There couldn't be two more different lifestyles.
Manny Pacquiao is a pop culture icon with an entourage rivaling some small Central American armies. The eight-division world champ is perpetually buried in a sea of swirling, attention-starved sycophants who fawn over his every move and treat every word uttered from his mouth as if it were coming from a deity. Wherever he goes, Manny is the center of attention-- If not for his immense fame, then for the sheer chaos generated by his mass of hangers-on.
Timothy Bradley, on the other hand, is only a recognizable face to the most hardcore of fight fans. And even if recognized as a talented fighter and current, undisputed top dog of the junior welterweight division, his appearance in public wouldn't likely generate anything more intense than a casual, "Hey, Champ."
Pacquiao and Bradley both have some very important things in common, though.
They are both elite-level prize fighters. They both take their work very seriously. Both are driven and super-humanly motivated. And, yeah, they'll be meeting on June 9th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for Pacquiao's WBO welterweight title.
To a guy like Bradley, who has never been exposed to this level of insane publicity and desperate media feeding frenzy, this experience must appear to be some bizarre drug-free hallucination.
"I don't need a huge following," Bradley told Boxingscene's Chris Robinson. "I don't need a whole bunch of guys that are just there for no reason. They have no particular job or title. They're just company I guess. My company is my family, my team. That's all I need. My Dad, my good friend Sam Jackson, my wife, my kids. My boxing family, they're always there."
Manny Pacquiao, no matter how much he likes to refer back to his humbler times as a poor kid who literally fought his way out of poverty, is the privileged 1% now. He has worked his way into a position where he can call all the shots and he will, invariably, get every benefit of the doubt when it comes to the officiating and judging of any bout he's in.
Bradley, on the other hand, is coming into this bout as part of the boxing 99% and one of the sport's blue collar stars. The odds are stacked against him and he has to realize that he will need to win this contest beyond even the slightest shadow of a doubt if he's going to have his hand raised.
In boxing, just like in the real world, privilege breeds preference.
This is not to say that Manny Pacquiao can't go out there, fight with burning hunger, and truly prove his dominance. It's just that as a boxing cash cow, he doesn't have to blow Bradley away to get the win.
The real pressure will all be on Bradley and we'll see soon enough if he has what it takes to be a part of the boxing 1%.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Chris Robinson, Bradley Sees No Reason For Pacquiao's Large Entourage, Boxingscene