Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley met on stage Wednesday afternoon at the Hollywood Theater at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and, as expected, their tone was one of mutual respect.
Neither fighter had a whole lot to say—other than the standard platitudes about being ready and expecting a great fight—but Bob Arum certainly did.
Arum, the sometimes ornery and always candid 82-year-old head of Top Rank, which promotes both fighters in Saturday's main event, spared few from his wrath in an epic end of press conference rant that is sure to get the boxing world talking.
The particular focal point of his anger was the MGM Grand, which will host this Saturday's fight, for choosing to adorn the hotel with posters and promotional materials for pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather's next bout, a 147-pound unification bout with Marcos Maidana on May 3, rather than the, in his view, much more competitive bout between Pacquiao and Bradley.
Arum openly questioned why the MGM was choosing to promote a fight where one fighter (Maidana) was a 12-1 underdog in a bout three weeks away, rather than one where the sports books are much closer, and is taking place this Saturday night.
He said, per Dan Rafael:
I know the Venetian [the Macau gambling resort that hosted Pacquiao's fight with Brandon Rios] wouldn’t make a mistake like this. They would know what fight they have scheduled in three or four days and they wouldn't have a 12-to-1 fight all over the building that's going to take place in three weeks. That's why one company makes a billion dollars a quarter and the other hustles to pay it's debt. There it is, I say it like it is
That's some pretty heavy stuff, even for someone known to be as candid as Arum.
He also asked Bradley, as he was returning to his seat after concluding his remarks, why he didn't ask Mayweather when he's going to fight someone real.
Arum was also highly critical, not even thinly veiled, of Showtime and their matchmaking.
Top Rank has frequently come under fire for not presenting the deepest undercards, particularly on their pay-per-view shows, but Arum wasn't having any of that on Wednesday, going all-in with his attacks of Showtime.
"All fights are even money or 2-to-1. Not 15-to-1 with a big guy who oughta be locked up for the way he tweets," Arum said, per Scott Christ of Bad Left Hook, seemingly taking a jab at Adrien Broner, who returns to the ring against the massive underdog Carlos Molina on the Mayweather vs. Maidana undercard.
It was a rant of truly epic proportions, and nobody was spared. You can bet that all the slammed parties will have their say as well, and then, it will get really interesting.