Friday, March 11, 2016

Pacquiao-Bradley: Fasten Your Seat Belts

With under a month to visit the Manny Pacquiao -Tim Bradley boxing saga, it is possible to almost hear Paul Revere, riding down Santa Monica Boulevard toward the Wild Card Boxing Club.

“Manny is originating! Manny is arriving!”

This ride has to be bit more complicated for old Paul, not only because he is a couple of hundred years old now, but as he will have to carry over a lantern.

He need a couple of large sacks.

In one, you will see fliers using the usual fight promotion stuff:

“April 9, Las Vegas! The Rubber Match! Don’t Miss It! Will Tim Pack the Big Punch??? Or Will Manny Brand Bradley???”

Then, you will have the other sack filled with printed material:

“Boycott Manny! Make Pacquiao Pack His Bags! Nike Was Right! Gays and Lesbians Have Power Punches, Too!”

While Bradley trains inside Palm Springs desert, mostly from the madding crowd, Pacquiao is going to stroll strait into the middle of one. He arrives on the Philippines and starts learning Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym Monday. For past fights, those arrivals always brought some buzz and also a crowd. That’s because Pacquiao was being among the most popular and generous-with-his-time athletes on the globe.

But my, how products have changed.

Pacquiao might expect a media rush like few athletes have experienced before. That might be identified more by tone than numbers. He has yet to handle, personally, the songs in the United States for his statement on a monthly basis or so ago, the now infamous three-word utterance that gays and lesbians sex with like-gender people made them “worse than animals.”

There can be more TV trucks beyond the Wild Card than circled the blocks of downtown Los Angeles for that O.J. trial. Sound bites are going to be like gold. Pacquiao’s existence round the gym can make it feel less just like a boxing center and more as being a daily perp walk. His promoter, Top Rank’s Bob Arum, ought to spend more money on security compared to rent to the April 9 fight’s MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Editors will need their reporters to obtain the story. Same with broadcast news directors. TMZ’s Harvey Levin may acquire permanent goosebumps. Pacquiao could need something being a Pope Mobile in order to get lunch.

It doesn’t seem like one, big, attempt-to-tell-all news conference will suffice, although clearing air in one shot does usually clean out the parking a lot of TV trucks and nerdy looking people who have notepads. It could even backfire, if Pacquiao’s tries to explain himself keep end up a lot more pouring gasoline using a fire.

He says he is sorry for offending people—the classic non-denial denial—and has even attemptedto back his statement by reading from scripture that requires gay and lesbians that are incredible their misdeed. That didn’t douse the flames. It fanned them.

The Pacquiao camp might plan to play the no-distraction game and severely limit access. But that’s not normally how boxing, nor Arum, work. Arum, who was simply appalled by Pacquiao’s statement and said so publicly, hasn't ever seen negative things as anti-promotional. He has created a variety of them himself throughout the years. Just because.

So which way will this go? How much pressure can the media awaken, and the way much will Arum even take into consideration that, especially from lots of those broadcast outlets that seldom even mention major fight results on their own all-inclusive and deeply analytic 1-minute 43-second sports shows around the evening news? Arum may blow them off, just like they have him with the exceptional fights for many these years. Or, he might see them as gullible suckers that will take any type of bland 15-second blurb and go to the studio along with it.

In different ways, the struggle itself now seems being a distraction on the story of Congressman Pacquiao’s politics and the way his statement will affect his chances inside the May 9 Philippine Senatorial election. Let’s check election polls, and run stories about how precisely, just maybe, Pacquiao’s statement inside heavily Catholic and devout religious country on the Philippines could have struck the perfect cord, instead of a negative one, and this will get him elected.

Oh, yes. And there has to be fight April 9. Have we even contemplated his left hook?

It’s an incredible puzzle. What will happen when Manny arrives? How tough, or wimpy, will the typical media be within this story? Will there be much more of his sponsors turning their back on him, ala Nike? And will Levin’s checkbook be fat enough to acquire yet another story for TMZ? Will there be a story concerning the story-gatherers for that Columbia Journalism Review?

In boxing, stuff that are often whacky and weird and stupid and distasteful and unthinkable and mind-boggling are simply just business as usual. But an eight-division world champion, fighting his last fight and immediately going for an election campaign that can not only cause him to a senator but grease the skids for him because the country’s president, calling out a section on the world’s population as “worse than animals?”

That’s virgin territory, even for boxing.

In the meantime, within the watchful eye of an master tactician, Teddy Atlas, Bradley trains inside quiet with the desert and smiles a good deal.

* * *

Bill Dwyre is going to be writing some weekly columns for the Pacquiao vs. Bradley world championship event. Bill was sports editor of The Los Angeles Times for twenty five years, ending in 2006. He would have been a sports columnist for 9 1/2 years at The Times, ending Nov. 25 along with his retirement. Boxing was among his most usual column topics. Bill may be contacted at or via Twitter at @BillDwyre.

Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with MP Promotions, the Pacquiao vs. Bradley world championship event can take place on Saturday, April 9, for the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is going to be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT.