That was the old Nike slogan used in ads featuring Manny Pacquiao when he was at the height of his powers in circa 2009. Pac was equal parts superhero (literally, in the absolutely brutal “Wapakman” film) and global icon, butchering foes with uncommon speed, power and epic bravery. As he closed sparring and prepared to depart for Las Vegas to complete his trilogy with an iron-willed Timothy Bradley, the game’s only eight division world champion assembled his team (trainer Freddie Roach, assistant coach Buboy Fernandez, strength coach Justin Fortune and assistant Marvin Somodia) for prayer.
He wasn’t asking the Lord for grace– he was blissfully summoning rage.
This Saturday night at the MGM Grand in a Las Vegas that really has the feel of the empty desert that it is, “Pac-Man” and the “Desert Storm” are going to raise hell and the hairs on your neck, though the promotion or buzz surrounding this event doesn’t really give you that indication. Both men are seeking some sort of redemption, and in Pacquiao’s case, he might want to juxtaposition that with vindication.
As he left a trendy eatery in Los Angeles on Monday (which followed a spirited training session) Pacquiao was apparently approached by a gay man who took Pac’s “worse than animals” diss a little too personally, raining F-bombs all over the place and hurling more than obscenities in the air as he tried to maul the Filipino superstar. Real Combat Media was on the scene to document the nonsense. As aides were able to restrain the overzealous lout, Pacquiao encouraged his team not to harm the man more than he already was. Somodia, Pac’s longtime assistant, had been worried that this attitude would carry over into the ring on Saturday night. But as Pacquiao closed sparring Tuesday in dominant fashion, Somodia was more than confident that Bradley won’t hear the final bell.
“He’s in perfect condition for this fight. Perfect. You’ll see the Manny Pacquiao that thrilled so many people around the world,” stated Somodia with confidence.
Timothy Bradley and Teddy Atlas aren’t buying it, as the new duo is poised to take down a legend in grand style. Atlas, an ESPN analyst and color commentator, has a loathing for Freddie Roach, and has always relished the opportunity to go after Pacquiao. In studying how he’s prepared Bradley for this fight, it seems as if he’s attempted to incorporate elements of Floyd Mayweather and Juan Manuel Marquez into Bradley’s game, as the five division world champion has engaged in a lot of phone booth wars during camp– with emphasis on grappling and a blistering counter right hand.
*** *** ***
Pacquiao vs. Bradley______________
Where: Saturday, April 9 on HBO PPV
When: MGM Grand, Las Vegas______
*** *** ***
“We know who this guy is. He’s a legend and he’s everything he’s always been,” said Atlas, before going wildly philosophical. “He’ll be better than he was for Mayweather and better than the guy Tim last saw. I know that. But again, he’s sort of like a 37 year-old ferris wheel. From a distance if you get caught up in his magic, you’ll forget that he’s still just a ride you can control.” Roach, for his part, might see Bradley as somewhat of a bumper car in the Atlas amusement park, feeling Tim has a lot of wear and tear in his 32 year-old frame.
“The thing is with Bradley I’ve seen him up close a few times now and I know what he’s all about,” sprayed Roach. “Manny wore him out last time and we’re gonna wear his ass out again. Manny’s on fire, and I think my guy is prime to stop him. He’s got Bradley believing he’s Superman after beating a terrible Rios. Manny’s got kryptonite in his right hand. Watch.”
We will Freddie.
This fight has all the makings of a classic once all the political and historic ramifications are taken into consideration. This is all about legacy; as both are very prideful men with a lot to prove. If you were a fan of the 90’s videogame “Mortal Kombat,” then as a fight fan, you’ll love this fight. Atlas trained fighters always stand their ground, which is what has made the pairing of Pacquiao and Roach famous. This will basically be like a battle between military badass “Jax” (Bradley) and the sleek oriental killer “Kung Lao.” At some point late in this fight, Roach will be heard from ringside telling his ward to… “Finish him.”