACH: Yes, Bradley does come in head first. We have been working on how to nullify that. We have a lefty fighting against a righty. The two heads may clash, that could happen and it’s something we have to be aware of and something we will be prepared for.
What is your take on the way you last fight with Marquez happened?
MANNY PACQUIAO: The fight was not that hard for me but I was having some family problems. I was in 100% physical condition for that fight against Marquez but I did have some family issues that I had to deal with. I also underestimated him.
FREDDIE ROACH: Marquez is always going to give Manny troubles. He is a very good boxer and very smart. We had a great training camp going into that fight but on the last week everything fell apart. The personal problems affected the fight and I don’t think Manny will let that happen again. All of the distractions around him caused him to fight poorly. He is very focused for this fight.
What has been the key to your success in moving up all these weight classes?
MANNY PACQUIAO: The fights are all different. It is not easy to move up in weight but I try my best. I have to work very hard to build up my strength and gain weight. I have to build up my stamina to maintain the added weight while preserving my speed and movement.
FREDDIE ROACH: That’s where the bigger challenges were – the bigger fights. We do have to feed Manny more than 5 protein shakes a day to keep the weight on. He performed very well in those weight classes. Moving up in weight classes was necessary because that’s where the challenges were. We needed to do that to be where he is today. Manny did well and we did it the right way with Alex Ariza with the diet and the protein shakes and it worked out well for all of us.
FACT: When Manny moved from lightweight to welterweight he was taking in up to 8,000 calories a day.
Could you elaborate on Manny’s focus for this fight?
FREDDIE ROACH: Yes, his focus is very good. We don’t have days where he comes in tired a so forth because he has no nightlife whatsoever, besides the bible study. He is very focused on the fight. He and God are very close right now and he is just a better athlete – with no distractions – yes.
Were you concerned that the same-sex marriage comments or non-comments would be a distraction?
FREDDIE ROACH: The thing is everyone has an opinion in life and we are all entitled to our opinions, but I see no problem whatsoever. TMZ was outside he gym for a couple of days and we pacified them and that was it.
Do you feel you need to match numbers with Mayweather?
BOB ARUM: We aim to get the biggest possible numbers that we can get. We operate a completely different model from Floyd’s model and whatever numbers he allegedly reached or didn’t reach is really not relevant to us. It varies from fight to fight. The Marquez numbers, from the Manny fight in November, are certainly much greater than Mayweather’s numbers with Ortiz. You also have to realize that Mayweather was fighting one of our great fighters, Miguel Cotto, who is the number 3 PPV attraction, who has gotten great numbers on his own. So you have to factor all of that in.
Did you expect the firestorm over the same-sex marriage statement you made?
MANNY PACQUIAO: Did I know that my answer on legalizing same-sex marriage would create controversy? Yes. It’s a controversial issue. The reporter asked me about my stance on it and I answered his question. I am against legalizing same-sex marriage. That was all I said.
Will your commitment to religion reflect on your fighting in the ring?
MANNY PACQUIAO: When I committed my life to the lord I gave up many things that were not in keeping with what the Bible teaches. Boxing is a job and I do not look at it as anything more than that. It will not affect my job.
FREDDIE ROACH: No, Manny Pacquiao is fired up and ready to go. He is motivated. We have had great workouts and sparring sessions. We had four new sparring partners that came in for this camp. Everything is right where it is supposed to be.
BOB ARUM: From somebody who has visited the training camp a few times, the difference in Manny’s face is so apparent. He’s not as tired as he was and he’s not as worn as he was. There is a glow in his face. I think this religious awakening has been all good on his part. I am a little prejudiced because I am religious myself but I believe when young athletes find religion it will greatly enhance their careers.
Do you think we will see Pacquiao vs. Marquez IV?
BOB ARUM: Everything is on the table. Manny has this fight against Bradley. It’s a tough fight, and after the fight, as we always do, we’ll confer and decide on who the opponent will be and when the fight will take place. I haven’t discussed this with Manny because I never discuss future fights with a fight coming up. We’ll have plenty of time to discuss that and we also have a trip coming up with his family to Israel and we can discuss it then.
What aspect have you been working on to improve?
MANNY PACQUIAO: We work hard and we train hard every day to make sure we have a good fight for the fans on June 9.
FREDDIE ROACH: I have been watching Bradley a lot and he doesn’t rely very much on counter-punching. He is very offensive. He comes to fight which will make it a good fight for everybody. We have the game plan set after watching many, many tapes of Bradley. Manny should have a very good fight on June 9.
As a Congressman, do you come across trash talking?
MANNY PACQUIAO: I do not trash talk in boxing or in politics. I ignore trash talking directed at me. I don’t find it productive.
Are you the toughest public servant on the planet?
FREDDIE ROACH: That’s a stupid question.
MANNY PACQUIAO: It is hard to compare myself to other people.
What does Bradley do particularly well?
FREDDIE ROACH: He comes forward and is very aggressive. He is a well-conditioned athlete and we know we are in for a tough fight. Bradley is a good opponent.
Have you fought anyone strong like him before?
FREDDIE ROACH: No, because he is very strong and very muscular up top. I don’t think we have fought anybody that muscular. We have fought bigger ands stronger people, like Margarito and so forth. We have fought strong guys like him before, yes.
MANNY PACQUIAO: I agree with Freddie.
Do you feel Bradley will be in front of Manny?
FREDDIE ROACH: Yes, he will try to fight Manny. He will try to prove he is the better athlete – the better-conditioned athlete. We have a mover in camp so we are prepared if Bradley decides to move around, so we are prepared for anything he brings. It is my job to figure out what he may do differently. We make adjustments to prepare Manny for whatever may come. He’s ready for a boxer and I’m covering all my bases.
What is Manny’s advantage?
FREDDIE ROACH: Experience, speed and power. Experience is hard to deal with. Power will knock you out. Experience will make it a little easier for you.
MANNY PACQUIAO: Bradley is a different type of fighter and we don’t take this fight lightly. We have trained hard for Bradley because he is the type of fighter we cannot underestimate. Tim Bradley is undefeated and he is a champion.
MANNY PACQUIAO: I don’t know what Tim Bradley will bring in the ring on that night but we will be ready for whatever he brings. I know he will be 100% conditioned for the fight. We have practiced every kind of fight in the ring with four different sparring partners.
BOB ARUM: When you look at Manny’s opponents, the freshest guy he has fought will be Bradley. The others he has fought have been great names like Cotto, Margarito and De La Hoya and Hatton, but Bradley is not a great name but he is a great fighter and young and fresh. When you have a fresh fighter who has not taken a lot of punishment, he can be dangerous. The most important element with Bradley is his mind. He is a very, very determined young man. He is confident in his abilities and determined and that is a tremendous plus for any athlete. He feels as if his mind can take over. Some have doubts in their performance and it shows in up, whether it’s football, boxing or whatever.
It’s been a while since Manny has stopped anyone. Is he still the same fighter?
FREDDIE ROACH: I believe he is a better fighter now. He is more focused. If a knockout comes it will be a bonus. Bradley is a great fighter and he’ll be resilient, but I think you’ll see the best Manny Pacquiao yet.
MANNY PACQUIAO: I am doing my best in training. I stay focused and work hard to give a good fight.
MANNY PACQUIAO: My final words are I would like to invite everybody to watch my fight on June 9. It will be a good fight and there will be a lot of boxing in the ring. Thanks to everyone that was involved in the teleconference today and have a nice day.
BOB ARUM: I would like to see as many of you as possible in Indio on Thursday at Bradley’s workout. There are buses leaving from Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I’ll be there and am anxious to see him train and I know most of you are. I think it’s going to be a great fight – something special. Another thing that is special is the bible study that Manny participates in. Tonight in Manny’s apartment, we are going to shoot the bible study that many has been participating in and make it into a program which we will distribute. When an athlete has a religious experience it is a great thing and I want to show it to as many people as possible.