WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel announced this during the final press conference on the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley welterweight championship fight held Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) at the Hollywood theater of the posh MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Valcarcel gifted Pacquiao an imposing WBO diamond ring, in appreciation of the Pambansang Kamao’s 10-year heroics, in a ceremony during a program with members of Team Pacquiao and Team Bradley, media men and supporters of both camps.
“This diamond ring is being given in recognition of Manny Pacquiao as the WBO’s Best Pound-for-Pound Fighter of the Decade,” Valcarcel said during the award rite.
WBO’s recognition came on the heels of the “Fighter of the Decade” honor handed to him by the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA); three “Fighter of the Year” accolades, also by the BWAA; and a couple of ESPY Awards.
Meanwhile, both camps – Pacquiao and chief trainer Freddie Roach, and Bradley and chief trainer Joel Diaz – expressed confidence of victory over the June 9 (June 10 in Manila) fight.
Bradley, the reigning unified junior-lightweight champion who is challenging Pacquiao for his 147-pound crown, spoke first, drawing laughter when he said, “I’m ready because I went through a hell of a training camp.”
Pacquiao, who up to Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) had been installed a 5-1 favorite (minus 480 to Bradley’s plus 360) in Las Vegas’ bookmakers odds, fired back, saying he, too, has prepared hard describing his cap as “heaven.”
The cocky challenger, showing confidence of a win, showed all the attendees a poster announcing the Pacquiao-Bradley II and a sample of a ringside ticket complete with the date of the fight and the price pegged at US$ 1,200.
He then looked at Pacquiao sitting at his right, shook the Filipino’s hand and said, “I’m ready, I’m ready.”
On his turn to speak, Pacquiao, 33, meekly said he understood Bradley’s feeling – that he knew his challenger is younger and that he is also intent to keep his title as he trained like he is 26 years old.
At the backstage, though, during the post-press conference interviews, Pacquiao said he’s refuting Bradley’s gimmickry “in Jesus name.”
Roach, for his part, laughed off Bradley’s rematch gimmick, saying, “Well, we thank him for giving us a rematch, but what I’m afraid of is that it won’t happen. We’ll make sure of that.”
“As I have been saying, we had a good camp, Manny prepared without distraction whatsoever. We’ve studied Bradley’s fights and realized his strength and his flaws. His problem is how to connect against a fast opponent like Manny,” he said.
“We studied all his moves, including his tendency to use his heads and we have found a solution to that,” Roach said. “I think Manny’ll knock him out,” he added.