Weights: Pacquiao 145.5, Bradley 146.5
By Jim Dower: Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) made weight on Friday for his third fight against Tim Bradley (33-1-1, 13 KOs) for this Saturday night on HBO pay-per-view from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum and trainer Freddie Roach have been talking up a fight between Pacquiao and WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for the past two weeks. They’ve been talking more about Canelo vs. Pacquiao than the Bradley fight. It gives one the impression that Canelo’s name has been used to help attract interest/pay-per-view buys for the Pacquiao-Bradley 3 fight. It’s proven that if boxing fans think a much bigger fight is just over the horizon, they’ll be more interested in paying to see a less than appealing fight like this Saturday’s contest because Pacquiao and Bradley.
Pacquiao weighed in at 145.5 pounds, and looked in great shape if not small for the welterweight division. Bradley, who previously fought at light welterweight, weighed in just a little heavier than Pacquiao at 146.5lbs.
The attendance for the weigh-in was perhaps the lowest that I can remember ever seeing for a Pacquiao fight. If this wasn’t a sign that his promoter Bob Arum made a mistake in putting this third fight together then I don’t know what is. It looks like the 84-year-old Arum made a huge mistake in having Pacquiao and Bradley fight for a third time because the interest in the fight is nonexistent.
“I think there will be a lot of disappointed fans tomorrow night,” Bradley said after the weigh-in. He obviously meant disappointed fans of Pacquiao.
The pay-per-view buys the fight generates could wind up low in comparison to the two fighters’ previous two fights together in 2012 and 2014. Arum could have matched Pacquiao against Amir Khan, Terence Crawford or Adrien Broner. Instead, Arum went with Bradley, who he also promotes in his Top Rank company.
The 32-year-old Bradley has a good chance to finally beat Pacquiao without controversy if he fights smart, stays on the move for the full 12 rounds, and doesn’t do anything stupid. Pacquiao still has the better hand speed and punching power. Bradley shouldn’t get things twisted and think he can punch with Pacquiao just because the Filipino fighter is coming off of a one-sided loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and a shoulder injury. Bradley isn’t in the same class as Mayweather and he never will be. Bradley is just a blue collar fighter that grinds out his wins with workmanlike effort rather than on skills or punching power. Pacquiao still has the better skills at 37. What he doesn’t have is the foot speed to catch-up to Bradley if he chooses to use movement all night like he did in the first fight in 2012. Pacquiao is fast on his feet in attacking his opponents, but he’s very poor in cutting off the ring to catch up against mobile fighters. We saw that last May when Pacquiao was unable to cut off the ring against Mayweather.
Pacquiao is saying he’s going to retire after this Saturday’s fight against Bradley, but it remains to be seen if that’ll be the case. Arum and Roach are both have been vocal about wanting Pacquiao to continue his boxing career. Arum would like for Pacquiao to stick around long enough for him to fight Canelo and Terence Crawford. Those two fights would be a huge injection of adrenaline and money into Arum’s Top Rank organization. It would also give Arum more time to build up his younger fighters to make them bigger names before Pacquiao walks away from the sport. Once Pacquiao is gone, Arum is going to take a major hit because his number one money stream will be gone. Pacquiao has been generating huge money for Arum and his Top Ranks table for a number of years. With Pacquiao gone, Arum will be left with guys like Terence Crawford, Gilberto Ramirez, Jessie Vargas, Jesse Hart, Oscar Valdez, and Jose Carlos Ramirez. Those are not pay-per-view fighters, and likely never will be. Crawford’s next fight will be on HBO PPV in the summer, but that’s only due to HBO moving to more PPV fights this year. That doesn’t mean that Crawford is a PPV attraction.
In weights for the co-feature bout, WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham (44-4, 29 KOs) weighed in at 168 pounds for his title defense against #1 WBO Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (33-0, 24 KOs). For his part, Ramirez also weighed in at 168. However, he looked very weight drained, and you have to wonder if he’s going to be weakened tomorrow night.
Ramirez is someone that will likely need to move up to light heavyweight in the near future because he doesn’t look like he should still be fighting in the 168lb division. However, Ramirez will likely try and stay at super middleweight for as long as he can , even if it means he has to drain himself to stay at this weight.
If Ramirez moves up to light heavyweight, he would have to deal with punchers like Adonis Stevenson, Sergey Kovalev, Artur Beterbiev and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. These are polished fighters with incredible punching power. Ramirez is more like just a big super middleweight who gets over on size rather than on talent or power. Ramirez is a decent fighter, but he’s not the great talent that his promoter Arum portrays him to be. Ramirez is more of just a big super middleweight who is getting over by being bigger than his opponents. Ramirez is just a super middleweight division version of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, but without Canelo’s power or talent. Ramirez is mainly just a tall fighter that can put on a lot of weight after he rehydrates. He comes into the ring looking like a light heavyweight against his generally shorter opponents. The 6’2″ Ramirez will have a big height and reach advantage over the 5’9″ Abraham on Saturday night. Abraham is very good at closing the distance against his taller opponents. Ramirez will need to be able to unload on Abraham with big shots to keep him from walking him down and knocking him out with a head-snapping shot.
Other weights on the card:
Oscar Valdez 125.5 vs. Evgeny Gradovich 126
Jose Carlos Ramirez 138 vs. Manuel Perez 137.5