Timothy Bradley has financial incentive to reject the comments Manny Pacquiao has issued about gay people, but Bradley gets most upset when he considers Pacquiao’s viewpoint through the lens of his life experiences.
Bradley was raised near Palm Springs, where a former mayor once estimated that one-third of the population is gay.
Although Pacquiao, who’ll fight Bradley for a third time April 9 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on HBO pay-per-view, has sought to distance himself from a statement in a television interview in the Philippines last month that gays are “worse than animals” and a follow-up Instagram post that quoted an Old Testament verse that gays should be killed, Bradley wonders why Pacquiao even had to raise the subject.
The interview was conducted amid Pacquiao’s bid for an open senate seat in the Philippines, where the former eight-division world champion, now 37, currently serves as a congressman.
“It’s not a perfect world, and living in this world of sin, it’s like, ‘Dude, what are you doing?’ Really?” Bradley told The Times in an interview at his Indio gym last week.
“Why is that so important for you to say? Why is that relevant? It sounded terrible. You want to be a politician? Really? You really need to work on your speech skills. You really need to get some people around you to say, ‘Dude, learn to stay on the fence on certain things.’ ”
Pacquiao has said that after a lifestyle of being unfaithful and engaging in other transgressions, he sought Bible readings for guidance and to save his marriage.
“I understand [you have] your belief system, but this is the real world you’re dealing with, and politics are in the real world,” Bradley said. “Different colors, different strokes, different folks — everywhere you look. You’ve got to learn to be on the fence. You can’t just say these things. … The gay community now is at the forefront. It’s not like the ’70s — “shhh” — it’s like a race now. They’re making a lot of noise. It’s like, ‘Dude, chill. Ain’t nobody talking about you going out on your wife 100 times.’ So why criticize someone else and their lifestyle?”
Bradley said a late uncle he was close with was gay, as are two female cousins, his personal cook and his Realtor.
“It don’t bother me,” he said. “It’s their life. It’s not going to change me none. It’s their cup of tea. It’s what they like; it’s what they do. I’m not going to judge them. They might not like something I do. There’s a lot of things out there you might not like, but you don’t have to talk about it. Judge people by their heart. That’s how you judge people — by what they do, by what they show.
“My uncle loved me. Great guy, was always there for me, always cheering for me, always there to encourage me. I still miss him today. Love him to death.”
Beyond the human side, Bradley also could be harmed financially by Pacquiao’s divisive words. Bradley’s manager and wife, Monica, negotiated a pay-per-view upside for her husband.
If Pacquiao-Bradley III generates more than 600,000 buys after averaging 850,000 the first two times, then Bradley receives an unknown cut of those sales, according to an individual familiar with the deal who could not discuss the contract publicly.
“I think they’ll definitely hurt sales. There’s a community of gays and homosexuals who rooted for Manny Pacquiao before he said that,” Bradley said. “A big advocate who used to support Manny Pacquiao before he said that was Magic Johnson. He went on to record to say, ‘I’ll never ever watch another Manny Pacquiao fight as long as he fights. Ever again.’ Ever again. This is Magic Johnson. This guy’s huge, has a lot of followers [2.9 million], and he’s tweeting this out.
“I’m like, ‘Ew-ee.’ Definitely this will hurt sales, but what can I do?”
Bradley was asked whether making his own position known could ease the damage.
“At the end of the day, what he said was very inappropriate,” Bradley said. “Religion is one thing; real life is another. This is real life. Believe in what you believe in, pray who you want to pray to, say what you want to do, practice your teachings. But everyone else doesn’t have to do what you do. What makes doing what they do wrong, and you doing what you do right?
“Explain that to me.”
This is the first of a three-part series from Timothy Bradley's training camp in Indio. Part two will appear Wednesday, followed by the concluding story on Thursday morning.