I'll Put This Picture On My Facebook Page My New Friend!
But the signs are already there that these two guys are getting on like a house on fire and the atmosphere is far too friendly and familiar.
After the trouble last weekend between Dereck Chisora and David Haye, boxing has taken a bit of a beating (quite literally) in how it is perceived as a sport. But in boxing, the idea is going all out in a violent ring of combat to force the opponent into submission.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with respecting an opponent. Trash talk is not always needed to sell the fight. But getting too friendly and cozy with the guy you will shortly be hammering into the ground is not the way to go.
What is worrying for Bradley is that he is falling under the nice guy spell of Pacquiao in much the same way Shane Mosley did.
In setting the record straight, Bradley is a fighter in his prime. Mosley when he fought Pacquiao was not. However, Mosley was far too friendly with Pacquiao during the build up and there was no chance for him to build up any kind of aggression or physical motivation.
During the weigh-in faceoff between Pacquiao and Mosley, there was nothing to suggest that Mosley would really go for it.They were smiling and patting each other on the back and having a nice time.
In the end, Mosley had far too much respect for Pacquiao and paid the price.
Pacquiao is a genuinely nice guy and is all smiles and handshakes before fights, but in the ring, he switches off that persona and becomes a entirely different animal.
If Bradley is falling into this trap he will fight with too much respect. If he then holds back because he likes Pacquiao too much as a man, then he will get destroyed.
Juan Manuel Marquez respected Pacquiao but kept his distance from him during the fight's promotional tour, and rightly so. He needed to build up that aggression which is needed to take out an opponent.
Wladmir and Vitali Klitschko are gentleman fighters who most of the time get quite friendly with their opponents before fights. The opponent is more often than not suckered in, and when the first bell goes, he is utterly battered because the Klitshko can switch off the nice guy chip when he starts to fight.
Bradley needs to try and back off more from all the nice things going on around him and build up the aggression needed to do the job. As already mentioned, this does not mean going over the top and disrespecting an opponent.
The key for Bradley is keeping a personal distance.
If Timothy Bradley fails to walk away from the natural Manny Pacquiao charm, then he will end up a quivering wreck like Shane Mosley and will not have the physical desire to beat up his new best buddy.