SACRAMENTO, California—Timothy Bradley broke training camp without fanfare, but not before a surprise visit by boxing’s money man himself, Floyd Mayweather Jr. A source with connections to Bradley’s inner circle told the Inquirer that Money Mayweather dropped by the Fortune Gym in Hollywood last week and spoke in private with Bradley and his trainer Joel Diaz. Mayweather, with his close-knit coterie known as the “Money Team” in tow, did a great job dodging the paparazzi busy trailing celebrities on a beeline to see Manny Pacquiao train at the nearby Wild Card Gym, the source said. The unscheduled courtesy call occurred a day or two before Bradley’s media workout last Thursday, part of the hype for his rematch with eight-division world champion Pacquiao at MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday (Sunday in Manila). According to the source, his contacts in the Bradley camp would not say what was discussed in private between the two fighters. He said that in all possibility, Mayweather came by when no one was looking just to give Bradley a pep talk and an added push to beat the fighting Filipino congressman. The unbeaten Mayweather (45-0, with 26 knockouts), who has resisted fighting Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) in what could be boxing’s fight for the ages, is known to hand-pick his opponents. But it was unlikely that Money gave Bradley a deal to fight him since the Palm Springs-area fighter was reportedly given an option to face Pacquiao on April 12, only if he signed a contract extension with Top Rank. In theory, Bradley, the recipient of a controversial decision over Pacquiao two years ago, would make himself a highly attractive opponent to Mayweather, if he beats the Filipino ring icon again. Bradley is ranked second to Money by Ring Magazine among the world’s welterweights.
Pacquiao broke camp yesterday and, after a final workout with trainer Freddie Roach, immediately headed to Vegas leading a 30-vehicle Team Pacquiao convoy. Those traveling with the Sarangani congressman included family members, visitors and news people from Manila, his training staff and his Los Angeles entourage of friends and hangers-on. Before motoring to the Nevada resort city, Roach, who holds no punches in saying that Bradley will go down in flames, admitted to the London Telegraph that the fight Saturday night is a “must-win situation.” “If we don’t win the fight, we have to consider retirement,” Roach said. “We are in a must-win situation, it’s as simple as that. Some people think we are all done and we have to prove that we are not.” * * * The Media Center at MGM Grand’s Studio A and B officially opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The final press conference before the fight will be held at noon of the same day following a media lunch. The official weigh-in at MGM Grand Arena is at 2:30 p.m., on Friday, according to a calendar of events furnished by Magna Media to reporters covering the fight. More from Vegas next time.