Manny Pacquiao knows that the whole world will be watching on Saturday, June 9 when he squares off against Timothy Bradley. If ever there was a time when he could send a message to his fans and critics alike, three days from now will be it.
But what message, specifically, is he going to try and send?
Pacquiao is coming into this showdown with something to prove. His last showing, a majority decision victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, drew a lot of criticism from spectators because of how shockingly mortal he looked. While everyone was careful to acknowledge that Dinamita has always given Pacquiao fits, something about the Filipino champion’s unenthusiastic performance really rubbed folks the wrong way. It made them question not only his status as the world’s top pound-for-pounder from that point going forward, but also if he ever really deserved the label in the first place.
Fortunately for Manny, a few months after that shaky November showing against Marquez, Floyd Mayweather Jr. came out and laid an egg versus Miguel Cotto. Yes, he ultimately won, but much like his Filipino arch rival, he didn’t look great in victory. Mayweather vs. Cotto sort of reminded folks that even the world’s best don’t look great every single time they step into the ring.
Still, it’s undeniable that Pacquiao must reaffirm his dominance this Saturday. He needs to completely and thoroughly punish Bradley, and he needs to prove that last November’s weak performance was just the byproduct of marital problems (allegedly) and incompatible styles.
Beating down Bradley will be goal No. 1.
Goal No. 2, however, has nothing to do with what happens in the ring. In fact, it’s completely and totally beyond Pacquiao’s control. The second thing that the Filipino champion wants to accomplish is dependent solely on how well his promotions and marketing team is operating.
For his May 5 showdown versus Cotto, Mayweather pulled in 1.5 million pay-per-view (PPV) buys and $94 million in PPV revenue. Given that Pacquiao is in a perpetual state of competition with undefeated arch rival, you can bet your last dollar that he has those numbers engraved in his brain.
Manny doesn’t just want to beat Bradley – he wants to do it front of more than 1.5 million people.
Will he accomplish one or both of his goals? We’re just a few days away from finding out.