LAS VEGAS — A few random thoughts from the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley press room …
* Funny moment last week involving Freddie Roach, courtesy of Pacquiao’s publicist, Fred Sternburg. Last week, Roach threw out the first pitch at Dodgers Stadium. In the dugout before the game, he met Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda. After throwing out the pitch, Sternburg handed Roach a ball he said was signed by Lasorda. Roach — a big Lasorda fan — took the ball home, placed it on his mantle and bragged about it to a few friends. Later that day Roach’s assistant, Marie Spivey, suggested Roach take a closer look at the ball. It was signed all right: by Fred Sternburg.
* The battle over former featherweight titleholder Yuri Gamboa–who defected from Top Rank in April, scuttling a high-profile showdown with Brandon Rios–is apparently over. Bob Arum says that Gamboa is back in the fold and will be at the Pacquiao-Bradley fight this weekend. If all goes well, Gamboa will be back in the ring in a small show. But the story is far from over. Arum says he plans to pursue legal action against anyone in Mayweather’s camp who interfered with Gamboa while he was under contact. “Nobody is going to f— with us,” Arum said. “If we let them do that, everyone would eat you alive.”
* Arum confirmed that former welterweight champion Antonio Margarito has retired. “He told me last week that his body is too beat up,” Arum said. “He was a fighter that never quit. He gave everything. He’s not the most talented guy in the world, but certainly the toughest.”
Arum defended his decision to stand behind Margarito after Margarito was busted for attempting to use illegal hand wraps before a 2009 fight with Shane Mosley.
“In the Mosley fight, if anyone is to blame it’s [Javier] Capatillo,” said Arum. “He had no opportunity to test out the wraps. That’s what I believe. I was never going to throw him under the bus. We spent millions on this man.”
* While Arum insists Pacquiao-Bradley doesn’t need to approach the 1.5 million pay per view buys Floyd Mayweather and Miguel Cotto did last month, he does have a number in mind: 1.2 million, which is right around what Pacquiao did in his previous fights against Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez. Arum is hoping Pacquiao’s newfound religious awakening will attract (wait for it) a large Christian audience that may have a newfound interest in the recommitted Pacquiao.
– Chris Mannix