(Timothy Bradley, holding a giant fake ticket, expects to beat Manny Pacquiao, seated to his right, and for Pacquiao to exercise his rematch clause -- and has been taunting Pacquiao with the prospect.)
Don't follow boxing very often, but you want to know the gist of Saturday's mega-fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley? Follow boxing all the time, and want one place that rounds up all the links about the junior middleweight showdown you could ever want? This Ultimate Guide to the June 9 pay-per-view bout is for you, no matter what kind you are.
We begin, per usual, with our own team's coverage. I looked at what was at stake with Pacquiao-Bradley. Then I helped you get to know Bradley, a bit of an unknown to the broader audience of non-hardcore fans. Our Alex McClintock previewed the undercard. next came the nitty-gritty of the match-up itself: the keys to the fight, part I (the physical side of the match-up) and II (the more mental side of the match-up). Scott Kraus' satirical Rabbit Punch column took on the fight, followed by my final preview and prediction. Then, all eight members of the TQBR staff sat at a cyber roundtable and discussed the fight and its ramifications, as compiled by Kraus.
Nothing gets me hyped for a fight like seeing the fighters in action, though. HBO doesn't provide its usual "greatest hits" package for Bradley, as it does for Pacquiao. Bradley gets a semi-highlights clip, with some commentary from Bradley et al. Both videos are below. For both fighters' complete records, check BoxRec. To get to know both fighters' personalities, I recommend HBO's 24/7 program -- hardcore fans find it a bit tedious and repetitive, but if you're not familiar with either guy, it does a good job of framing their back stories and character. The first episode is here and the final episode airs tonight, with the rest available on HBO GO and during a re-airing all day Saturday on HBO Zone.
Does any of this make you want to watch the fight? If so, here are more details: The card's start time is 9 p.m. ET, but the main event will never, ever go on before 11 p.m., and usually after midnight. Top Rank's Bob Arum has declared that the card won't go on until the Miami Heat-Boston Celtics Game 7 ends, whatever time that may be. Tickets are reportedly still available on the secondary market, so if you have a last minute itch to fly to Vegas to see it, scout around and see what you can get. At home, your cable or satellite provider is selling it for $54.95 or $64.95 for high-def. Top Rank is streaming the fight for the same price on its website. The price isn't as steep as Floyd Mayweather's fights, plus the Tecate rebate is an option for this one, up to $40 worth.
(Extra credit: Given Bradley's low profile, what kind of business do you think this show will do on PPV? My guess is between 800-900,000. I don't see it breaking a million, and I definitely don't see it dropping below 700,000. That's a wide range but if I had to guess one number, I'd say 850,000. Leave your guesstimate in the comments section.)
Let's say you want to watch the weigh-in today at approximately 6 p.m. ET to either A. get further hyped, B. see which D-list celebrities show up and say embarrassing things, or C. get a look at how Bradley is adjusting his body to the welterweight division, one weight class higher than where he's spent the bulk of his career. You can wach this spectacle on HBO. You can catch it on ESPN's website, at least, where the pagaentry begins at 5:40 and maybe one of its networks -- sometimes ESPNews sometimes carries it live. Top Rank's website is carrying even more pagaentry, apparently, starting at early at 5:15 by one schedule. There are probably a half-dozen other places you can check out the weigh-in, too.
Sometimes the big mainstream media offers helpful perspective on the biggest of the big fights, and most of them now cover boxing more regularly rather than covering it in spurts, except for The Washington Post, which just can't bring itself to run more than wire copy about even the biggest of the big. Sadly, The New York Times' Greg Bishop didn't parachute in for this one, at least not yet -- the last thing the Times wrote about Manny was about the flap related to his comments on gay marriage. The Wall Street Journal's Gordon Marino looked at the fight from the perspective of Pacquiao as a fighter potentially on the slide, complete with some noteworthy CompuBox statistics. USA Today's Bob Velin took the angle from Bradley's viewpoint of the fight, as did The Los Angeles Times' Lance Pugmire; both assess the chances of Bradley to knock out Pacquiao, who's something like a 4-1 or 5-1 favorite against the underdog Bradley, depending on whose betting odds you accept. Tim Smith of the New York Daily News hinges his piece on Bradley already expecting Pacquiao to exercise his rematch clause post-loss. Yahoo's Kevin Iole has offered up his usual array of features that contain news-making details in them. ESPN's Fight Credential is a nice resource before big bouts.
We conclude with some light-headed material. I mean heavy-headed. What am I saying? I mean light-hearted. Timothy Bradley has taken some heat for his head butt tactics, and he's responded by saying it's not on purpose, and he doesn't practice it or anything. But in this video, which is TOTALLY NOT AN OPTICAL ILLUSION, we see Bradley practicing his head butt combos. They are devastating.