Entries in Weigh-In (13)
By Kieran Mulvaney
There has long been an apparent dichotomy when it comes to Manny Pacquiao. Outside of the ring – even on his way to the ring, as he smiles and waves at his fans – he speaks quietly, laughs innocently at his own jokes, and professes his love for a wide variety of people, up to and including past, present and future opponents. Inside the ropes, once the bell rings, he is a brutalizing force, bludgeoning the likes of Ricky Hatton into unconsciousness, Miguel Cotto into retreat and Shane Mosley into effective submission. And then, the bell rings to end the fight, and the other Manny materializes again.
Timothy Bradley is less of a study in extremes. During the build-up to Saturday’s clash with Pacquiao, he has been eloquent, thoughtful, and calm, certainly; but by the time of Wednesday’s press conference, he was demonstrating an expression of consistent intensity, not demonstrably different from the one he will likely wear in the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night.
And so it was at Friday’s weigh-in, the final pre-fight public appearance for both men, before a crowd of several thousand that was cheering almost exclusively for the fighting congressman for the Philippines. After stepping off the scales – Pacquiao weighing 147 lbs., Bradley 146 – they stood nose-to-nose for the traditional face-off, Bradley exuding menace and Pacquiao, who has never been able to take such rituals seriously, dissolving into giggles.
Immediately afterward, HBO’s Max Kellerman asked Pacquiao why he was laughing.
“Because I am happy.”
Why did he think Bradley was so serious?
“I don’t know.”
Kellerman turned to Bradley, and asked him to explain his severe expression.
“Because I’m ready for war. I’m ready to prove everybody wrong.”
Not everybody, corrected Kellerman; there is no shortage of observers who think he may spring the upset. Why did he think that is?
“Because they know how hungry and determined I am, baby.”
A study in emotional contrasts. Will Bradley’s intensity remain, and will Pacquiao’s ramp up, come fight time?
by Kieran Mulvaney
Maybe it all started with the belt.
At the end of the final pre-fight press conference before the first in-ring encounter between Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal, the plan was for the two men to pose with Pascal’s WBC light-heavyweight belt. Instead, Hopkins took it for himself, and when the champion made a move to snatch it, he moved it behind his back, like a teenager tormenting his kid brother with a game of keep-away. Pascal lost his cool, Hopkins goaded him with undoubtedly barbed comments, there was pushing and shoving and a net result in which Hopkins, not for the first time, appeared to have burrowed his way into an opponent’s head.
Since then, the tension has only increased. Their confrontation in the ring left neither man defeated, but each feeling deprived of victory. In the buildup to the rematch, Pascal unexpectedly and suddenly suggested Hopkins’ fistic longevity had to be the result of artificial enhancement, screaming at him repeatedly to “take the test.” At the weigh-in for Saturday’s rematch, in a crowded ballroom at the Sheraton hotel near the Bell Centre where the fight will take place, the apparent dislike escalated further, each man in the other’s face, exchanging insults, continuing to strain forward and hurl epithets even as handlers pulled them away.
The crowd, largely pro-Pascal, of course loved it.
Levity returned, along with Hopkins, about an hour later. The former champion, having surprisingly weighed in four ounces over the 175 lb limit, returned now and logged a couple of ounces under. Asked how he had shed the extra weight, he smiled his famous gap-toothed smile.
“I told you I was full of s**t,” he joked.
Atlantic City, NJ. Friday, Yuriorkis Gamboa weighed in at 126, while his opponent, Jorge Solis, tipped the scales at 125.5. On the undercard Mikey Garcia registered 125 and his opponent, Matt Remillard came in at 125.