Letter from Benny re: Saturday’s Pacquiao vs Bradley matchup

Wherever there are beautiful women, you can be sure Benny Ricardo, the ex-NFL kicker, TV and Radio personality/comedian/announcer/color commentator is close. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Who better to give us the inside scoop on Saturday’s Pacquiao vs Bradley match-up, than the gentleman who will be at ringside calling the action. That’s right we got another in a series of Letters from Benny, Benny Ricardo, the fun loving, ex-NFL kicker, stand-up comic, well known announcer, play by play and color commentator for Boxing, Football and Tennis.

“In regards to this weekend’s Manny Pacquiao versus Timothy Bradley match, I thought I should write and fill you in. I’ll be at Ringside announcing Saturday’s contest for Primetime, Sky’s premier channel in Europe. Cheers!

As you might expect I’ve been doing my homework to learn all there is to know about these two gentlemen.

Manny Pacquiao, the family man attends a concert in Manila with his wife and daughter. Photo: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images

Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, also known as Manny Pacquiao or Pambansang Kama which means National Fist in Tagalog is also known as Congressman Pacquiao from the district of Sarangani. Unbeatable in the boxing ring, he threw his hat in yet another ring and now the politicians can’t even beat him.

Matter of fact when the U. S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was in danger of losing his senate seat in Nevada, he called Pacquiao to his corner to deliver the knockout punch. Pacquiao rushed to assist the former Golden Gloves boxer, Reid, and secured the necessary Filipino votes to gain the victory.

Pacquiao has won his last 15 fights since losing to Erik Morales back in March of 2005. He has moved up in weight and broken the orbital bones of his opponents while launching 474 blows during that Antonio Margarito fight.

Did he lose to his counterpunching nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in the last fight? He did on my scorecard, 8-rounds to 4.

Bradley was born in the scorching hot desert in the city known as Cathedral City in Coachella Valley, CA.  The summers have regular temperatures of 108 degrees and the heat is dry, similar to the heat in Las Vegas. The heat makes you tougher than the skin on a gila monster, the ones that live nearby.


Not long ago, Timothy Bradley (L) would attend local boxing shows in San Diego. Here we see Bradley (L) at a show with dear friend Terry Norris, the former WBC and IBF Light Middleweight Champion of the World. Photo: Jim Wyatt

Boxing since the age of ten, Bradley learned his craft as an amateur and fought 140 times to become a two-time National Champion. He also fought for the United States in Germany, Tahiti and France.

Andre Berto beat Bradley twice, once in the 2003 National Golden Gloves tournament and then at the United States Amateur Championships. After losing to Vanes Martirosyan at the Olympic Trials in 2004, Bradley turned pro.

In Bradley’s corner, from the very beginning, has been his dad, Tim Bradley Sr. who now serves as his conditioning coach while former IBF title contender Joel Diaz is his trainer. This is a very tight group and they train at the Coachella Boys and Girls Club in the sweltering heat of Indio, California.

With his origins in the desert and as a tribute to the men and women who serve in the armed forces and train in the desert for their missions, Bradley adopted the name “Desert Storm.” Bradley told me “Desert Storm” describes his all out war style that he offers his fans and opponents each time he steps into the ring.


In this photo we see Manny Pacquiao (L) landing a left to the side of Juan Manuel Marquez's head in their third of three championship bouts. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The last man to beat Manny Pacquiao (L) was Erik Morales who is originally from Tijuana but now resides on this side of the border. On March 19, 2005, Morales won a 12 round unanimous decision over Pacquiao.

On November 13, 2010, Manny Pacquiao (R) was at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas going up against Antonio Margarito (L) who was born in Torrance, CA and now resides in Tijuana, B. C., Mexico. Photo: Nick Laham/Getty Images

When you talk about athleticism, you generally talk about an athlete’s speed and footwork. From the waist up it’s cosmetic, but from the waist down, that’s the franchise.  Both of these fighters have franchise legs, lightning like speed but Pacquiao packs power with his speed, Bradley doesn’t.

So how does Bradley end up with an undefeated record of 28-0 and being a two-time WBC and current WBO Light Welterweight Champion? The answer is Ring Generalship. Effective aggression.

I describe Ring Generalship as a boxer who causes his opponent to miss punches and be vulnerable. A boxer who throws effective counter jabs and stands his opponent off.  A boxer who sets the position in the ring and the pace of the action.

Timothy Bradley

Bradley is the ultimate example of a Ring General. He has to be. He was born with this feathery touch on his punches. He has only 12 knockouts with three coming in the first round, two in his first five fights. He has to use everything he has in the ring, foot speed to be elusive, and hand speed to double up on his jabs. He also brings with him tremendous physical conditioning that allows him to use ring generalship to the fullest. He has gone 12-rounds many times and by growing up in the desert, he knows the value of sweat and hard work.

Bradley is 28 while Juan Manuel Marquez is 38. I think at this point in their careers, Bradley is a better counter puncher than Marquez, yet look at the way Marquez neutralized Pacquiao’s backhand. Pacquiao’s backhand was never in the fight against Marquez.

Prior to Pacquiao’s last fight with Marquez, I told you “Defensive counter punchers like Marquez have always given Pacquiao problems.” At no time was that more evident than in his last fight with Marquez. For that one, Freddy Roach predicted a knockout within six rounds and I agreed with him. But Marquez countered each Pacquiao move better than an Anti Virus software when countering a computer virus.

Bradley is the consummate counter puncher who loves to fight inside and use his head – literally. Yes, the third punch – he physically uses his head just like Evander Holyfield did. If Bradley is allowed to fight Pacquiao inside, the head butt is as inevitable as a loser at the Black Jack table in Las Vegas.

I guarantee you, the head butt will be a counter move used by Bradley in this fight. He’s a master at using his head. It’s so quick, it’s very hard to avoid.

Go back to November 10, 2001. On that night, I was ringside for Pacquiao’s fight with Dominican fighter Agapito Sanchez. Sanchez is a tough 5’4” Super Bantamweight with only a 64 inch reach. This was Pacquiao’s second fight with Roach as his trainer. Sanchez had gone the distance with Marquez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Freddy Norwood. So he was a tough and proven ring warrior.

With referee Marty Denkin, a California Hall of Fame referee on duty for that fight, the fight was in good hands.  Sanchez went to work inside as Pacquiao had the reach and speed advantage on the outside. An accidental clash of heads in the second round opened up a cut over Pacquiao’s right eye. Sanchez made it a street fight and after repeated warnings Denkin deducted two points from Sanchez for low blows. In the sixth round, the ringside physician stopped the fight. It was ruled a technical decision draw.

When that fight was stopped, the scores were 56-56 by judge Marshall Walker, 57-55 by Raul Caiz Sr. for Sanchez and 58-54 by Rick Bays for Pacquiao. Keep in mind, had the two points not been deducted up to that point, Sanchez would be winning the fight on two scorecards and it would have been a draw on the third.

When hit in the face, Pacquiao will often leave behind any strategic plans laid out by Roach and start slugging away. How Pacquiao reacts when hit by Bradley’s head will be the intriguing part of this fight. Will he revert to the way he fought Sanchez?

Look at Mike Tyson’s past. He had always been a clean fighter, but completely lost his mind when referee Mills Lane allowed Evander Holyfield to batter him with his head and open up cuts over both eyes. Tyson lost it and resorted to street fighting or prison fighting. Whatever you want to call it. That’s when he bit off a piece of Holyfield’s ear. That’s how unnerving the continual head butts can be for a fighter, especially when they feel the referee in no longer protecting them.

Pacquiao has these incredible chiseled calves that seem like they could carry the weight of George Foreman on them. His blazing fast footwork is called “the Riverdance” and the diamond shaped calves power him through it. The calves are the reason he can carry the extra weight and not lose speed. He’s got the landing gear of an A-380 on a Gulfstream G500 body.


For Bradley this is the biggest fight on the biggest stage of his life. This is the reason he sweat rivers of perspiration in the blazing heat of the California desert. An upset guarantees him a rematch with Pacquiao and more millions to take back to his desert home.

Another of our local boxers, Chris "The San Diego Kid" Martin (R) along with his coach Sergio Melendrez (L) had an opportunity to meet the boxing legend at Top Rank headquarters in Los Angeles, Ca.

For Pacquiao, it’s about redeeming himself from a lackluster performance against Marquez. Leg cramps, rocky relationship with his wife Jinkee and the distraction of his cock fighting business were the excuses offered for his inability to stop Marquez as Roach predicted.

Once again, Roach has predicted a quick victory. Kendall Holt thought he had Bradley out, knocking him down in the opening round with a counter left hook. Bradley got up from the first knockdown of his career and kept fighting.  By the fourth round there was clash of heads that opened a cut above Holt’s right eye. Remember it was Pacquiao’s right eye that was cut after a clash of heads with Sanchez. Both fighters were warned for low blows and by the 12th and final round, Bradley was down again from Holt’s right uppercut. Still, it was not enough as Bradley won an unanimous decision over Holt.

Ring generalship did it for Bradley, punishing the body of Holt and constantly working harder through each round.  Holt waiting to counter, waited too long. Pacquiao is much faster than Holt, plus he’s a southpaw.

Another stimulus for Pacquiao is to put on a phenomenal show and take Bradley out early. The world would then be clamoring big time for that “fight of the century” to happen, Mayweather versus Pacquiao.

Leader of the pack: Manny Pacquiao (center right) and fellow boxers from the Wild Card Gym are photographed by Cris Farina of Top Rank as they make their run through Griffith Park in Los Angeles, Ca. Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank

On Manny Pacquiao's final day of training camp, local media was invited inside the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles to photograph the proceedings. Photo: Chris Farina/Top Rank


While Mike Tyson was watching Pacquiao train, he told Roach to slow him down. Training includes 1,400 plus rounds of sparring and hill runs, enough to cover the height of Mt. Everest. Pacquiao’s endurance, speed and lung capacity are legendary.

Alex Ariza, Pacquiao’s conditioning coach, seemed to have a difference of opinion with Roach and left the Pacquiao camp to work with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Roach thought Ariza should be fired, but they have since patched things up. At Roach’s request, Pacquiao did cut out the basketball games while training for this fight.

Timothy Bradley spars at a media workout at the Fortune Gym on May 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. Photo: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

For Bradley his training did not change with Diaz and his father supervising. He did leave the desert last week to come to Los Angeles to train. What’s difficult for Bradley, is to find someone to spar with who can duplicate the speed of Pacquiao. That’s the key to this fight, the early going and how Bradley adjusts to Pacquiao’s speed. Will it be even faster than he thought?

Remember Marquez’s three knockdowns in the opening round of their first fight. Those were flash knockdowns caused by the speed of Pacquiao’s hands. Marquez never sparred with anybody that had Pacquiao’s speed. As the fight progressed, he adjusted, found his rhythm and eventually became more effective against Pacquiao.

Roach asks his fighters for 10 days of no sex before a fight. Pacquiao normally doubles that and adds a day. Bradley is ornery to the bone during his fight preparations and so he will be more than ready.

My worry about Pacquiao’s legendary training is based upon the cramping he suffered in his last fight. Is he overtraining and leaving his best in training. Never in Pacquiao’s career will his conditioning be tested like it will in this fight.

Timothy Bradley at a recent workout.

Bradley is a naturally bigger man and he’ll be stronger than ever at 147. He may lack punching power but he has the physical strength to bully Pacquiao and make it a street fight. That’s something Margarito couldn’t do in lieu of the fact he was coming off suspension and had to fight spotlessly clean.

Up to now one of my reservations about Pacquiao’s astonishing accomplishment of moving up in weight is the catch weight that has always been specified for his fights. Roach came up with this idea and it has been a brilliant way to neutralize the bigger fighters. No fighter can refuse the catch weight anymore than they can refuse the millions they make to fight Pacquiao.

It started with Oscar De La Hoya. Despite fighting in the welterweight division of 147 pounds, the contract called for De La Hoya to weigh 145 pounds. De La Hoya’s loss in weight zapped his strength and he took a beating in the fight with Pacquiao.

Miguel Cotto had to weigh 145 pounds for his fight with Pacquiao, even though they were fighting for the WBO Welterweight title. Weighing 154 pounds for his fight against Mayweather, Cotto looked stronger and a lot fitter than at the lower weight for his fight with Pacquiao.

Joshua Clottey was the only fighter in his prime that fought Pacquiao at his natural welterweight limit. Clottey fought the whole fight with his gloves glued to the side of his face. Mosley also weighed in at the welterweight limit but brought his jogging shoes with him. Hatton weighed the light welterweight limit and Marquez weighed in at 142 pounds for his fight with Pacquiao.

So, with the training being even, Pacquiao usually gets my vote. The Ariza absence and when is too much too much in lieu of the cramps are both factors to consider.


Pacquiao                                                Bradley

Height: 5’6½”/169 cm                    5’6”/168 cm

Reach: 67”/170cm                            69”/175 cm

Age: 33                                                  Age: 28

Southpaw                                           Orthodox

KO% 64.41                                         KO% 41.38

As you can see, physically, Pacquiao and Bradley are very similar. But keep in mind Bradley is the bigger man and has had problems making the 140 pound weight limit. Before his last fight against Joel Casamayor, Bradley weighed 145 pounds with two percent body fat just two days before the fight.

Pacquiao weighed 143 pounds for his last fight with Marquez. Bradley expects to weigh no more than 145.


This is one for the ages as you are taking a relative unknown in Bradley and putting him up against arguably the biggest draw in boxing. Close to 95 million Filipino people will be hanging on every punch their Congressman launches or takes. He is that rare human being who relishes pressure while never letting it enter his mind or cloud his performance.

Pacquiao frequently proclaims, “I am a man of the people.” A man who left his home at the age of 14 after his dad ate the family dog. A devout catholic who has his gloves blessed by a priest and sprinkled with holy water before each fight. He prayed and prayed while living in the streets that his life would change and oh how that prayer was answered.

He was born with a photographic memory and when not training, he sleeps 3-4 hours a day, consumes 6 meals a day totaling 7,000 calories and drinks five protein shakes.  While sparring, he never stops between rounds. Only his sparring partners stop to catch their breath. He takes power naps throughout the day and knows what his body needs and can do.

His speed is so amazing, Margarito thought he was getting hit by three people, Manny, Moe and Jack. Speed is going to be the key early in the fight. The question is, will Bradley be ready for the speed?

On the third time around, I thought Marquez beat Pacquiao. What made it easier for Marquez was the point his trainer Nacho Berenstein made during training. He told me, “Pacquiao is a much more balanced fighter, more down the pipe and much better technically under Roach’s tutelage, but that will also be his demise. Before his punches came at such odd angles and with such speed there was no way of seeing the punches coming. This is what makes sparring sessions almost worthless for a Pacquiao opponent. How can you duplicate what a legendary fighter like this can do.”

Berenstein knew the rhythm and had Marquez dance the dance that needed to be danced with his feet and hands. Bradley needs to do the same and he’s younger than Marquez. From the opening bell I see Bradley going right after Pacquiao and turning it into a street fight.

About Pacquiao, Bradley said, “He’s one of the best in the world and has been for a long time. But he’s human. He has two hands and two feet, just like me.”

That’s true, but not totally true. Bradley has that third punch, the head. There’s no way around it. Throughout his fights, he has you thinking about it and when he delivers it, it’s a traumatic cutting blow.

Nate Campbell found out, when he got an “accidental” head butt in the opening seconds of the third round. Referee David Mendoza did not see the original head butt but did see the following one that really opened the cut above Campbell’s left eye. After the doctors examined Campbell’s gash, they advised Mendoza to stop the fight. It was later changed to a no contest.

The key for the referee is to permit the boxers to fight inside as long as any one man has both hands free. I’m sure Bradley will get a stiff warning from the ref prior to the fight about head butts. The ref has to be ready for the unexpected in this fight. Bradley is the hungriest fighter Pacquiao has faced in a long time.

The matchmaking formula for Pacquiao’s opponent has been to find someone with a name, some past their prime and others below their regular title weight. Not this time, Bradley will not be struggling to make weight. He will be stronger than ever and in his boxing prime.

I expect cuts in this fight and you can bet the corner people will have a good supply of Adrenaline 1/1000, Aventine and Thrombin for those cuts. On this night, the cut men will earn their money.

The punching power definitely favors Pacquiao but he hasn’t knocked a man out since he knocked Cotto down in the third and fourth round and finally got the ref to call for a stoppage in the 12th with Cotto on his feet but no longer fighting back. Hatton was the last man to be totally knocked out by Pacquiao and that was three years ago.

At ringside to cover Bradley’s last fight against Casamayor, I really never heard Bradley’s punches make that powerful jolting sound. He never had that pop you expect from a physical specimen. There’s definitely a feathery touch on his punches.

He stopped the 40-year old Casamayor in the eighth round when referee Vic Drakulich stepped in to stop the fight.  Casamayor failed his post fight drug test with marijuana in his system and was suspended for a year.

To date I think Bradley’s finest performance came against Lamont Peterson. After taking Peterson’s best body shots in the first four rounds, Bradley knocked Peterson down with an overhand right in the third and then outworked him the rest of the way. And yes, Peterson was the victim of a head butt but not until the 12th and final round. Both fighters were undefeated coming into the fight and both came in extremely confident they’d get the win.  Simply put, Bradley outworked him.

He will try to outwork Pacquiao, the same way Marquez did. The judges saw that bout as a split decision win for Pacquiao with judges Dave Moretti scoring it 115-113 for Pacquiao and Glenn Trowbridge had it 116-112 for Pacquiao while Robert Hoyle had it dead even 114-114.

I point out the scoring to let you know that Bradley is going to have be vastly superior to get a decision over Pacquiao in Las Vegas. The judges are Duane Ford, C. J. Ross and Jerry Roth.

Pacquiao is ripe for an upset and Bradley just might be the man. But I worry about his lack of punching power to deliver the big KO win. With Pacquiao you have to ask if at 33 and with 59 professional fights is he losing a step?  Marquez totally neutralized his speed and back hand.  Bradley is quicker than Marquez but not as precise a puncher.

This is going to be a great fight. But in my mind, Bradley’s going to have to knock Pacquiao out, because I can’t see him getting the decision. I’d also worry about those cramps that affected Pacquiao in his last fight. Did he leave his best in training?

At the end of this long diatribe, my prediction means little. Plus I’m not one to give predictions. I love the sport of boxing and especially love weighing all these factors that lead to victory. I hope I have done so.

Strong, fit, in his prime and at weight is Bradley. Pacquiao is also strong, fit, in his prime and at weight. The stakes for Bradley are higher than they have ever been, but he’s also hungrier and more desperate for a win than any man Pacquiao has faced since his wars at feather and super featherweight.

You will enjoy this fight immensely and it will not disappoint you. The key will be how quickly Bradley adjusts to Pacquiao’s speed. Bruce Trampler is the matchmaker for Top Rank and I think he’s the best in the world. I just can’t see Bruce risking Pacquiao against a fighter that he feels Pacquiao can’t beat.

So I have to go with Pacquiao in this one by a decision. But if the fight turns into an ugly street brawl, then I’m going with Bradley remembering how Pacquiao reacted to Agapito Sanchez’s tactics. Bradley is bigger and better than Sanchez ever was.

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