Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says he believes that Saturday's fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley is an even matchup, and that if the same Manny Pacquiao from November shows up, Bradley will beat him.
Here's what Arum told Chris Robinson in an interview yesterday:
"I think it’s an even fight. If Manny performs the same way that he did in the Marquez fight, Bradley will beat him. ... We wanted to get, for Manny’s fight, a young fighter who had a great record, who could give Manny a real fight. That is always what we try to do, is try to get a competitive fight. Because if the fight is not perceived as competitive, you can’t sell."
Some are expressing the belief that Arum is just selling as usual when he paints Bradley as a competitive opponent, but I'll put myself out there and say I think he's right, even if he doesn't believe he's telling the truth. (I have no idea how Bob really sees the fight. Only Bob knows that.)
But I do call some B.S. on the latter part. The fight they wanted for Pacquiao was Miguel Cotto, but Cotto wouldn't come down to 147 again, so he signed to fight Mayweather instead. That's a fact. They were not purposely looking to sign Bradley up for this fight until their first choice left them high and dry.
Arum also says that at 147, he felt Bradley was the best option. I guess so -- 147 isn't as deep as the TV networks make out, and Juan Manuel Marquez probably would have wanted the 144 catchweight again. So that's not 147. Cotto wouldn't fight at 147. In that regard, yes, I do agree Tim Bradley was the best choice.
And I don't say any of this to dump on the fight or the choice. Like I said, this is a fight Top Rank wasn't dying to make, but more something they had to make. They had no other welterweights to offer Manny. Bradley was signed last year to eventually fight Pacquiao, but I don't think they were looking to do it this soon. It's here, though. And I do think it's a risky fight, against a damn good fighter.
Whether he's selling or not, Bob has made a fight with some intrigue.