Pacman and Bradley 3

Photo by JP Yim

Pacman vs. Bradley 3

By David A. Avila

It’s been amazing to watch an unknown prizefighter from the Philippines rise from total obscurity to one of the most popular and lucrative boxers in the world.

No Asian fighter has ever attained the elite status and fan following in the U.S. that Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao acquired since belting his way to the American public’s senses back in 2001.

The Filipino congressman scraped his way from the impoverished streets of General Santos City as a youth and now may be one of the most powerful people in the Philippines.

But the mighty have fallen.

A recent slip of the tongue led to Pacquiao making anti-gay sentiments during a video interview and since that moment the eight-division world champion has been countering attacks from the media and beyond.

“No one is condemning anyone,” explains Pacquiao, 37, about his feelings toward the gay and lesbian community.

When Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 Kos) meets Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley (33-1-1, 13 Kos) on Saturday April 9, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, he will be attempting a second conquest of the fighter from Palm Springs. He’s also attempting to recover some of the fans lost for his comments.

Pacquiao claims his words were taken out of context. But the reverberation from his alleged anti-gay comments has led to former NBA great Magic Johnson stating he would not support or watch Pacquiao again and a recent media day at the Wild Card Gym saw a noticeable reduction of reporters.

Bradley is concerned about the impact Pacquiao’s comments will have on their ticket sales.

“Man, come on. It’s not a perfect world, dude (Pacquiao) what are you doing? Why was that even important for you to say,” said Bradley, 32, regarding Pacquiao’s recent comments. “It just sounded terrible. You (Pacquiao) want to be a politician? Really.”

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum recently celebrated his 50th anniversary in the hurting business that began long ago in the 1960s with a heavyweight title fight between Muhammad Ali versus George Chuvalo. The wizard promoter has confidence that more than 14,000 tickets will be sold and more than 600,000 pay-per-views will be attained with Pacquiao vs. Bradley 3

“I think we have a shot to go over 700,000 pay-per-views,” said Arum.

Pacquiao has been one of the can’t-miss prizefighters to watch for more than a decade and one of the sport’s richest. But Arum has been forced to pull out his promotional bag of tricks for his mega star, something he hasn’t done for more than a decade. He’s counting on a strong Latino supporting cast.

Pay-per-view undercard

Arum said he has mounted an anti-Donald Trump campaign fight card dubbed “No Trump” with heralded Latino prizefighters from Mexico.

“My Hispanic army is marching out there. People want to see these young Hispanic stars,” said Arum during a press conference call. “It’s resonating with the Latino community.”

Mexico’s Gilberto Ramirez faces WBO super middleweight world titlist Arthur Abraham while former Mexican Olympian Oscar Valdez meets ex-world champion Evgeny Gradovich in a featherweight clash. Former U.S. Olympian Jose Carlos Ramirez a Mexican-American from Northern California faces Denver’s Manuel Perez in a lightweight bout.

“All I know is that we have a good undercard,” said Pacquiao.