This is supposed to be Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley’s time to shine in Las Vegas as they are set to meet in a major welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand on Saturday night.
But all around the MGM Grand looms the overwhelming presence of Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
And Mayweather isn’t fighting there until he meets Marcos Maidana on May 3.
Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank, the promoter for Pacquiao and Bradley ripped into Mayweather and the MGM Grand. Arum went on a verbal rant at the close of the press conference while standing at the podium with Richard Sturm, President of the MGM Grand, sitting to his left.
"I'm not going to say it,’’ Arum said, hesitating while considering whether to launch forth with the rant. “Oh the hell with it. I know the Venetian would never make a mistake like this. They knew what fight was scheduled in three or four days and they wouldn't have a 12-1 fight (Mayweather-Maidana) all over the building that's going to take place in three weeks from next Saturday. That's why one company (the Venetian) makes a billion dollars a quarter and the other (MGM Grand) hustles to pay its debt. There it is, say it like it is."
Before he launched into the tirade, Arum tried to get Bradley to take a swipe at Mayweather and the MGM Grand.
"Why don't you ask the guy who's picture is all over the building on when he's going to fight somebody real,’’ Arum said to Bradley as he was walking away from the podium after addressing the assembled media.
"I'll let you ask him that," Bradley said with a chuckle.
Arum has an ongoing feud with Mayweather and Richard Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Mayweather’s shows. It seems that walking around the MGM Grand and seeing images of Mayweather in promotional material for his upcoming fight struck a major nerve with Arum.
Bradley seems to have brushed aside the fact that Mayweather never mentions his name when he talks about future opponents.
“It doesn’t affect me at all. We’re on two different courses,’’ Bradley said. “I’m going one direction and he’s going another direction. Mayweather has said over and over that he’s his own boss. If Mayweather wants to fight me he’ll come and fight me. That’s the way I look at it. The fact that my name is not in the mix with Mayweather, it doesn’t surprise me at all, because I’m one tough, tough dude. I think he knows that I’m tough. That’s my opinion.’’
Joel Diaz, Bradley’s trainer, said Bradley has certainly worked his way to the level that he should be on Mayweather’s radar. He believes he’s earned the right to be in the mix.
“He’s always worked his way up with his fist to get through the rankings to get to where he is today,’’ Diaz said. “It bothers us that Mayweather is out there and he’s the best welterweight out there and Bradley has worked his way up to that level and they never mention him. At the same time these promoters have their issues and it affects the fighters.’’
Bradley knows there is one way for him to force Mayweather to start talking about him.
“I win this fight and everybody will be screaming for a Mayweather-Tim Bradley fight,’’ he said. “Like I said I’m here, but we’re on different paths. If Mayweather wants to join my path, he can. He’s his own boss. If he doesn’t, he can do what he does and I’ll do what I do. I have my own legacy to worry about.’’