External circumstances, and not quality of opponent, were the main reason Manny Pacquiao cited for his less-than-dominant performance against Juan Manuel Marquez in November.
In a recent conference call to hype his world welterweight title defense against Timothy Bradley on Saturday night, Pacquiao claimed that personal problems affected his preparation for the fight in which he won by a narrow majority decision.
“The fight was not that hard for me but I was having some family problems,” Pacquiao said. “I was in 100 percent physical condition for that fight against Marquez but I did have some family issue that I had to deal with. I also underestimated him.”
That underestimation seems puzzling considering Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) had two previous wars against Marquez in 2004 and 2008 — one ending in a draw and the second in a close split decision Pacquiao win.
Whether Marquez is on the rear — or front — view of Pacquiao’s future fight plans, the Philippines native has an opportunity to overcome the performance of the third bout with his Mexican rival when he makes the second defense of his World Boxing Organization belt against Bradley.
“Bradley is a different type of fighter and we don’t take this fight lightly,” Pacquiao said. “We have trained hard for Bradley because he is the type of fighter we cannot underestimate.
“I don’t know what Tim Bradley will bring in the ring on that night, but we will be ready for whatever he brings.”
Now that he has crossed into the pay-per-view threshold, Bradley will have a platform to prove his fights also should remain marquee-type events similar to Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. — the sport’s top two pay-per-view attractions.
A former junior-welterweight champion, Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) made his pay-per-view debut when he defeated Miami resident Joel Casamayor on the Pacquiao-Marquez III undercard.
“I’m putting it all on the line so you are going to see a great fight,” Bradley said in a separate conference call. “If you miss this fight, you are going to miss some greatness.
“This is the beginning of a new career. This is like my first fight all over again.”
Saturday’s Pacquiao-Bradley undercard and pay-per-view telecast will have an obvious local presence. In addition to the vacant International Boxing Federation welterweight title fight between Miami’s Randall Bailey and Mike Jones, Miami resident Guillermo Rigondeaux will make the second defense of his World Boxing Association super-bantamweight belt against Teon Kennedy.
Also scheduled to fight on Saturday’s card but not the pay-per-view telecast is Miami resident Damian Frias. Frias will face Wale Omotoso in a welterweight bout.
Service for Tapia
A memorial service for former world junior-bantamweight and bantamweight champion Johnny Tapia was held Sunday night in Tapia’s native New Mexico. Tapia died May 27. He was 45.
Although Tapia fought most of his 66-career bouts in the Southwestern United States, he made one ring appearance in South Florida. Tapia won a convincing decision over Andy Agosto and retained his world bantamweight title Dec. 13, 1997, at the Amphitheater in Pompano Beach.
• Late Saturday, Brazil’s Acelino Freitas made triumphant return from a five-year absence with a ninth-round technical knockout victory over Miami resident Michael Oliveira in Uruguay. A former junior-lightweight and lightweight world champion, Freitas (39-2, 33 KOs) dropped Oliveira twice in the ninth.
A spent Oliveira (17-1) had minimal response to Freitas’ second knockdown, forcing referee Hector Ofu to stop the junior-middleweight bout at 1:58 of the round.
Tampa resident Antonio Tarver (29-6-1) and Lateef Kayode (18-1-1) fought to a draw in their cruiserweight bout late Saturday in Carson, Calif. On the same card, middleweight Peter Quillin (27-0) won a convincing unanimous decision over St. Petersburg resident and former junior-middleweight world champion Ronald “Winky” Wright (51-6-1).