LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao has been in so many more big fights than his Saturday opponent Timothy Bradley that apparently he can now read body language.
“They seem very nervous,” Pacquiao whispered to trainer Freddie Roach on the MGM Grand stage, where Pacquiao weighed in at 145 pounds and Bradley at 145.5 for their World Boxing Organization welterweight championship bout.
Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 knockouts) is seeking to avenge what most viewed as a badly scored split-decision loss to Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) in June 2012.
Bradley, 30, has burned at the lack of respect for his 2012 win, and he jawed briefly on-stage with Pacquiao, 35, who hasn’t knocked anyone out over a seven-fight span dating to 2009.
“I told him, ‘Let’s do this,’” Pacquiao said backstage. “I’m excited.”
“The difference is confidence,” Bradley said. “This time, I have all the confidence in the world.”
Pacquiao said he felt “like a hometown boy” in Nevada and that he’s “not concerned about the judges,” who are Nevada’s Glenn Trowbridge, Canada’s Craig Metcalfe and Florida’s Michael Pernick.
“I have to knock out Manny Pacquiao,” said Bradley, indicating he doesn’t think he can win a close decision.
Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz said his Coachella Valley fighter is more fit than Pacquiao, a veteran of 15 pay-per-views dating to 2006.
“We have to show the world Timmy can beat Manny Pacquiao — he beat him in the first one with two injured feet,” Diaz said. “Now, it’s about respect, unfinished business.”
Pacquiao acknowledged, “I have to finish this time. He’ll have to prove in the ring he’ll try to knock me out. I’ve heard that a lot. Doing it in that ring is different.”
Former Nevada boxing judge Duane Ford, 75, said Friday he should have “watched my words a little better instead of saying Bradley gave [Pacquiao] a boxing lesson,” in originally defending his controversial scorecard from the first bout.
Ford, along with judge C.J. Ross, scored the fight 115-113 for Bradley while Jerry Roth saw it 115-113 for Pacquiao.
Ford is retired from judging after working 209 title fights and is president of the North American Boxing Federation. Ross resigned after scoring Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s convincing victory over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September as a 114-114 tie.
Ross and Ford gave Bradley the fifth and eighth rounds, Roth gave those to Pacquiao. The 10th was a Bradley sweep. Statistics by CompuBox showed Pacquiao out-landed Bradley, 253-159, in punches, and 63-51 in jabs.
“On video, you can’t tell who won those close rounds,” Ford said. “But I knew that night. As I look back on it, those were really close rounds. Am I happy with my score? I’m very happy.
“Bradley was counterpunching. Pacquiao, I’ve never seen him miss so many punches. CompuBox and the punch stats mean absolutely nothing.”
Promoter Bob Arum said he met Friday with his attorney Daniel Petrocelli to discuss possible action against MGM Resorts for hanging advertising signage promoting Mayweather’s May 3 fight at MGM Grand on Pacquiao-Bradley fight week.
Arum said Pacquiao fight advertisers, including Tecate beer, have complained the MGM had too much Mayweather signage that included Corona beer ads.
Arum railed at MGM executive Richard Sturm at Wednesday’s news conference, and Sturm responded later with an email to reporters.
“I was truly shocked by Bob’s comments at [the] press conference and honestly disappointed,” Sturm said. " … We always do everything possible to properly promote the events throughout our resorts and over the decades have promoted many, many sporting events with enormous success.”
Bill Hornbuckle, the MGM Resorts International president, said in a statement, “Apparently Bob’s definitions of respect and class are different than ours.”